By Erin Harris, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine
Big Al's, an aquarium retail chain headquartered in Toronto, has been in business for more than 30 years. Today, Big Al's is a multichannel retailer with e-commerce activity in the United States and Canada, as well as corporate and franchised locations operating in Canada. For several years, Big Al's used a proprietary software application with limited POS functionality to run its brickand- mortar operations. Because Big Al's distribution and ecommerce businesses were growing rapidly, the retailer needed a flexible ERP solution to meet increasing demands. Indeed, Big Al's adds 2,000 products each year — a cause for concern if antiquated or disparate technologies are involved. Therefore, Allan Saul, the retailer's president, wanted an integrated solution that would meet the business' retail, wholesale, and e-commerce needs. "We operate wholesaling, distribution, e-commerce, maintenance, and 16 retail stores," explains Saul. "We needed to consolidate the information for these siloed operations with one integrated solution. We also needed a single solution that would provide data on various clients, costs, and prices."