Like coins in a piggy bank, intuition and knowledge are valuable inheritances that can accumulate overtime with each successive generation.
At Shaheen’s Department Store, based in Louisville, Kentucky, Sam Shaheen, Jr. understands the importance of honoring the gift of knowledge and experience by adding to it with new ideas and technologies. This forward-thinking outlook has been a part of their company culture for a hundred years.
Shaheen’s Department Store, a specialty uniform retail store, was established in 1922 by Lebanese immigrant Sam Shaheen. For four generations, they have been the number one supplier of career and school uniforms with in-house custom embroidery for the Louisville, Kentucky region. Now serving customers in Southern Kentucky, Southern Ohio, and Southern Indiana, they are a specialized retailer that fulfills all uniform needs and lead the region in providing quality uniforms to professionals and students with quick turn around and no minimum orders. Along with their hats-to-boots career and school apparel, they also offer fashion for the entire family at their retail locations, including game day apparel.
Shaheen’s is dedicated to customer satisfaction. They strive to offer the same quality service both in their neighborhood stores and their ecommerce store. With consistency playing a big part of their brand image, their business has grown over the years and now boasts an output of 60% school uniforms, 25% career uniforms, and 15% others. This proves that the decisions they have made about their business is passed on as a benefit to their customers, particularly during the busy school season.
Prior to their upgrade to Magento 2 and the implantation of their Retail Dimensions RD-Ice integration tool, Shaheen’s employees managed two separate databases. When management evaluated their situation, they knew they needed technical expertise beyond their own leadership team to bring their business together under one integrated POS to ecommerce system. They turned to their web developers to find the best service, and that led them to our team at Retail Dimensions.
“After a century of serving customers, Shaheen’s Department Store wanted to bring their entire business together in one cohesive database through a highly-flexible integration tool.”
With its century of doing business, Sam Shaheen Jr. and his team have an innate sense that tells them when it’s time to grow and adapt to new ways of selling their products. In 1990, they installed Retail Pro’s point of sale (POS) system, and in 1998, after 76 years of doing business, they opened the Shaheen’s online store. This first version was simple and acted as an internet billboard that provided basic information and product previews for their customers. By 2012, as their website became more active, they made the decision to install a simple ordering formula that allowed their customers to place their own online orders.
The Shaheen team continues to look for ways to serve their customers better. When it was time to upgrade their database management, they turned to their web developer to find a solution that would connect their POS system with their ecommerce store to make it one all-encompassing, integrated business. To begin, their web developer examined what their integrated database needed to accomplish.
- Seamlessly combine their Retail Pro database with their Magento 2 database.
- Automatically update when new orders come in, both from their POS system and their ecommerce site.
- More consistency and functionality with orders for the Shaheen team and their customers.
- Process orders with detailed descriptions that include multiple sizes, colors, and embroidery specifications.
- Easily work with graphics and photography with varying formats and descriptions of products from multiple vendors.
- Streamline the process so that only one full-time employee is dedicated to the website, supported by two associates and overseen by management.
- Make it user-friendly enough to drive customers to the website to order their products. This was a goal prior to COVID-19, but its importance was underscored when “stay at home” mandates were put into place.
Shaheen worked with his web developer to find qualified integration companies to build a tool that will bring his two databases together and streamline his processes so that he, his employees, and his customers would have access to the most efficient fulfillment process possible. Working closely with the web developer, Retail Dimensions went to work to create a flexible integration solution to connect their business.
- The owner turned to the developer for a recommendation, which resulted in working with Retail Dimensions. Because there was a past working relationship with the web developer, the relationship was good from the start. They knew how to work together and that helped the entire process run more smoothly. They were able to talk openly throughout the project and when issues came up, they worked together to reach a resolution, rather than playing the blame game.
- A team of a handful of people to help make the decisions, upload the data and perform the data manipulations to ensure the information is robust for the customer.
- The owner wanted to work with companies that could do the coding for them, as this was not their specialty, and train them on how to use the system.
Issues that occurred during the implementation process were related to areas outside the integration tool, which was installed without any major challenges to overcome. Working with our engineers, we were able to get over the following obstacles that impeded data from being shared in its entirety across the completed POS to ecommerce system.
- Creating a mapping strategy was complicated and time consuming due to changed data in Retail Pro, but it was necessary to get the data updated and ready for the integration tool.
- A few missing specifics were seen in the initial orders. Data was available at one point of entry but not in other areas of the business. The Retail Dimensions engineering team resolved these issues as quickly as they occurred.
- Tagging in the Magento ecommerce platform was found to be difficult. The database had to take the information from Retail Pro and manipulate it to work with the Magento platform. This issue occurred during the implementation but was not a result of the RD-Ice integration tool.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the owner needed to get the implementation completed and functioning as soon as possible. A similar project would typically take much longer, but in this case Retail Dimensions worked closely with their web developer to complete the project in a time period that matched Shaheen’s needs. Retail Dimensions worked closely with their web developer to complete the project in just two days. A similar project would typically take one week. We went on to train the Shaheen team and have kept in touch to answer additional questions and help them to get over learning curves.
- Now the Shaheen team has turned their attention to training their customers to use the website and to get them comfortable with the process of shopping online. We continue to reach out to them to offer any assistance they require.
Shaheen’s Department Store has been very pleased with the results of their integration. They now have a streamlined system that brings their two databases together. Today, their customers can expect the same level of service when they visit their neighborhood store as when they order a product online because data is seamlessly shared across the entire company all throughout the fulfillment process, from product updates, to inventory counts.
- The RD-Ice tool worked without issue.
- Customer orders are processed in a timely, reliable manner. All information is included and given to the employees in a way that is easy to reconcile.
- The mapping issues have been worked out and are now working very well.
- The system handles the shared information without follow-up work to share it across the company. Only one person needs to enter the data—the in-store employee or the online customer–then they can sit back and let the system do the work.
- Shaheen’s relied on the team at Retail Dimensions to provide knowledgeable and responsive guidance throughout the project and effective training and patience as the Shaheen team learned the new system. The continuing education supplied after the initial hand off helped employees learn the intricacies of the integration tool in only a couple of days and the Shaheen’s team appreciates the easy-to-work with attitude of the Retail Dimensions team.
- The Retail Dimensions crew followed up after the project to ensure that the integration tool was working well and allowing them the access they needed to bring their two databases together.
New Ideas and Technologies to Honor a Successful Legacy
Honoring the generational legacy of Shaheen’s Department Store means seeking out the tools that can make their business competitive in the modern era. When the owner found a need to combine their businesses into one database, they knew they wanted an integration tool that would be flexible enough to handle orders with the very specific information that helps them fulfill their customers’ orders efficiently and correctly.
Now that the website and POS system are working cohesively through a Retail Dimensions RD-Ice integration tool, Shaheen’s Department Store can see their business activity in its entirety. Online customers receive accurate, real-time inventory counts when ordering, the fulfillment process is streamlined for fast turnaround, and updated information about the company’s sales activity is always available for management so they can build on past successes and guide the next generation of company leaders.