Customer Story - Belle Provence
Gift, Home and Personal Accessories and Specialty Items
Remotely access real-time inventory information and other merchandise and financial reports Create an easy method to access reports without interrupting retail operations
TappIn remote access and file sharing service provides anywhere, anytime access to office host computer without locking down the host computer
Belle Provence Extends Competitive Edge with TappIn
Established in 1983, Belle Provence (www.belleprov.com) is a specialty retail store located in the busy Mill Creek community northeast of Seattle. Since inception, Belle Provence has grown from a small specialty gift shop to an expansive 2,100 square foot retail space, with six employees and more than 5,000 SKUs. The store stocks extensive lines of gift, home and personal decorative accessories, specialty items, linen, fragrances and jewelry from well known manufacturers such as Brighton, Vera Bradley, Hobo International and Trollbeads.
In 2005, Belle Provence owners Royal and Diane Reinsch automated their reporting systems to increase their competitive edge. Belle Provence integrated Microsoft Dynamics Point-of-Sale (POS) software and Hewlett Packard hardware and related peripherals. Conducting inventory went from taking several days to just hours, while analyzing customer preferences helped better target their marketing initiatives. The solution created such a dramatic improvement in the operations of Belle Provence that the Reinsch's were featured as a Microsoft and HP success story.Situation
Although Microsoft software and HP systems streamlined reporting operations, helping to better manage more than 23,000 data points, the Reinschs' still generated dozens of reports, with hundreds of fields of data grouped by Customer, Inventory, Sales and others. As an example, to learn what items were selling the "best," every sales transaction is examined by date, week, month, quarter and year. Each line item contains the item number, cost, price and quantity sold. This report alone consists of 18,000 lines of data for analysis. Creating these reports took time, but accessing and analyzing the reports at work took even more time and interfered with dedicated customer time.
The Reinsch's employed Microsoft RDC (Remote Desktop Connection) to access reports at home after hours. Microsoft RDC allows full access to all application software, but the program is cumbersome, difficult to set-up, requires a costly static IP and when in use, Microsoft RDC locks the host machine so it cannot be used by anyone else until the session is completed.Challenge
Belle Provence regularly generates a broad range of retail inventory and transaction reports. The owner's wanted immediate, hassle-free access to these reports anytime, whether at the retail site or at their home office. They wanted to not only access and review these reports, but also edit and resave the reports without locking down the host computer and disrupting retail store operations. They also wanted another alternative to the hassle of Microsoft RDC and the expense of the additional static IP.Solution
Belle Provence implemented TappIn's remote access and online file sharing service on their back office and home computers. It took seconds to activate the TappIn agent on each computer.
Now the Reinsch's generate reports and export them into Microsoft Excel, saving them in a folder on the office host computer. Royal and Diane can access, review and edit the reports at their leisure, at home, anytime. Further, the Reinsch's now have a hassle-free alternative to Microsoft RDC for viewing and retrieving files and no longer have the inconvenience of locking down the office computer or disrupting retail operations while they review transaction reports.
"One report is more than 18,000 lines and more than 20 columns of data," says Royal. "It takes me less time to open the file remotely at home using TappIn than it does to generate the report in Microsoft POS in the store." "TappIn gives us more options—we get the information we need, when we need it. We can access the reports at home or on the road, review and edit the data—no longer interfering with store operations," continues Reinsch. "Plus, since the files are in Microsoft Excel, we can extract, normalize, compare, calculate and make better decisions without having to go through Remote Desktop to access the POS software."
"When at the store, we can focus on providing unique, high quality products and superior customer service, which differentiates us from other retailers," says Diane. "It's a relief not having to schedule the best time to lock down the office computer for reporting issues. Plus, there's no hassle with clunky remote access software, making my life and Royal's much easier."
The Reinsch's agree that TappIn is easy, fast and cost-effective. It has delivered an efficient way to remotely access the retail reports they need to continue navigating their phenomenal growth.
"TappIn is one of the tools I have come to rely on," says Royal. "It's a huge time saver."