Posted by Lisa Schwarz, Director, Ecommerce Marketing
Christian Cranmer’s fascination with military antiques was a childhood hobby that led to a wildly successful business and ultimately TV stardom.
Cranmer is the founder of International Military Antiques and co-star of Family Guns, a National Geographic Channel reality show featuring him and his son, Alex Cranmer. Christian’s love of military history has led him around the globe in a career as the largest retailer of military antiques and collectibles in the world. But with a business that sells everything from WWII-era Jeeps to 17th century bronze canons to German uniform cuffs, growth and celebrity required software that could handle that success.
Based in Gillette, N.J., International Military Antiques evolved from a store run out of the Cranmer’s garage to one with three warehouses and 60,000 square feet of storage space for its military goods collected from around the world. When the company launched an ecommerce operation in 2004, it saw explosive growth.
The company wasn’t ready for the influx of orders. Customers would call in an order using antiquated PeachTree accounting software and employees would write the order by hand, total it by calculator and give the customer the total, while guessing at the shipping cost. Credit card numbers were written on piece of paper and given to another person who entered it into Peachtree. If the credit card was denied all the work was ultimately a wasted effort.
“A busy period that was usually 20 orders in a day went to 80 orders,” Alex Cranmer said. “That process just about broke the company. We had people staying until 1:00 in the morning writing out orders.”
Cranmer quickly realized the company needed more sophisticated order management software. It turned to NetSuite OMX to serve as the single system of record for inventory, orders, financial reports and customer records.
NetSuite OMX automated International Military Antique’s order processing and inventory management and now the company clears 95% of orders within 24 hours, which is a requirement to meet the stringent standards to maintain a top seller rating on eBay and Amazon, where the company has set up stores. OMX seamlessly handles orders across Amazon and eBay as well as phone, email and online orders, while integration between OMX and ChannelAdvisor takes data from OMX and publishes it directly to eBay and Amazon. Pre-built integration with its Magento ecommerce front end means that staff need to enter a new product on the website (roughly 30 times per week) the details also go into the OMX order management system with the push of a button.
With thousands of constantly-changing SKUs, international fulfillment requirements, a myriad of complicated import and export restrictions, International Military Antiques is able to handle it all thanks to NetSuite OMX.
“Even though we’re this niche business I know we have unique processes that far bigger companies would envy because of OMX,” Cranmer said.
The company continues to supply the world’s museums, private collectors, historical re-enactors and film productions (mot recently Warhorse) and last year was its best in its history.
“We try to make it fun and historical, a light hearted look at military history,” Cranmer said. “We try to look at the stories.”
International Military Antiques growth and evolution is now one of those stories.