Organization: Expert Ireland
Location: 67 stores across Ireland
Customer since: 2015
Solution: Diver Platform
- Expert Ireland has reduced the time it spends on promotion report creation by 98%, saving six days each year.
- Diver Platform gives Expert Ireland data it can use to drive the conversation with its suppliers.
- Expert Ireland’s member organizations benefit from the data it produces through Diver so they can implement best practices that are successful at other stores.
Expert Ireland is Ireland’s largest electrical retailer, with more than 60 stores across the country. The stores are independent retailers who through the Expert group are able to combine purchases, marketing, and general market information. The company’s goal is to offer its customers the best value for their money.
Expert Ireland’s 67 stores across the country, run by 44 members, are local retailers that are engrained within their communities. The Expert company does have an international presence. It is the market leader in home appliances with a strong market share in other categories as well.
Within the retail world, eroding margins is a huge challenge for companies, including Expert Ireland. Most electronics retailers compete on price because they sell products that, unlike specific types of clothing or furniture that can be customized to a buyer’s preferences, a customer can look up online to find a static product from a number of different retailers. This leads to razor-thin margins. In order to combat this, Expert Ireland must set itself apart on something other than price. The company is known in Ireland for providing exceptional customer service.
In order to preserve its margins, Expert Ireland must optimize its use of technology and analytics to better understand its business. However, because Expert Ireland is made up of many different retailers, all of its members run their businesses differently—this includes the fact that they implement different technology. In fact, some of the businesses don’t even have an adequate technology infrastructure. As a result, the Expert Ireland parent company relied on suppliers to tell them how stores were performing. Expert was reacting to market trends rather than trying to control them. It needed the data that would give the organization some control when it was dealing with suppliers.
“We felt it was flexible, it could be implemented very quickly, and it was cost-effective, because this was something we were funding at the head office ourselves. It was also scalable — we thought it would be achievable for all sizes of business, all of the retailers that we have.”
Expert Ireland knew, because of how different each of its stores is, that the perfect world solution of one common IT system for all of its members wasn’t possible. Expert Ireland’s involvement in some stores was strictly in the electrical department, which was one small part of the entire store, and the company knew it couldn’t expect the retailer to change its entire system for one department.
Expert Ireland wanted a solution that would help it get out in front of its interactions with its suppliers, and help the company re-establish a position of authority. Expert Ireland also needed a solution that its retailers would trust, knowing that when they handed over the information their loyal customers entrusted with them, that Expert was going to handle that information responsibly.
Expert found its answer with the Diver Platform, which it purchased through Dynamic Business Informatics (DBI), a Diver reseller based in Ireland. “We thought the easiest and most flexible way to get the information from people to almost live was the solution that Diver represented through DBI,” says Tony Murphy, commercial director at Expert Ireland. “We felt it was flexible, it could be implemented very quickly, and it was cost-effective, because this was something we were funding at the head office ourselves. It was also scalable — we thought it would be achievable for all sizes of business, all of the retailers that we have.”
Once Expert Ireland got buy-in from the first couple of stores, it became easier to convince other members to go along with Diver, to the point where most retailers were on board and Expert Ireland could make it a requirement for the remaining stores. The implementation went well because Murphy says DBI understood what Expert was trying to achieve.
Expert Ireland has a product file capturing 90,000 product lines over three years. The company is able to calculate the overall turnover (revenue) rate matched to .04% accuracy. Expert Ireland can now approach a supplier about the performance of certain products with the data to back it up, which it wouldn’t have done in the past.
“We’ve definitely re-established a position of authority with our suppliers,” says Murphy. “We’re now telling them what we’re doing rather than asking them what we’re doing. The performance metrics have changed from buying in to sell out, which I think is more important.”
In the past, Expert Ireland might have to approach multiple suppliers during negotiations over certain products just to pin down the number of that product it sold in a year. Now the information is available through a single click in Diver. When calculating promotions, Expert Ireland has a report set up within Diver for one brand where it can get the information in minutes as opposed to hours. For example, there might be eight promotion periods over two months. In the past it would take about a day for Expert Ireland to gather the information from all of its stores for those eight periods. But with the reports set up in Diver, it now takes Expert Ireland 10 minutes to complete the same task—a reduction in time of 98%! Over the course of the year, that saves Expert Ireland six days in report creation time.
The success of Diver has led to data sharing between members for everyone to benefit from best practices. “We’re using our own information now, it’s more believable, it’s reality,” says Murphy. “We’re able to share with our members that this is happening in this area, here’s how you can implement it in your store.”
Expert Ireland implemented the promotions report that saves it hours with one brand on a trial basis. Based on that success, it would like to implement it across multiple brands. Expert Ireland would also like to use Diver to produce more reports, including opportunities for suppliers and retailers to be able to see a retailer’s performance in relation to the rest of the group.
Expert Ireland benefited the most from its experience with Diver once it figured out the best way to use it. “Initially I probably was a little bit like a child in a sweet shop,” says Murphy. “I went from having no system and no information to having a lot of information without standing back and thinking what do we need it for and what will we get the most out of it from?”
Once Expert Ireland gave some thought to how it would get the most out of Diver, it used it more efficiently. Murphy says, “We started to see more analytic applications for it rather than spending a lot of time on getting information that is nice to have rather than business critical.”