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Blog Old World Customer-Experience Meets Modern Retail Technology

Old World Customer Service Meets Modern Retail Technology

140 Year Old Chicago Specialty Retailer Sparks Growth with Modern Day Omnichannel Solutions

Complete Inventory Availability & Perfect Integration Across ALL Channels including In-Store Point of Sale, Online E-Commerce, Phone Orders & Amazon Marketplace

"In 1972 my dad, a 26-year-old, Indian-born pharmacist, purchased the third-generation business from the Merz family. It was his business savvy and merchandising skill that kept the business thriving." - Anthony Qaiyum, President, Merz Apothecary 

Not much has changed for customers since Merz Apothecary opened it’s doors in 1875. Even as the retailer’s assortment of natural and unique health, beauty, and wellness merchandise expanded, original antique pharmacy jars and herb containers continued to adorn its wooden shelves, giving off the old-world, yet high-end vibes.

It’s like stepping back in time with stained glass windows, oak cabinets, and a growing assortment of natural and unique health, beauty, and wellness merchandise.

After 140 years in the business, the retailer still prides itself on a continuously expanding range of products which are often imported and hard to find.

BLOG-Old-World Customer Experience Meets Modern Retail Tech

They also launched their E-Commerce website, smallerflower.comin 1998, which was early time for E-Commerce. With web-based fulfillment verification tools that dramatically reduce shipping mistakes. Back then, hitting 25 online orders a day was cause for celebration, these days it could be anywhere from 600 to 1300 orders each and every day.

Attempts to sync sales and inventory data across channels were manual and resulted in constant inventory issues. The lack of sales and inventory visibility across channels were manual and resulted in constant inventory issues. The lack of sales and inventory visibility across channels created significant customer service problems.

In an extreme example, Qaiyum recalls a time Oprah Winfrey featured a product carried at smallflower.com, and the resulting flood of online orders resulted in $40,000 of oversold stock.

Even without Oprah’s influence, Qaiyum says staffers were “ripping their hair out” to fulfill 200 orders per day, and dealing with the excessive back orders to boot.

"We needed a solution that was equal parts POS and order management as opposed to an order management system where POS was an afterthought." - Anthony Qaiyum, President, Merz Apothecary 

Having had a few misses with POS and order management providers that didn’t live up to their promises, Qaiyum had a better understanding of his company’s needs and Celerant Technology was the only software provider to encompass them all.

Behind the scenes, the omni-channel solution has enabled seamless inventory management, sales, and order fulfillment with Amazon that doesn’t require the retailer to upload products to Amazon manually, nor does it require them to manually confirm Amazon shipments.

While Qaiyum says a unique product line and an equally unique customer experience built around a knowledgeable and passionate staff have been central to 140 years of success at Merz, he credits savvy omni-channel technology with taking his company’s classic business approach into the 21st century.

Read our Case Study below to see how Merz Apothecary implemented Celerant Technology >>

Download this case study to see how Merz Apothecary utilized Celerant POS

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Case Study Old World Customer Experience Meets Modern-Retail-Tech

Marketing Communications Manager
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