After more than 20 years in the office products industry, Allen Saunders has a pretty good idea of what it takes to create a successful dealership today: an increasingly broad product mix that positions it as a genuine one-stop resource for customers; the ability to develop mutually beneficial relationships built on superior customer service and value; and a web storefront that delivers an online shopping experience that is just as good, if not better, than anything the big box competition can offer.
That’s why, some 10 years ago, the dealership where he serves as general manager, SunDANCE Office Supply in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, made the switch to the Red Cheetah e-commerce solution. It’s also why they were one of the first dealers to move to the Red Falcon® cloud-based software system when Red Cheetah, by then a member of the ECi Software Solutions family, was upgraded.
Moving to a cloud-based environment brought huge cost and time savings
“We were really ecstatic about the Red Cheetah storefront when we first saw it,” Allen recalls. “It was nearly 10 years ago but even then, we knew we needed a strong website presence to be competitive and Red Cheetah, now Red Falcon, gave us the ability to offer the kind of functionality, search-ability and all round ease-of-use that was just as good as the big boxes’ websites.”
It also didn’t hurt that the move to a web-hosted environment from a server-based system brought SunDANCE some major savings—a minimum of 50%, Allen estimates—and also freed up valuable time that would otherwise be spent on file and server maintenance.
And that was just for starters! Allen gives plenty of kudos to the training and technical support team for their contribution to the SunDANCE success story over the past 10 years.
Red Falcon software offers us the same level of service we provide to our own customers
“As an independent, we pride ourselves on the service we offer our customers and it was very encouraging to see ECi’s team committed to a similar level of support for their customers,” he says.
“Before with Red Cheetah, and now with Red Falcon, we have a dedicated dealer advisor who is the person we talk with whenever we have a question on the system,” he explains. “Our advisor is not only an expert on the software they are also experts on our specific needs and priorities. Working with the same person every time has been a huge plus when it comes to helping us make the most of the system.”
The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to assessing the impact of Red Cheetah/Red Falcon on the dealership. When SunDANCE made the switch to Red Cheetah, only 16% of sales came in online. Today, online orders represent 75% of total volume and growing and while Allen says they would probably have reached that level eventually anyway there’s no doubt that the rate of increase would have been far slower if Red Cheetah had not been part of the picture.
And as for the future?
“One of the really important aspects of working with Red Falcon is that, like us, they really listen to their customers and try very hard to respond to their changing needs,” he points out. “They’re a progressive organization that’s very comfortable with change and constantly looking for ways to add upgrades and enhancements to the system. Our partnership has played a key role in our dealership’s growth over the past 10 years and I’m confident Red Falcon will play a very similar role for us going forward.”