Art Frame Direct, Inc, based in Orlando, Florida USA, wholesales antique-style decorative accessories, framed art and mirrors, sculpture, lighting and furniture. The company ships from its distribution centers as well as offering custom manufacturing. Customers include major retailers, art dealers, interior designers and private-label manufacturers in the US and all over the world. Art Frame Direct extended its Windows-based JD Edwards OneWorld ERP system with LANSA Commerce Edition to offer its customers online ordering and inquiry. In addition, Art Frame Direct is hosting Web sites for some of their retail customers.
Kieth Vey, Web Strategist Art Frame Direct, says, "Customized to our needs, LANSA Commerce Edition took 30 days to deliver, from start to going live. The solution has helped to increase our fill rates and sales. Of the customers who signed up to place Web orders, over 30 percent are brand new and we now take more orders that are clean and ready to ship. Being able to host and process B2C orders for our wholesale customers has opened new business opportunities. We handle all the Web changes in-house with two people, who also take care of the orders and questions that are posted on the site. Being able to make changes ourselves saves us a lot of time and gives us independence."
LANSA Commerce Edition took 30 days to deliver, from start to going live and customized to our needs
Art Frame Direct's business began with high-quality antique reproduction castings of ornate museum-replica framing and mirrors, hand finished with gold/silver leaf and quickly expanded to other decorative products, high-end home furnishings and oil paintings, both reproduction and original styles. The creation of Art Frame Direct’s products is a blend of technology, such as the latest in mold-making equipment, and handwork.
Vey, explains, "In our 'One of a kind' category we have some real antiques, but our main focus is quality antique reproductions. We aim to be the one-stop shop for retailers where you can get everything you need. Our customers include big retailers like Bloomingdales, Haggerty’s Furniture, Thomasville Furniture, Costco and interior designers who often contract to hotels or residential builders. Our distribution centers cover over half a million square feet and serve thousands of regular customers."
"We exhibit at tradeshows, operate showrooms and distribute printed catalogs. Before the Web site, customers had to call a customer service representative or mail and fax order forms to us. The order had to be scanned, filed, entered in the system, checked for accuracy, reviewed by a customer service representative and then passed to the shipping department. The process was time consuming and due to the paperwork, it was a challenge to ship orders in a timely manner."
"Orders also used to contain a lot of inaccuracies. Any mistake, even as small as omitting a dash in an item number, would cause delays in order processing and shipping, because we would have to call the customer and wait for a response before we could make a correction."
"Another problem with fax and mail orders was that customers unknowingly ordered out-of-stock items causing phone calls, delays and reduced sales, when in most cases they might have been happy to order an alternative."
"On average, shipping large orders took three to four weeks. Good for a distributor, but we want to be better than the rest."
"We wanted to improve our service and increase our customer base. An interactive Web site where people could view items and their availability and place orders was the obvious answer."
"We evaluated several packaged solutions that included duplicating data, but we wanted a solution that directly integrated with our Windows-based JD Edwards system. One software company quoted eight to eighteen months to build a solution. Then I noticed LANSA's Commerce Edition advertisement, which mentioned delivery of real-time integrated eCommerce solution to major ERP systems like JD Edwards, BPCS and MAPICS in just two to three weeks. So, we started talking with LANSA."
On average, shipping large orders took three to four weeks. Good for a distributor, but we want to be better than the rest
"It actually took LANSA 30 days to deliver the Web site - a little bit longer than advertised," laughs Vey. "Most of that was our customization, which LANSA was able to meld perfectly. We now have a secure and visually appealing Web site, which sits neatly on top of JD Edwards without duplicating data. The LANSA Web extension maximizes the potential of JD Edwards, even though JD Edwards itself wasn’t built with eCommerce in mind."
The site allows for both public and password-protected access by authorized distributors. In both cases, you can browse the catalog and view items, but only authorized users can view prices and order goods. So, Art Frame Direct's partners can show their customers items on the Web site, without revealing their cost price. This is major plus for interior designers and small shops who don't have the space to display Art Frame Direct’s product lines.
The site lists over 10,000 items divided into 12 main categories and sub categories that were already defined in JD Edwards and directly re-used by the site.
Visitors can select to view all or in-stock items only. At the bottom of each Item page are small images of similar or related items. This is especially handy for showing replacement items for goods that are out of stock, or for offering easy navigation to items that may also be of interest to the customer. "Making in-stock items the default and providing links to related and alternative items, has tremendously increased our shipping rate," comments Vey. "Customers now know what they can and cannot receive quickly which has increased our fill rates and sales."
Customers can create personal catalogue and populate or refresh this from their order history. By default, items are arranged in sequence of what was ordered most and include items purchased years before the site even existed. Viewing the product image of historical purchases is enormously helpful, as small variations in a product's style are easy to forget. "Making the order history graphically available has significantly reduced the number of customer help calls. It also makes it easy for our customers to order items that match the look of their previous orders," says Vey. "Customers love it because now everyone in the company can see what the buyer ordered prior to it arriving."
Art Frame Direct also used LANSA Commerce Edition's pre-built "Contact Us" section as an area for customers to ask questions and place suggestions.
"LANSA Services did the programming that was needed to connect to our Windows-based JD Edwards OneWorld. We set up the initial look-and-feel of the site, where the images would show, the fact that the catalogue shows four images on a row, the fonts, colors and other graphics. Commerce Edition style components let us change the presentation easily and consistently through the whole site several times since going live. The ability to change the look & feel is vital in the online world, as a stagnant Web site is not appealing to customers."
