System helps Art of Shaving grow

While many retailers reported soft sales last year, multichannel merchant The Art of Shaving grew a record-breaking 62% in 2007.

The marketer of upscale men’s shaving products credits its success in part to its software, NetSuite’s One System Architecture, which helped it sell via multiple sales channels, including retail, wholesale, and the Internet.

Since launching on the system in January 2005, The Art of Shaving has leveraged a full slate of customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning features from San Mateo, CA-based NetSuite. System functions include sales force automation, customer support, e-mail marketing campaigns, inventory management, UPS shipping integration, dashboards, accounting, and reporting.

The Art of Shaving, which sells its products online, through its 26 locations in the U.S., and in high-end department stores, began looking for a new system in 2004, says CEO Eric Malka. “After eight years in the business and with rapid growth on the horizon, we realized our separate packages for accounting, inventory management, and POS weren’t going to cut it.”

The Miami-based merchant was expecting to expand its sales channels from retail to the Web to large distribution partnerships with high-end department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s. “We needed a more powerful system to unify our disjointed processes,” he notes.

Specifically, Malka says, The Art of Shaving needed its POS metrics to be readily available to its top executives. “We also wanted a Web-based system. Living here in Florida hurricane country, we didn’t want to take any chances of losing our data.”

Another priority: “We wanted everything in one system.”

NetSuite offered Web-based software with the tools The Art of Shaving needed in one system, “and at significant savings over other popular systems when you factor everything in,” Malka says. “And as a CEO, most important to me was that it gave me a dashboard that alerts me to trends at our point-of-sale locations, giving us very strong comparability across stores and regions, and helping us understand more precisely what our metrics should be.”

The one-system approach makes it easier to gain visibility across all sales channels because each channel — whether it’s retail, online, telesales, or direct sales — is operating with the same information, says Mini Peiris, NetSuite’s vice president of product management. “So there is never a discrepancy between stock levels, customer lists, and targeted marketing efforts. This makes upsell and cross-sell across different sales channels much easier, fostering customer loyalty.”

The Art of Shaving has integrated NetSuite with its stores, starting at the point of sale, Malka says. “Each day we import a journal entry into NetSuite, with each of our 26 stores represented as one division.”

This gets information such as gross sales, inventory, and cost of goods into NetSuite’s central database, which allows Art of Shaving to generate key reports.

For example, a report could compare metrics by store, state, and region — even by regional manager. “So we get a very good understanding of our retail business,” Malka says.

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