ACI Brands is a leading Canadian distributor of clothing, apparel, and accessory brands across multiple channels. The company joined Elastic to bring digital B2B commerce to their golf brands Bridgestone Golf, Antigua Apparel and Nancy Lopez Golf.
ACI joined Elastic in October of 2021 to bring streamlined sales and digital merchandising to their rep force and coinciding retail partners. The team of 6 regional, independent reps serves hundreds of retail partners across Canada from green grass pro shops to off-course specialty retailers to multi-national retail accounts. Since their kickoff, reps have placed 1,090 orders with over 57,020 units sold.
Efficiencies for reps, retailers and customer success
The sales leadership team at ACI decided to move their processes over to a digital B2B to better serve their sales reps. By providing in-depth information, all in one place, Elastic is helping reps better serve their customers. Product information, pricing, and up-to-date inventory are all housed within Elastic, so users don’t have to look in multiple places for necessary information. By streamlining processes and housing information in a central location, brands can increase B2B sales by up to 21%.
Brooke Bauer, ACI’s Director of Golf and Apparel said that “Elastic Suite is first and foremost a tool we’re using for our reps to enter orders through but also for them to gather information and create tools to better serve their customers.”
When evaluating B2B platforms and considering Elastic, the main factor was familiarity with and feedback from their reps. Since some of ACI’s main competitors are already on Elastic, the independent reps already knew and loved the ease of use of the platform. Antigua Apparel’s US operations also just joined the Elastic family of brands, making commerce with that brand that much easier as well!
Improving retail relationships
ACI Brands’ independent reps currently provide a white-glove level of service for the retail partners they serve. They use Elastic to provide product information, inventory counts, and product availability and to ultimately, place orders. Digital merchandising, assortment building, and strategic order placing are all possible through the Elastic platform. This helps reps customize the order proposal for a specific retailer, especially for high dollar, high SKU-count pre-season bookings.
ACI plans to roll out Elastic to their retail partners in 2023 to provide a quicker, self-service model for at-once and ATS orders. Retailers can place quick orders themselves, to help keep product on shelves during the busiest selling seasons.
ACI Brands is also seeing cross-functional efficiencies in their customer service department. Prior to using Elastic’s digital B2B, reps used Excel order forms to build complicated orders and pricing structures. These spreadsheets were then handed off to the customer service department for processing. But with Elastic, reps can build a much cleaner order confirmation form, saving customer service department time spent on manual order entry processes.
Segmented and customized selling solutions
The most popular feature within the Elastic platform is custom collections. Because retailers typically like to buy the way they sell, reps can build custom collections and order proposals based on product attribute. This puts the buying process in the way the buyer likes to assort, merchandise, and sell. By visually merchandising the order, reps can help the buyers envision product mixes, just the way they’d be on the shelf or rack inside the store.
Another Elastic feature that ACI is taking advantage of is the Links area of the New Elastic Dashboard. By putting all necessary sales assets and information in one centralized place, reps can quickly self-serve by accessing all the information they need. This streamlines internal communication for ACI and provides a quick and easy selling experience for the reps.
“Automating and the ability to modify and bulk upload data was a key consideration for choosing Elastic” IT Applications Manager, Michael Douglas, said.“These tools are essential to update product information from season to season.” Also, a key factor in their decision to partner with Elastic, ACI’s team needed the flexibility to segregate and organize data by region or rep. This filtered view is imperative for the rep’s segmented sales strategies.