Though it’s based in Louisiana, The Royal Standard(opens in new tab) takes its name from a flag flown for the British royal family. For over 20 years, the home goods company has offered decor, entertaining essentials, and fashion accessories inspired by its founders’ international travels.
The Royal Standard has seven retail stores and two wholesale showrooms throughout the South, where its products are also featured in independently owned boutiques. Its ecommerce site serves nationwide adherents of its aesthetic, which combines classic elements with modern touches: Think traditional leather bags printed with “Hello gorgeous” and fine serving platters shaped like the state of Texas.
After finding traction as a retailer, The Royal Standard started manufacturing and wholesaling goods of its own. Today, almost all of its products are designed in-house, and wholesale represents 70% of revenue.
QuickBooks Becomes a Royal Pain
About 10 years ago, as The Royal Standard started opening more stores and expanding into wholesale, its on-premises QuickBooks system often froze while struggling to process a growing number of transactions.
The team made the switch to NetSuite ERP(opens in new tab) and saw immediate improvements in inventory management and reporting. Integrating its point of sale system with NetSuite lent a real-time view of the items available, in transit, or on order across all store locations – instead of information only about items in its distribution center.
Today, The Royal Standard uses NetSuite’s inventory management capabilities to track 20,000 active SKUs. The buying team runs saved searches to glean granular insights from historical sales data, pinpointing attributes of top-selling items like color and price point. Then, it plans its biannual releases of new products – 1,500 in each collection – accordingly. The team might decide to expand SKUs in a given category, like placemats or hand towels, and double down on the specific colors that are selling well while reducing SKUs in another category. This type of custom reporting would’ve never been possible on QuickBooks, said Emily Dykes, company vice president.
Raising the Standard in Ecommerce
In early 2020, The Royal Standard moved its business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce site from a legacy solution to NetSuite SuiteCommerce(opens in new tab). A quick implementation meant it was readily able to offer pickup and local delivery, weathering store shutdowns with relative ease. Last year, it moved its business-to-business (B2B) site to NetSuite SuiteCommerce as well, working with NetSuite Advanced Customer Support (ACS)(opens in new tab) to apply final touches with custom coding.
Sales on the B2C site have increased 100% since The Royal Standard started using NetSuite SuiteCommerce, and the B2B site’s sales are up 46% this year. That growth “wouldn’t be possible without the increased capabilities” in NetSuite, said Dykes.
It’s easy to publish items to the site and add trimmings like a store locator with little web development knowledge, Dykes said. In just a couple of hours, the team recently set up product feeds between NetSuite, Google Shopping and Facebook Shopping. Now, changes to the site – like new products or markdowns – automatically reflect on Google and Facebook. ACS helps with any trickier improvements, like the recent development of a gift card balance-checker.
By managing inventory and ecommerce in the same system, The Royal Standard reduced the opportunity for error that it faced when teams were making duplicate, manual updates to two separate systems.
There’s also “a sense of urgency,” said Dykes, to keep an accurate online item listing when working with limited-edition products that aren’t regularly restocked. “It’s important that you don’t disappoint your customer by allowing them to order something that’s no longer in stock,” she said. Linking inventory and ecommerce eliminated that risk, too.
Automation Is King
NetSuite is also integrated with The Royal Standard’s warehouse management and CRM systems. For a homegrown company in a highly regionalized market, centralizing data – and then employing automation – have been critical to success, Dykes said.
For example, like many retailers, The Royal Standard usually needs to fulfill B2C orders faster than B2B orders. While working on QuickBooks, the team decided how to prioritize fulfillment each day by manually comparing a list of open orders to lists of products in stock and products already committed to orders. Now that the team uses NetSuite to track orders, the system automatically generates prioritized lists of orders for fulfillment. That information flows into inventory system RF-Smart, then the team picks the order and it’s processed through ShipStation, the company’s shipping platform. The customer’s credit card is billed automatically.
Automation like this has fueled The Royal Standard’s explosive growth despite harsh economic conditions, Dykes said.
NetSuite “is an easy-to-use system that doesn’t require a lot of people” to run an efficient accounting department, she added. Her accounting team comprises just three employees, who make use of NetSuite’s automated dunning letters(opens in new tab) and bank feeds(opens in new tab) to cut down on manual work. The team keeps documents like invoices and customer tax IDs in the NetSuite File Cabinet(opens in new tab), linking them to vendor and customer records for less time spent sifting through paper files.
Financial reporting is also straightforward: Instead of exporting data to a spreadsheet for analysis, managers compare year-over-year performance of specific locations and departments in the ERP.
Role-based NetSuite dashboards display metrics unique to each team member’s job, keeping everyone focused on ways to make their individual function more efficient: Does the ecommerce manager’s dashboard show that new products are taking increasingly longer to get published to the site? If so, she might hire another product photographer.
As a busy executive, Dykes calls ACS “a huge help” in unearthing process improvements in NetSuite. If she finds herself spending more than two hours trying to adapt the system to a new company process, she hands the case to ACS.
Keeping Inventory in Order
As The Royal Standard continues to grow, it will lean on the strong inventory management practices it has honed in NetSuite.
For instance, the team uses NetSuite’s forecasting functionality to navigate supply chain issues. The Royal Standard often pre-sells to its B2B customers: A boutique might place an order at a trade show in January for delivery in April. The team uses NetSuite to get a snapshot of projected demand based on open sales orders. The system calculates each product’s lead time from The Royal Standard’s factory partners in China and India, taking into account pandemic-related shipping delays and rising shipping costs. The team uses this information to ensure factories can keep up with orders and it can deliver customers their products on time.
To prevent overselling any limited inventory, managers can adjust NetSuite item records to restrict an item from certain store locations. When speaking with customers, store staff instantly access this information in NetSuite. If a product is available but not in stock at that store, they can request a transfer order or create a sales order to ship it to the customer. In the past, staff called other departments to complete these kinds of tasks, wasting critical time with the customer and potentially losing the sale.
When opening a new store, The Royal Standard analyzes data on one of its similar, existing stores to determine the new location’s product mix, stock levels, and more. Key measurements include average customer age, lead time from the distribution center, and sales per square foot of real estate. This analysis makes opening stores easier and faster, Dykes said, allowing managers to make educated inventory decisions as they launch.
Setting The Royal Standard
In the short term, The Royal Standard looks forward to growing its B2B operations and continuing to refine its ecommerce sites. It will integrate the sites with other platforms like Google Analytics and online wholesale marketplace Faire while improving the user experience for both consumers and staff.
Each effort aims at The Royal Standard’s overall goal of reaching more customers around the world who share its love of “classic modern” accessories.
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