Running Bare + Solutionists B2B solution

27 Apr 2016

Running Bare Wholesale Website (B2B) – Case Study

Running Bare is an Australian based women’s sportswear retailer who cater for women of all shapes and sizes. Their philosophy of ‘made by women, for women’ is evident in their premium finishing and fashion focused range. They have 30 years experience in the activewear market and an avid following across Australia and is growing internationally.

Their exisiting Retail website www.runningbare.com.au, selling business to consumer (B2C) has been on Solutionists MaxCommerce platform since 2012 over which time they have seen their site grow to an integral part of their Retail mix.

This ecommerce solution boasts full integration with their ERP system meaning they are fully connected with customer data, sales data, and stock holdings across the business in real time. Out of stock management means that the website does not allow you to sell a particular size/colour variant if it has been sold in other areas of the business and fully installed MaxCommerce Promotional Engine, means that they can offer discounted prices to users at a site or individual member basis.  

The purchasers of wholesale and distribution companies have become very familiar with consumer-oriented websites and now expect the same features and level of convenience when they are placing their own orders. Running Bare, with Solutionists created the goal of delivering a wholesale focused (B2B) website to drive sales and reduce manual processes in this area of the business.

The site needed to: 

  • Reduce Manual processes and administration for Running Bare
  • Present a seamless user experience for wholesale shoppers
  • Accommodate the different buying behaviour of shopping for Seasons (rather than one-off purchases)
  • Transfer users from manual ordering to online ordering at the end of season one. 

The objective from Running Bare to Solutionists was to: 

 "To provide  E-commerce platform for our wholesale customers to place their orders, whilst accommodating the order restrictions within each of the brands collections including varying delivery months by style/Sku, stock management systems applied only on certain styles and multi-currency pricing. All these functions needed to be factored in whilst making the front end as easy to use for the buyer to easily identify the different collections in the range eg- pre-ordered Indent and stock service.

The site had to have restricted access to users only with an account and need to allow the one log in to place orders for multiple store locations and also agents to log in to purchase on behalf of their customers.

One request was to make as much data cross over between our retail site and wholesale to reduce doubling handing of data and processes.

Finally the orders needed to be integrated into our Production Management system to eliminate the process of data entry." 

The Solution 

Developing the solution for Running Bare involved extensive business analysis, some of the critical areas are detailed below.

Evaluating the Manual processes and identifying opportunities to reduce administration in the Wholesale order process.

Running Bare had a number of spreadsheets to facilitate the wholesale process, these included order forms and range overviews which were shared with customers.

Entering Orders was an area which used a huge amount of administration.

Solutionists reviewed this and with Running Bare determined how the manual forms could be translated to the website process. The plan involved leveraging the existing integration with their ERP system (for the B2C site) to automated the process of entering orders.  

Understanding the different ordering methods for the wholesale market and stock implications

There are three different ways that businesses can order from Running Bare which needed to be handled in the site.

1. Stock Service

Stock that is available for immediate delivery and has stock levels assigned to it

2. Indent Stock

Involves customers ordering product that is then manufactured specifically for them. The website needed to allow users to order as much as they wanted (no stock level restrictions).

3. Overs

Once orders have been received and product delivered, there is often stock left over which is available for purchase. This stock has stock levels and must be hidden from the website when sold out. 

Delivery dates requirements

The buying habits of Running Bare customers saw them placing orders at the start of a season, and arranging delivery for later in the year. Monthly deliveries of stock are not uncommon and Running Bare required the website to allow customers to choose their delivery month for individuals styles as they ordered.

International Market

As Running Bare’s popularity grows internationally, there are new requirements for the wholesale website. Being able to accommodate USD currency as well as the different tax calculations associated was a critical requirement. 

User Experience review

While the B2B ordering process is slightly different to B2C, the user experience still needs to be seamlessly simple. 

By understanding the existing process for wholesale and leveraging the best practice knowledge in Ecommerce Solutionists presented wireframes and designs for user-led shopping experience. 

Agent/Salesperson login

With any B2B site its important to have the salespeople on board with the site and to manage expectations. When sales commission is a consideration this is particularly important. For Running Bare, having a login for sales agents means that they can order on behalf of their customers and assist them with their orders. Agents are also copied on any order placed directly by a customer to ensure they are still involved in the sales process.

The Outcome

The outcome saw Solutionists developing a site that leveraged the existing integration and processes from the B2C site and allowed for a customer led user experience. 

The first season of the Wholesale website being live saw an uptake for online ordering within the wholesale business for Running Bare. 

From here, Solutionists and Running bare are working together to further optimize the wholesale offering. This comes from feedback from users and Agents (salespeople) using the site and reflects a commitment to the ongoing use of the site.

"Running Bare has been working with the Solutionists team for over 4 years on various E-commerce projects and site builds with the wholesale site being the most recent project completed.  Their strong understanding of the integration of our production management systems and knowledge of the variations between the retail and wholesale buying channels, help to make the creation of this site from brief to development  to build and testing the most seamless project that we have undertaken."

Jacqui Smith – Running Bare Australia

author:

Anita Marchant

date published:

27 Apr 2016