Bringing Omnichannel to Charlotte Latin School in 3 weeks

Challenge
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Charlotte Latin, like many other schools, was using a contained eCommerce solution, where the provider set up everything, maintained the site, and paid back a percentage of the sales to the school. They decided to terminate their contract and to take the reins of their own destiny for their online shop.

 

Having a physical store on campus, an inventory on hand, and a store manager, they had all the ingredients to manage an eStore part of an Omnichannel strategy.

 

While going through the process of selecting a new platform, they did not have any site up. Parents wanted to buy online but could not. They looked at different platforms, more CMS-like or offering very basic eCommerce functionalities.

 

The challenge was to find the right platform for the lowest price and easy enough for them to be able to maintain it on their own. They also had a lot of mini-shops (one for Performing Arts, one for the Engineering Lab maintained by the students, another one for their 50th Anniversary) that were set up but were scattered and not easy to find.

 

Holidays were only 2 months away so they needed a solution up and running perfectly before the rush of the Holidays sales.

Results

20%

Sales Increase

50%

catalog increase

50%

Online Sales increase

1

New skill offered to students

How we did it

VDI started by gathering the requirements, understanding everything they wanted to achieve in the short and longer-term.

 

We showed CLS a side-by-side cost and features comparison between Shopify and the other solution they were contemplating. Before our intervention, the solution they were originally advised to use, was very limited and would not have allowed them to achieve their goals.

Once gone through the budget approval, we started setting up the Shopify platform and enabled the following functionalities:

  • Integrate between Shopify and CLS Clover POS

  • Support the new need to sell the Fab Lab products (products created by the Seniors in the Entrepreneurship class) and be able to send the orders containing a Fab Lab product to the teacher

  • Have the Performing Arts and L50 sites be accessible from their eStore

  • Have an inventory count adjusted in real-time when sales happened on any channel

  • Allow customers to pick up in-store or shipping

  • Have shipping rates calculated automatically

  • Be able to showcase on the homepage the big sections of the site

  • Allow some products to be picked up in-store only

  • Have gift cards

  • Have products that only the swim team could purchase, meaning not visible to the rest of the public

  • Give to the School Staff a special discount

  • Run promotions and sales when needed (on specific products, group of products, or cross-site)

  • VDI enabled and configured all the features and functionalities CLS needed. We even went further by enabling:

  • PayPal

  • An on-demand print solution, allowing Latin to expand its catalog at no cost.

Charlotte latin homepage
Charlotte Lating category page

VDI then synced all the products from the POS to the online store and loaded new ones. Some products were initially not set up correctly on the POS to offer a good online experience so we rekeyed and rescanned the concerned products. We entered all the weights of the products for the automated shipping rates to be calculated.

 

Once the implementation was finalized and the site fully tested, we set up several training sessions for the store manager on the different tasks to perform. We also trained the Fab Lab students to allow them to load new products as they were creating them. This full process, end to end, took no more than 3 weeks.

Latin was now equipped with a full omnichannel setup and a responsive online store. They were ready but we did not leave them all by themselves. They could benefit from the on-demand operational support as they were making their transition and getting fully versed on how to use the system. We were present and fixing some of their issues, walking them again through some steps, setting up some products and images, making some cosmetic changes based on some feedback, retagging some products as they were willing to regroup some categories, and making some navigation changes. They received the support they needed until they felt comfortable.