How Technology is Enabling Family Businesses to Thrive in the World of Digital Commerce

Posted by Maggie Miller, Senior Commerce Content Manager

In 1989, Peg and Tim Liebert founded a mail-order company they called Kansas Sampler. The catalog was filled with apparel and gifts related to the state of Kansas and local sports teams. In 1990, they expanded into brick-and-mortar retailing by opening five stores in the Kansas City area.

Fast-forward to 2017 - the family-owned business, under the name Rally House is operating over 60 stores in nine states and a growing ecommerce site with son Aaron Liebert leading the helm.

What’s helping to drive the growth of this second-generation family-owned business? Modern commerce technology.

“The retail industry changes fast,” said Liebert. “We came to a point where we needed a technology solution that was flexible and scalable so we could adapt quickly in this fast-changing industry.”

To modernize its business to meet the demands of today’s customers, Rally House turned to NetSuite to run its ERP, CRM, point-of-sale, ecommerce, order and inventory management and commerce marketing automation. Before that, the company was running on an operation of disconnected on premise systems and applications including QuickBooks, Excel and Celerant for POS and ecommerce.

Transforming Stores to Warehouses

The cloud-based solution helped Rally House double its store footprint in two years without having to add new IT staff. Real-time inventory visibility has allowed Rally House to display item availability by store on its website. Optimizing even more, Rally House moved its inventory to the stores - shutting down its distribution center. Fulfilling online orders from stores is a huge cost savings and provides a greater selection, faster shipping and improves customer satisfaction.

Another way Rally House is innovating the customer experience with technology is by offering a buy online, pick up in store option which also helps generate increased store traffic.

“We wouldn’t have been able to support this growth without NetSuite,” said Liebert. “Now we have a solution that can last with us forever.” 

Technology Turns the Page for TALAS

Another family-owned company taking on a new chapter in business transformation is TALAS.

Started in 1962 by Elaine and Herbert Haas, TALAS was the first company in the US to provide the museum and library community with hand bookbinding and conservation supplies.

Today, Aaron Salik leads the second generation family business which now serves institutions, businesses and individuals around the world.

As the craft of bookbinding and art conservation was undergoing a resurgence, TALAS saw a need to upgrade its business with modern technology. TALAS closed the books on its outdated, disconnected systems including Sage and a homegrown ecommerce site and implemented NetSuite’s unified solution including ERP, CRM, ecommerce, inventory and order management and commerce marketing automation.

“NetSuite has allowed us to take a 50-year-old business and transform it with technology to grow without adding extra resources,” said Salik.

New Website Restores Online Experience

With the majority of the business coming from online sales, it’s critical for TALAS to provide a best-in-class online experience. Its new online store provides a fresh, easy to use, mobile-optimized experience and eliminates the manual order processing of online orders. With the new site, TALAS has seen its search rankings soar, helping to drive new customer acquisitions. Talas is now reaching a global audience and boosting demand for their products across the world. Customers seem to be enjoying the new online experience with sales up by 20 percent.

By investing in NetSuite both companies have gained a scalable solution that supports the business, without having to incur the costs of hiring new staff. From eliminating a warehouse to automating operational processes, both companies were able to create efficiencies that increase profits, cut costs and innovate on the customer experience. All while having technology that can grow with their companies for many more generations to come. 

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