The LANSA Web extension maximizes the potential of JD Edwards, even though JD Edwards itself wasn’t built with eCommerce in mind
Hosted B2C Integration
"One of our customers, the retailer Costco, wanted to sell our ceiling molding decoration product, but didn't want handle the custom ordering on their Web site," says Vey.
"With LANSA Commerce Edition, we set up a custom site, linked from the Costco.com site, that ties directly into our JD Edwards system to handle custom ordering of ceiling molding in different finishes and sizes."
"We capture the order, submit it to Costco, who invoice the customer and return a PO number. We transmit the order to our Mexico factory, which ships the custom made ceiling decoration directly to the customer. All within 14 days of placing the order - an unheard of time frame in custom home décor."
"We had a very strict time limit to prepare for the Costco deal, or the deal would be postponed. With the help of LANSA Services we built a whole new secure transaction Web site, with back-end integration into JD Edwards and got the business," says Vey.
In the first six months, Art Frame Direct received over 10,000 Web orders. Fax and phone orders have also grown, so the Web orders are a real increase in business. "The number of Web orders is steadily increasing and I estimate we had a 500 percent increase in sales volume month to month in the first six months," says Vey.
"Over 30 percent of the customers who signed up to place Web orders are brand new customers. We are a fast growing company and the Web site is one of the easiest and quickest expanding avenues of doing business."
"The site provides a convenient way of placing orders for our customers and an easy way for us to receive the orders. There is a minimal need for human intervention and as a result, no delays. The site puts the control and responsibility of placing the order with the customer. This leads to a no-hassle 24/7 shopping experience for our customers and a more efficient way of doing business for our company."
"We handle all the Web changes in-house with two people, who also take care of the orders and questions that are posted on the site. The LANSA consultant who helped us to implement the site also taught us how to maintain it. Being able to make changes ourselves saves us a lot of time and gives us independence. The same volume of fax and phone orders needed eight to twelve staff."
"In fact, over the last few months we have reduced the number of customer representatives who handle phone and fax orders by one third. Many customers now do their research on the Web site, so we get fewer questions."
"Showing order and shipping history details has reduced enquiry calls at least 25 to 30 percent. Including product images also makes it easy for our customers to reorder matching items. Customers no longer call us to find out pricing and availability details, delivery status or account balances. The Web site provides quick answers to our most frequently asked customer service questions."
"We ship more orders every each day than ever before," says Vey. "We promote the site at trade shows, in our catalogues and via our phone system. Thanks to the interactive ordering, we take a large number of orders that are clean and ready to ship. It’s a godsend in this business to have an order where all you have to do is pack it and ship it."
The average delivery time for Web orders is less than seven days, because the orders are error free and because customers can see item availability. Within two minutes of placing a Web order, it is in the back of the warehouse. Large fax and phone orders still take two to three weeks to process and ship, because of time consuming follow up procedures for errors and out-of-stock items.
Designers find it very convenient that they can use our Web site to show their customer certain goods without having to visit them with a printed catalogue and without having to reveal their cost price. It makes it easier for them to sell.
Vey has noticed that the most site traffic occurs in a four-hour block between 8pm and midnight. Many of Art Frame Direct's smaller customers use their office hours to visit customers and it is not until the evening that they take time to create their proposals and place their orders. So, being able to access our site 24 x 7 is important to them.
The Web site also lets Art Frame Direct run email campaigns to promote specific items. "The Web site is an excellent avenue to promote our newest products and get instant returns without large advertising costs, which lets us offer such great pricing and be a leader in our industry," says Vey.
Over 30 percent of the customers who signed up to place Web orders are brand new customers
"LANSA Commerce Edition was as fast to implement as a packaged solution, but it is as flexible and integrated with our core solution as a customized solution. We can pretty much dream up any new idea and get it done quickly. The turn around time on the implementation of new ideas is amazing. You can get instant results without lengthy programming. For example, when we wanted to display just in-stock items, it only took two hours and went live the same day."
"Being able to host and process B2C custom ceiling moldings orders for retailers like Costco has opened another interesting business avenue. We can now offer our wholesale customers accurate order fulfillment, secure B2B eBusiness and even B2C transactions with their end customers over the Web."
"As far as plans for the future, we will just keep improving the site. We may do some redesign in the product catalogue as well as the product detail pages. We get a lot of feedback and suggestions from our customers and try to include that in our enhancements as well."
LANSA Commerce Edition was as fast to implement as a package, but as flexible and integrated as a customized solution. The turn around time to implement new ideas is amazing
Company and System Information
- Art Frame Direct is a wholesaler of antique style decorative accessories, framed art and mirrors, sculpture, lighting and a variety of furniture. The company operates showrooms in major merchandise market centers and participates in numerous industry-based trade shows. The company ships from two distribution centers of over a million square feet as well as offering custom manufacturing. Art Frame Direct has consistently grown over 50 percent annually since the company was founded.
- For more information visit: www.artframedirect.com
- Art Frame Direct uses JD Edwards OneWorld (also called EnterpriseOne) Version SP15 running on a Dell Power Edge 2850 Servers under Windows 2003 Server with SQL Server 2000 as the database. There are 100 internal users of Art Frame Direct's JD Edwards system in four states.