Alex Monroe has been delighting the jewelry industry for over 30 years with its unique and nature-inspired pieces, handmade in England.
Since launching Alex Monroe’s first collection in 1987, his love for the natural world has been the inspiration behind every piece that is designed and handmade by Alex and his team in London.
Over the years, the company’s retail success has continued to grow, seeing Alex Monroe working with a diverse selection of partners, including the very prestigious clientele of Buckingham Palace, Kew Gardens, The Victoria and Albert Museum and now even Disney, through their stunning ‘Beauty and the Beast’ collection.
Alex Monroe has also won several awards including: ‘Designer of the Year’ at the UK Jewelry Awards in 2008, ‘UKFT Accessories Award Winner’ at the 2014 UK and Fashion Textiles Awards, and was shortlisted to win the ‘25th Retail Jeweller Awards’ in 2017 within the ‘Bridal Collection of the Year’ category.
In those 30 years of business, the company has grown to over 35 employees working from 2 purpose-built workshops in London and a flagship store in London Bridge, while selling to over 38 countries, including the US, Japan, Iceland and South Korea.
Their main sales channel is wholesale, which sees them sell their jewelry to stockists across the world. But they also sell internationally via their own Magento website and within their own London-based boutique.
Tom Graham, Ecommerce Manager, tells us: “What makes Alex Monroe really unique is that everything we do, everything we make, is all designed and hand-made with traditional jewelry-making techniques in London. It’s an age-old craft that is still being championed, and Alex has never compromised on his original product. We’re still using the same techniques that he started off with 30 years ago.”
Tom Cornwell, Wholesale Manager at Alex Monroe explains that the team’s operations have changed in the past 12 months. “We had disjointed sales channels before Brightpearl – they weren’t integrated and we were using lots of spreadsheets to track what we were doing.”
Aside from the difficulties the team were having with tracking everything using spreadsheets, Tom Graham tells us that: “As some items are made-to-order, we sometimes don’t have the stock available. On the one hand, we’re able to offer different styles and designs, but this jars against customer expectations of fast shipping.”
One way that Alex Monroe resolve this is by having discussions with their customers and by keeping them informed if their item is expected to take a little longer to deliver. Alongside this, the team has implemented Brightpearl to help them keep the inventory levels on their Magento website updated. This helps with setting those expectations, allowing Alex Monroe to remain on the front foot.
We asked Tom Graham about how he has seen customer expectations change over the years, to which he replied: “In the time I’ve been in the industry, customer expectations have changed dramatically. I think the two things that have done that are technology, that’s been a really big driving force, and then also it’s the big online retailers. People get to a point where they’re expecting a certain level of service, so the fact that you can place an order from your phone on the bus into work, and then it’s delivered to your office lunchtime that day, and you get a message on your watch to let you know that it’s arrived – that’s a really high bar for smaller retailers to live up to.”
- Disjointed sales channels
- Manual data entry and multiple spreadsheets
- Visibility over reporting and inventory control was difficult to obtain
Since implementing Brightpearl, the team report improved business efficiency, particularly with inventory control and reporting. “Since we’ve had Brightpearl, we’ve massively changed the way we work, so our processes are much more streamlined. We’re making a lot of efficiency savings on the back of being able to see everything live in terms of stock, and being able to allocate things, and dispatch, even on the same day,” explains Tom Cornwell.
Alongside this, the team has seen a huge improvement in international growth just over the past year. And when asked what their secret to success was? Tom Cornwell tells us: “It’s probably down to the fact that we’ve done a lot of travel, but also Brightpearl has helped us to actually analyze that and look at it in more detail.”
Tom Graham adds: “Brightpearl has been great for making the data much more easily accessible for us. We can see what we’re selling, who we’re selling it to, and where. I can see our stock levels, so I use it for a reporting tool quite a lot. For my team, being able to dispatch and run all of our ordering process through there, takes a lot of the manual processes out of the equation. It frees up a lot of time for us to spend on our customer service.”
“With Brightpearl’s inventory management, at a glance, I can see what’s available for our customers. What would have maybe been a made-to-order piece a year ago, now I can see if it’s in stock in another warehouse. I can see that, and I can fulfill a customer order in a day, rather than three weeks, which is definitely great for the customer. It’s great for us as well, because it means we’re able to keep those orders flowing a lot quicker, and there’s a lot less admin behind the scenes for us,” Tom Graham explains.
Aside from the inventory management and reporting capabilities, Tom also explains that the Brightpearl POS software has been a great addition to their store and the experience they are able to offer there. “With the Brightpearl POS, the most important thing for us is that we can spend less time looking at the screen, and more time looking at our customers. We can have a conversation with them, show them the jewelry and get them involved with what we do here.” Tom also advises that: “Without a system like Brightpearl POS in place, it would be much more difficult for us to report on the performance of the store, which would make decision-making more difficult.”
And if Tom had to pick just one feature of Brightpearl that is his favorite? He would tell you: “My favorite piece of Brightpearl functionality is the reporting tool. Being able to delve deeper and deeper into the data you’re collecting is really useful, and so all the decisions I make are backed up by facts.”
- Easy at-a-glance reporting and accessible data
- Integration with Magento, perfect for real-time inventory updates
- Efficient POS to help them spend more time with customers
In the past 6 months alone, the team has opened up a second building, tripling their capacity and giving them more design space. Tom Graham tells us that: “We are always looking to grow and expand our ecommerce offering. We’re looking into responsive sites as an area, and obviously upgrading our site to Magento 2.0 at some point in the future.”
Regarding the booming wholesale side of the business, Tom Cornwell explains: “The wholesale strategy here is very much focused on the international business because that’s where we’re seeing a lot of growth.”
Tom Graham leaves us with these parting words: “The goal is to offer the best experience, regardless of where the customer is buying from. To make the experience enjoyable and engaging and to build a rapport with them.