Midsize Business Case Study
Sunglasses Manufacturer Boosts Sales 29 Percent, Aids Dealer Growth with CRM Software
Story at a Glance
Spy Optic, a manufacturer of sunglasses and goggles, scrambled to keep up with the rapid growth in the action-sports market and stay one step ahead of competitors. The marketing department needed better sales and inventory data to help salespeople push the hottest-selling items and keep them in stock. To gain control, Spy Optic deployed Microsoft® software that provides up-to-the-minute sales and inventory data for making smart marketing, sales and development decisions. Spy Optic can help dealers stock the most popular items, which has helped boost sales by 29 percent. Also, operational costs are lower, thanks to automated efficiencies.
Fran Richards, Vice President of Marketing for eyewear manufacturer Spy Optic, was flying blind. His company was soaring in the edgy outdoors market aimed at snowboard, water-sports and extreme-sports enthusiasts. But like a snowboarder flying over a cornice into the unknown below, Spy Optic was operating on instinct rather than on solid information. “We didn’t have good data about regional tastes, sales or even our own inventory,” he says. “We were making design, stock and marketing decisions based on gut feel and assumptions.”
Spy Optic makes high-performance sunglasses, snow goggles, motocross goggles, clothing and accessories for 20- somethings and the young at heart. It’s a demographic subject to constantly changing tastes, and Spy Optic didn’t have the insight it needed to keep close tabs on sales. Nor could it tune new-product development to the latest fads and keep dealers stocked with top sellers. “There wasn’t a focus on what was selling,” Richards says. “We only looked at what we sold to retailers, not what was selling through, so we were out of touch with market changes. We were typically out of the top-50 SKUs, which disappointed dealers and limited revenue opportunities.”
Already in more than 5,000 U.S. retailers, Spy Optic was poised to expand outside the United States into Europe and Australia but wanted to get a handle on its data before multiplying problems across a larger dealer base.
Spy Optic replaced its antiquated enterprise resource planning (ERP) application with
Up on Dynamic Markets
Using live sales data, Richards and his staff can gain instant, up-to-date visibility into topperforming products; this lets them focus efforts on top sellers and keep inventory stocked with popular items. “We can see what styles are popular in New England versus California and online versus in stores,” Richards says. “We now make sure we never run out of our top-50 SKU colors and styles. We also use this data to drive product development. If we see that tortoise is outselling hot pink, we ramp up tortoise and come up with similar ideas.”
Better Service Fuels Growth
Spy Optic now has a single customer database from which to coordinate sales, marketing, and customer service activities. Salespeople can create a quote in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and convert the quote to an order that is automatically transferred into Microsoft Dynamics GP. Similarly, for contact management purposes, sales leads are automatically converted to customers, which eliminates data reentry.
“The whole company operates off the same set of data, which eliminates confusion and redundancy and speeds customer service,” Richards says. “Marketing can share customer records with accounting, and salespeople can see inventory levels before they make commitments to customers. I use inventory data to launch promotions, which I can manage easily from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.”
Spy Optic is also better able to help its dealers, many of which are young sports enthusiasts, often without a lot of business experience. “We’ve been able to create a sound business model for inexperienced dealers,” Richards says. “We can take successes from our most sophisticated dealers and distill winning techniques. We can now tell dealers which product models they should carry, in what quantities. We can help them see that if they replenish their top-10 sellers every week, and even increase the space devoted to sunglasses, they can increase sales. It’s completely changed the way we sell to dealers.”
Sales Up, Costs Down
After a year of making smarter use of sales and inventory data, Spy Optic has seen sales rise 29 percent. At the same time, operational expenses are down. “We used to have three people filling Web orders, but that’s down to one, thanks to new automated efficiencies,” Richards says. “We’ve moved those two people into customer service.”
Richards now steers Spy Optic with a clear eye into exciting new vistas.
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Posted by Matthew Holden, of