Kitchen Stuff Plus is a Canadian owned and operated retailer in the Greater Toronto Area offering an ever changing variety of cookware, kitchen gadgets, bath accessories, housewares and home decor products. Starting from a single booth at a local Flea Market just over 20 years ago, Kitchen Stuff Plus has grown to include 14 retail locations, a Warehouse Sale location and an eCommerce sales channel that services Canada and the USA.
As a discount retailer with regular pricing adjustments, over 8,000 unique products in-stock, new products arriving every day and a variety of footprints, Kitchen Stuff Plus faces a variety of challenges when it comes to ensuring that signage information is current and correct. In the past, signage was generated manually by each store, leading to reduced productivity and occasional spelling mistakes and pricing errors – all of which has been resolved by implementing the ECS5 Media Suite throughout the retail chain.
“We discovered the ECS5 Media Suite and fell in love with it. This software allows us to feed all of our product and pricing information, including product descriptions and the category the item belongs to, directly from our Microsoft Dynamics Nav ERP System. We can automatically generate signage for a variety of templates and print them in the various sizes required by our stores,” says John Thompson, Director of IT at Kitchen Stuff Plus.
Jay Engel, Merchandising Manager, remarks “We were very excited to see what we could do so quickly with the ECS5 Media Suite and knew that we could do so much more as we became comfortable with the software! We could implement almost any idea without limitation!”
Part of Kitchen Stuff Plus’ store signage solution is to communicate the incredible value customers are receiving and the ECS5 Media Suite allowed them to create various templates for visual impact as customers browse the store. A customer can walk up to a sign, without a store associate, and easily read detailed information about a product – information that they would not usually be able to find without talking to an employee. This improves both the customer shopping experience, making it easier to learn about specific products, as well as helping reduce and re-task labor without impacting the in-store experience.
“One of the things we really like about the solution,” John continues, “is that it has allowed us to introduce full color brand logos onto our signs. We are also able to incorporate graphics as well as features and benefits, making our signs and stores look very professional.”
Kitchen Stuff Plus has found that conversion has significantly improved since implementing ECS5 Media Suite signage, noting that having visually impactful signage helps draw customer attention to the products. The staff were really excited that the solution was web based, meaning that new signage could be printed from any computer in the store, allowing signage updates to be assigned to any staff member with far less training than was previously required, making the entire experience more profitable.
Store associates have found that creating and printing signs is a very easy process, as it only requires that they log in to a computer, type in a stock number, select the sign size and print. All the necessary information for the sign is centrally programmed for them, eliminating spelling and pricing errors. Being able to centrally manage a system from Head Office was an essential part of the ECS5 Media Suite solution, as it makes it quick and easy for all users, creates a consistent look and feel across all stores and allows pricing updates to be instantly communicated to all retail locations simultaneously.
Since going live with the Enterprise Communication Suite, Kitchen Stuff Plus have opened 3 new stores, which they have found to be a much more simple and streamlined experience when it comes to setting up initial store signage, significantly decreasing the time it takes to set up a brand new store.
Utilizing the ECS5 Media Suite has meant that Kitchen Stuff Plus has saved a considerable amount of time and money. Previously each store manually created their own signage, which could consume over an hour of an associates’ time – that time has now been reduced to 15 or 20 minutes. When you multiply that time saving across 14 stores and 365 days a year, the time savings alone are worth the investment.
Another factor in choosing the ECS5 Media Suite solution was knowing that signage could be displayed in multiple languages, which the database is designed to do and is a feature that can be used at any time. Being able to put in solutions today that are going to work tomorrow was vitally important to the Kitchen Stuff Plus IT team.
Liz Early, Store Manager, concludes “This is by far the best signing system we have had and is incredibly quick and efficient. The staff are able to use it very easily and it just saves so much time. The look is very professional and consistent, which helps us make the store look great on a daily basis.”
Derek Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer of ECS Global Inc, says “We are really excited about moving to the next phase with Kitchen Stuff Plus and continuing to evolve our strong relationship and provide Kitchen Stuff Plus with further opportunities in terms of communicating with their client community.”