Changing Horses: How VTEX improved Equinavia’s merchandising
Whether it’s the horse-rider relationship or the brand-technology partnership, collaboration means everything. As a 40-year old equestrian retailer, Equinavia understands this as both success for them and their customers – and therefore, sought out a digital commerce platform to allow them to deliver better collaborative customer experiences and merchandising.
The Connecticut-based ecommerce merchant outfits horses, riders and distributors in the U.S. with apparel, tack, horse equipment and supplies. Though Equinavia was having initial success selling online, they were faced with profitability challenges driven by the high costs of managing their legacy ecommerce platform.
To support its growth plans, and to operate more efficiently, Equinavia revamped and streamlined its entire tech stack in 2019. As part of those changes, the site switched from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to VTEX. Since launching their VTEX platform in November 2019, Equinavia has seen multiple benefits from the switch, including:
- Simpler storefront creation and management
- Improved staging and merchandising
- Better order visibility
- Better transactional email capabilities
- Cost savings
According to Equinavia’s software and technology development project leader, Henrik Monfort, “The high revenue share costs with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, combined with the costs for numerous third-party apps, were cutting into our margins in a big way. For our business to be viable, we knew we had to make a change.”
Equinavia evaluated several options before selecting VTEX for their collaborative commerce approach. But it was VTEX’s culture that put them across the finish line. “They are extremely passionate about their product. And the [founders] are still with the company, which makes a big difference. Their customer service is excellent. It’s superb.”
The switch to VTEX has resulted in easier ecommerce management, better customer satisfaction around shipping, more reliable on-site merchandising, and cost savings. All of those benefits give Equinavia more rein to pursue its growth goals.
“We were attracted to VTEX initially because it needed very little customization – it was ready-to-go right out of the box,” says Monfort. “And, once we started using VTEX, we noticed right away how much easier everything was, from ecommerce and an integrated order management system, to much better customer satisfaction around shipping.”
With VTEX’s built in order management, Equinavia set up virtual warehouses, docks and shipping, for more control over carriers’ shipping fees, what they charge customers, and to reduce losses. This level of configurability enabled them to outperform competitors on shipping options, time, and cost, which is very important in their market because many equestrian products are often heavy or large.
Customers often have a preferred shipping method, but those larger items often require a different method, ship from separate docks, and incur higher handling and shipping costs. According to Monfort, “With VTEX, shipping costs are now more visible, so customers can make informed decisions on which items to include or remove from their orders. And this visibility enables us to give customers a better experience with fair pricing based on the actual shipping cost.”
Since Equinavia switched to VTEX Commerce Cloud, their site has performed better in several areas, according to Monfort. “One of our biggest issues with Salesforce was unreliable staging for site updates related to merchandising and promotions. My team would set up a staging site, test the changes and get my approval, however, the updates often broke when they went live.
VTEX enables us to test site changes and implement them with confidence. It’s now easier to make quick changes, so our merchandising is more precise and effective.”
VTEX also provides Equinavia total order visibility, says Monfort. “VTEX’s order management visual flowchart is superior to what we had with Salesforce. Now we have the whole flow from when the customer places an order until it ships, and it’s synced to the ERP.”
Not only did Equinavia disrupt the market with its unique products, but its bold digital transformation strategy was new – especially to distributors and tack stores. And, the customer is the true winner because Equinavia is able to shorten the supply chain from manufacturers to their preferred sales channel.
While the equine business has stagnated since the tractor replaced the need for horsepower, Equinavia and its brands have grown. Equinavia sees the equine market as underserved and believes in helping the market thrive for everyone — from beginners to professionals — to enjoy riding as a way to connect with the horse, nature and with one’s self.
For the full press release announcing Equinavia’s move to VTEX, click here>>.