Gagnon Frères Implements the LS Central Unified Commerce Solution
Gagnon Frères is a family business established in 1904 which stands today among the biggest regional furniture retailers in Quebec. With seven stores in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord and Capitale-Nationale regions, the company offers a wide range of furniture pieces, appliances, mattresses, and decoration items.
The retail industry was particularly hard hit these last years, and we can trace this back way before the pandemic. This compelled stakeholders to show agility. Now today, in addition to adapting to the e-commerce boom, retailers need to deal with the rapidly changing behavior of consumers, and continuously re-learn how to meet their needs. Competition is all the more intense in a sector such as furniture sales, where competitors are aggressive, prices and inventories fluctuate, and complex ordering processes jeopardize the customer experience.
As a regional vendor, Gagnon Frères had to shine amid major national players processing large volumes of goods, and having a strong purchasing power. At a time when national vendors focus on a web-based approach, Gagnon Frères build their strategy on an optimal, consistent omnichannel shopping experience. Choosing the LS Central unified commerce solution fits perfectly with Gagnon Frères’s goal to support their sales teams, and to preserve the expertise of the company.
Before Implementing LS Central
In the 32 years prior to implementing LS Central, Gagnon Frères was operating a legacy system that is commonplace in the furniture industry. Having become obsolete and restrictive, the slow and heavy software showed no flexibility. It couldn’t communicate with other platforms, and took forever to harness data. For instance, it was impossible for the company to automate business analysis and online order processing, or to obtain a reliable and accurate product cost. And so, they had to resort to estimations and forecasts performed once or twice a year to support their decisions.
Why LS Central?
Gagnon Frères chose LS Central, a solution based on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. In addition to having made a name for itself in several industries, the system was chosen for its user-friendly interface, ease of access to information, and powerful reporting features.
The Benefits of a Unified Commerce System
Improved Customer Experience
The LS Central solution allows Gagnon Frères to strengthen its value proposition by focusing on customer experience. So now all employees have access to highly detailed information that self-updates in real time. For example, if a customer wants a product that is not available in a store, which is often the case in furniture sales, the salesperson can show him a description of the product as well as a precise date of availability for shipping based on current stock levels throughout the company’s network.
And so, sales consultants have access to all the necessary information to properly address the needs of in-store customers. Since this information can also be found online, the customer can always have a clear picture of the products available. The company can thus help the customer throughout his buying journey, from pre-shopping to after-sales support.
Quality Information, Better Management
The new system gives Gagnon Frères a greater quantity and quality of information. Many non-value-added tasks have been eliminated following the retrieval of this information. The company noticed positive impacts on inventory and product management with these gains, and with real-time access to data. They achieved two record years in sales despite a reduction in staff numbers due to the pandemic.
“LS Central improves inventory management, makes the job easier for our employees, and gives them accurate, reliable, real-time information to help support our customers.”
Virginie Théberge, Executive Director, Gagnon Frères
Previously, in order to become sales consultants, employees had to take part in a one-week training to familiarize themselves with the legacy system. Using the literature made available by LS Central, Gagnon Frères created training modules to help new hires achieve autonomy more quickly. And so, there was a reduction in training time for all functions at Gagnon Frères.
Improved Financial Visibility
While Gagnon Frères formerly based their strategy on estimations, they can now rely on accurate financial information to make the right decisions, thanks to reliable data. For instance, the company can allocate costs to items, access account details, distribute by ancillary costs, etc.
Deepen the Knowledge of Different Tools
Gagnon Frères now want to take their business to the next level using complementary tools made available through LS Central. With all the newly collected data, the company will improve its use of Power BI to generate reports. Efficient sales figure review, optimized inventory management, reliable trend detection... The improved reporting features will help the company establish sound asset management practices. What’s more, Gagnon Frères wants to use features yet to be covered, such as the customer relationship management (CRM) module. This will prove particularly important to improve communication with customers, and make tailored offers.
Keep Focusing on the Customer Experience
In the same vein, ongoing and upcoming projects are heavily focused on customer satisfaction. The company strives to offer consumers a fast and efficient service, and to properly assess their satisfaction level, all with fewer resources. To do so, Gagnon Frères intends to explore the automation feature so that some tasks can be carried out without human intervention. Automation can also help in setting up alerts that will be triggered when the values of a process cross over a certain threshold, therefore allowing the company to anticipate problems. All of these initiatives will be made possible thanks to the implementation of LS Central.