Technology: Know your numbers

Having the right data on production and inventory has been a game-changer for Petitti Garden Centers, helping them stock, staff and sell. Accurate information on everything from peak times to what’s on the tables to which promotions are performing well, the Northeast Ohio garden centers are using Epicor’s Retail Management Solutions to boost their profits.

“Without those tools, we’d be sunk,” says A.J. Petitti, president.

Petitti Garden Centers produces 90% of what they sell, and overproducing used to be a big headache for the nine regional stores. Accurate inventory data goes directly to the production model, helping them determine what’s moving, what’s not and what they need more of in real time.

That means less waste, less labor maintaining extra product and less stress on teams to bring in extra materials. And at the end of the day, they can evaluate mistakes, overproduction and waste.

“Now we’ll go through days where we’ll process tens of thousands of transactions in one day and it’ll be smooth as silk,” Petitti says. “And so the product flows in when you need it, it’s sold, it’s replenished and everything just works really well.”

And on busy weekends like Mother’s Day, having accurate data is invaluable. The store will sell 35,000 baskets in just two hours, so without information on everything from inventory, sales, distribution and logistics, it wouldn’t be possible, Petitti says.

“So by having that good information, by having those good systems and practices in place, we’re able to flow that information out from 7 to 9 a.m., sell that quantity of baskets and then by the time 9 a.m. starts, the store looks perfect,” he says. “It looks like nothing was shopped and you’re ready to go about your day for Mother’s Day weekend like nothing happened.”

There are surprises every year at Petitti but by establishing and tracking trends, they can see the effects of promotions and displays outside of gross sales. They can track not only what’s going out the door, but what each customer is taking along with a sale item, whether it’s another plant, some garden decor, a container or supplies to help that plant thrive.

“If we’re running 50% off on lilacs, you can see if they’re just buying that one lilac or if our team is really doing a good job of upselling the steps for success and having the soil, having the fertilizer with that lilac,” Petitti says.

Petitti Garden Centers is constantly trying new promotions to see what works whether it’s a gift card deal, a percent off sale or something else. But to know if it’s something they should try again, they have to look at how sales performed.

Having the tools to measure each sale’s efficacy, financial return and boost in sales determines which sales they’ll run again and which ones flopped.

“Running a promotion isn’t just about selling lilacs at 50% off; it’s about getting traffic in, introducing hopefully new customers to your store, capturing their information and also really upselling and inspiring them to do more in the landscape instead of just selling lilacs,” he says.

When you’re planning your budget for the year, analyzing your peak times and planning out your staffing, you have to really dig into the data again, Petitti says. From ramping up for the busy season to scaling back during slower periods, that information is key to staffing and stocking decisions throughout the year.

August 2019
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