When a company’s business grows in two different environments—a brick-and-mortar store and online—maintaining control over point-of-sale processes and the inventory can easily be derailed when those systems aren’t effectively communicating. The ecommerce team at Glacier National Park Conservancy was faced with this growing problem when they opened their online store, and they turned to Retail Dimensions to find the right integration solution.
Glacier National Park Conservancy is the official fundraising arm for Glacier National Park. It operates as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve and protect the park for future generations. They achieve this, in part, through the sale of park themed merchandise at three bookstore and gift shops located inside the borders of the park, one stationed outside the park, and their online store that is available to fans of the park around the globe.
Funds raised by the Glacier National Park Conservancy support special events, park activities, and programs held throughout the year, including park ranger-led activity programs, the park museum, and the park’s annual feature program, “Native America Speaks.” Additional funding raised through the online and on-the-ground stores goes toward services provided to park visitors for free, such as ongoing trail rehabilitation projects, facilities maintenance, and the publication of the printed materials, such as trail maps and Glacier Park guidebooks.
Sales at both their brick-and-mortar and online stores has helped the Glacier National Park Conservancy raise over $2.7 million which has funded 76 projects that will keep the park up to date and ready for tourists and nature enthusiasts. With thirty seasonal employees in their physical locations and two overseeing the sales at their online store, the Conservancy’s retail managers soon found they needed a better overall management system that they could all easily access for tracking inventory, updating orders, and processing their customers’ payments. When Tiffany Tyree joined the retail team as the Conservancy’s eCommerce Manager, she was tasked with finding ways to offer more buying options for their customers and improving the functionality of the online store and its associated warehouse. She began her project with an upgrade to their POS platform.
The Conservancy’s previous ecommerce program managed the online store’s inventory and processed orders. Tyree found the platform labor-intensive, cumbersome, and difficult to use and she quickly began her search for an “out-of-box” system that was user-friendly and simple enough for a novice to comfortably work in, as changes to their previous website required a moderate level of coding experience.
Tyree also required that the companies she chose provide an accessible help desk solution that would provide her with good back-up help going forward when the operational questions went beyond her base of knowledge. Along with Director of Park Stores Julie Doughtery, Tyree chose BigCommerce as their platform provider and Retail Dimensions for the integration project trusting in their ability to help them reach their goals;
- Better oversight of inventory between the four physical locations, their online store, and their two warehouses.
- Easy product tracking between the stores.
- Consistent and accurate order processing.
- Improved shipping updates
- The ability to easily update the website to give customers the pick-up, and delivery options—a feature that quickly became a priority due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements. (This project requires additional coding and is currently underway.)
Where the project began
In early 2019, the Conservancy decided to make the switch to BigCommerce. They brought Retail Dimensions on board based on their relationship as the Conservancy’s long-time integration service provider on their POS system, Retail Pro. This was an ideal match, as Retail Dimensions is a Certified BigCommerce Partner and a Retail Pro Certified Development Partner and Strategic Alliance Partner.
The project kicked off that spring, with Retail Pro working to connect the sales activity of all four physical stores, the warehouse, and the Conservancy’s online store using BigCommerce as its platform. After that phase of the project was complete, the Conservancy turned to Retail Dimensions for the integration. The integration project began that summer, with Retail Pro’s retail management and POS systems and the BigCommerce platform going live in September 2019.
The web designers at the Conservancy encouraged their ecommerce and retail teams to integrate their Retail Pro POS system with BigCommerce ecommerce platform based on their confidence in BigCommerce to create a strong build-in structure that would integrate well with the Conservancy’s WordPress-based website. The integration project was difficult at times, with several roadblocks occurring along the way, such as
- Brick and mortar stores use Retail Pro, so the ecommerce platform must work will with that POS system.
- The managers’ had poor oversight of the inventory.
- The online store couldn’t have a dedicated ecommerce warehouse.
- Tracking inventory was difficult.
- Customer service suffered.
It was ultimately decided they would have two WordPress websites, one for the Conservancy’s main site and a BigCommerce-based website for their online store. Working with Retail Dimensions gave Tyree the advantage of having a knowledgeable, skilled integration service that had established partnerships with both companies. Founder Paul Duncan was Tyree’s main contact during the integration with BigCommerce, and after the project was completed she still relies on him to jump in when unforeseen issues arise. All Tyree has to do is fill out a service ticket on the Retail Dimensions website and our help desk will be in touch to help resolve any issues they are experiencing.
“I can’t imagine, given our situation, functioning without Retail Dimensions and BigCommerce.”Tiffany T., Glacier National Conservancy eCommerce Manager
The improved retail management and POS system the Conservancy now works in and the integration provided by Retail Dimensions to link their physical locations, online store, and the warehouse has improved the operations at all the stores. It has allowed the retail team at the Conservancy to get better control over their inventory and offer more options for their customers, and they are seeing amazing results.
- eCommerce sales are up 100% over the previous year.
- The ecommerce manager feels much more comfortable working with BigCommerce as their ecommerce platform over the previous operating system.
- BigCommerce provides the flexibility needed to handle unforeseen changes to their business.
- Using the BigCommerce platform integrated with Retail Pro POS system saves the retail team both time and money, with improved functionality and better oversight.
- A shipping app has been a very helpful and easy-to-use system for getting orders out and is one of the systems Tyree relies on the most.
- Issues are typically resolved by watching a YouTube video, through Tyree’s own ingenuity, or with the support of the Retail Dimensions team of experts.
The integration bridge built by Retail Dimensions to connect their ecommerce and in-store retail sales has streamlined Glacier National Park Conservancy’s sales activity across the board. It has freed up their employees’ time so they can improve other areas of the business and address customer issues more directly. This leads to a satisfied customer who will be anxious to return to the park and the website to support Glacier National Park.