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Blue-9 Harnesses Its Resources with SAP Anywhere
An online pet product seller prepares to scale with SAP's front-office solution for small and midsize businesses
For the rest of the July 2017 issue of CRM magazine please click here

The ultimate blessing for a young and growing e-commerce start-up can also be its curse: Word of your new widget is spread through an influential media outlet, but you don’t have the necessary number of products in stock, or the necessary tools, to fulfill the skyrocketing demand.

Blue-9 Pet Products nearly found itself in this situation when, in March, its dog training harnesses were ranked No. 1 out of 12 products in Whole Dog Journal. With this accolade, the Iowa company saw a sudden rise in the amount of orders it had to process from international retailers and customers. Thankfully, it was able to avoid disaster because it had migrated to SAP’s Anywhere combined e-commerce, sales, and CRM solution for small businesses just five months earlier, enabling it to go from processing an average of 400 monthly orders to 5,000 in a matter of months.

According to Jamie Popper, Blue-9’s business development manager, Blue-9 wasn’t necessarily in the market for a solution that combined a wide range of tools and components. In October 2016, “we were really looking for inventory management software,” she says. “We had a WordPress website, a bunch of different plug-ins, and were going to 10 different websites to manage the business,” she recalls. The company was using ShippingEasy to manage its shipping, as well as Quickbooks and Amazon, and was relying on IT professionals to link these and other systems together.

But when Blue-9 personnel came across reps from SAP Anywhere at a conference, they discovered “a solution that was all-in-one, for the same price that we would have paid for an inventory management” add-on, she says—roughly $550 a month.

With approval from Blue-9’s president, David Blake, the transition was initiated. Getting onto the platform, Blake says, took about as long as it takes to put a website together. “When we migrated to SAP, they asked us what we wanted, and we said basically we like our website. But honestly, as we look back, I think we spent 30 minutes on the phone, and it was done the next day.”

Blue-9 gathered the various documents holding customer and product information and handed them to SAP, which then uploaded them into the Anywhere system, setting up all the channels through which that data would now be accessible.

“The implementation team was totally available that first week, as we were still learning some of the different things we needed to be able to do,” Popper states. “But I was fluently using SAP Anywhere for my day-to-day processes within two to three weeks—fully integrated, and knowing how to do what I needed to do to run the business.”

On a single dashboard, Popper has access to separate digital tiles dedicated to service cases and customer questions, as well as open orders. The environment is also customizable, she points out.

Such functionality is important to a young business like Blue-9, Popper says, because “when you’re figuring out your process and figuring out what the next plug-in you need is and stuff like that, you’re stuck trying to figure out how to run your business rather than how to grow your business.”

Blake agrees, adding that “we can focus way more time on growing the business, and that’s content development, customer relationships,” and the like.

Since its dramatic boost in demand, the company has scaled up from three employees to seven. Additionally, Blake says, it has been able to cut down on IT expenses, as updates are done automatically every month.

The system is more robust than the company’s previous setup and benefits from Amazon’s Web Services, which allows it to support customer needs 24/7.

And the three-year-old company looks forward to taking full advantage of new functionality, Blake says, as SAP continues to tweak and update its Anywhere offerings.

The Payoff

Using SAP's Anywhere for SMBs, Blue-9 Pet Products was able to:

  • support growth from 400 monthly sales to 5,000 monthly sales;
  • cut IT and system maintenance costs; and
  • grow its team from three to seven employees.

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