Bat and Bottle quintuples online sales
since implementing Brightpearl
Independent retailer Bat and Bottle import and sell artisan Italian wine to consumers and restaurants
The retail background
Husband and wife, Ben and Emma Robson, began their retail business back in 1994 with an ambitious dream of combining their two greatest loves, cricket and wine. Co-founder, Emma Robson shares, “The idea was to have a white van, turn up at cricket matches each week throughout the Summer and sell both cricket bats and good wine. It was a brilliant dream but unsurprisingly it didn’t come true.”
Bat and Bottle are now completely focused on their more refined product of fine Italian wine, although the name has stuck! “Ben always wanted to work in wine, he started by delivering wine for a wine merchant as soon as he had a driving license. It’s just always been a fascination of his,” Emma explains.
With the real passion behind the business based in Oakham, Rutland, Bat and Bottle have been successfully importing and selling wine for over 20 years and selling both B2C and B2B after expanding into wholesale in the last few years when they began to sell to restaurants.
The consumer-facing side of the business is focused on building long-term relationships with customers through face-to-face wine tasting sessions and encouraging wine lovers to sign up to their exclusive wine club. Bat and Bottle, an omnichannel retailer, sell through various methods, ranging from their brick-and-mortar location in Oakham, their Magento webstore, and also by phone and email.
Tackling CRM and inventory
Prior to Brightpearl, Bat and Bottle used Sage Line 50 to manage accounts and Act! for their CRM system. After using Sage Line 50 for around 15 years from 1996 to 2011, Emma explains “it was a personal mission to find a better alternative. When we found Brightpearl, we couldn’t wait to move and we’ve really enjoyed it ever since.”
As the business is focused on creating long-lasting and personal relationships with their customers, it was crucial for Bat and Bottle to find a system that could effectively help manage and improve their customer relationships.
Bat and Bottle were looking for a system to automatically update their stock inventory levels as previously they had to manually update stock levels on their website and ran the risk of double selling. The business could no longer work with the chance of upsetting or losing customers due to inaccurate stock levels so they needed a solution to improve their inventory management.
Bat and Bottle really utilize Brightpearl’s functionality which has helped them improve efficiency. “It’s made us much more efficient, there’s very little duplication in data entry and therefore much less risk of errors. It’s given us much more time to fulfill other roles and focus on growth.”, Emma shares.
Brightpearl has helped the business focus on building customer loyalty and managing relationships through the CRM feature. The business makes good use of Brightpearl’s memo field to store customer information so they can use it to maintain a personal touch when speaking with a customer. Emma says, “The memo field in Brightpearl CRM is invaluable. It’s so useful to keep notes on customers so we can deliver a personal service.” Bat and Bottle doesn’t see any limitations to the amount of data they can store as Emma adds, “The size of your customer database doesn’t affect the speed of Brightpearl CRM.”
Bat and Bottle have seized the opportunity to expand their business since using the retail management system as they’ve began to sell to restaurants, which has expanded this area of the business by 95%. “We couldn’t sell to restaurants before Brightpearl because we couldn’t guarantee perfect service.”, Emma explains.
Bat and Bottle take full advantage of Brightpearl’s cloud-based functionality, “We love the fact that we can run our business while on buying trips. Wherever we’re working from we have full information for any query. We no longer have to be physically standing in our warehouse to be able to answer any inquiry or arrange a delivery. As long as we’ve got internet, we’ve got access to our business.”
- Cloud-based 24/7 access to the business from any location
- Searchability within the accounts
- Size of customer database can be endless
- Real-time stock inventory control
Since implementing Brightpearl, Bat and Bottle have found it easier to manage logistics and fulfillment. “Brightpearl really helps with logistics, from tracking an order from when the customer places the order right through to allocation packing and down to tracking numbers. We can track every single parcel with the information stored in Brightpearl.”
If Bat and Bottle have ever needed help from Brightpearl Support, the majority of the time they’ve found that the support team quickly come back with a solution and if not, they’ve found Brightpearl’s product team get to work developing it. Emma explains, “When things have been sent off for development, almost everything has been addressed in the next couple of releases.”
The transition from Sage Line 50 to Brightpearl was a breeze for Bat and Bottle, “It was painless to move over to Brightpearl. It was easy to set up and move our accounts over from Sage Line 50. I’ve found Brightpearl very intuitive.”
Bat and Bottle began running their business with Brightpearl in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.
As Bat and Bottle look to the future, Emma admits that it’s a critical turning point for the business as their family has grown up and they have more time to invest into the business. They now how the ability to travel to meet more customers and suppliers face-to-face, encourage more people to join the wine club, and invest more time in SEO for their website.
Emma shares what she really loves about running the business alongside her husband, “Ben loves wine and I’m a really happy follower. We absolutely love working together so that’s been a delight. It’s also been fantastic to build our family business and become part of one entity. Everything has existed within our family life until now. Brightpearl is our other child and it’s also grown up now!”
Bat and Bottle have their eyes set on the future success of the business and Emma believes, “Nothing in Brightpearl is holding us back”.
Emma offers some advice for other independent retailers, especially those just starting out, “Make sure you understand your profit margins and the quantities you need to sell to make the living you want to live. Then be very realistic to whether or not you can achieve those sales. You have to not just be a jack of all trades but a master of many.”
With the secret to the long-running success of the business being their love and passion for the product, Bat and Bottle have all the key ingredients to continue soaring well into the future with Brightpearl at their side fuelling their growth.