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The Simple Way This Retail Brand with Nearly 500 Locations and a Thriving Online Store Stays on Track and Budget Here's how Francesca's managed to consolidate supply vendors, improve spend visibility, and help resolve the supply chain and supplier relationship challenges.
With the prices of goods and services skyrocketing over the last several months, brands across the spectrum have been feeling the pinch. No one knows this better than Francesca's, a Houston-based chain of retail clothing, accessories, and jewelry boutiques. Francesca's has plenty of moving parts with more than 470 brick-and-mortar stores, an outlet channel, and a thriving e-commerce business. It can be easy for a company—large or even small—to become overwhelmed by fluctuating shipping and economic realities.
Francesca's always aspired to consolidate product offerings from many different vendors to a single platform. This makes it easier for its boutiques to have a focused list of critical supplies needed to operate the business.
"Where we've struggled is with execution," explains Steve Harwell, Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations, Supply Chain, and Logistics at Francesca's. "Our previous supply distributor was bureaucratic, charged high storage, pick and pack fees, and we had to purchase bulk supplies upfront." A lean corporate staff and a lack of tools and reporting from the distributor sometimes led to supply out-of-stock issues, which adversely impacted their boutiques. "On top of that, customer service for our boutique team members was poor, and we spent a significant amount of time pulling manual reporting to understand out-of-stock risks," Harwell adds.
During the height of Covid, the supply chain broke down and Francesca's supply distributor could not keep up. There was no transparency about outages and delays. That's where Amazon Business comes in. Francesca's began working with them to help find much-needed solutions to critical business operations.
A solution that takes the stress out of ordering.
Since partnering with Amazon Business, Francesca's has experienced quick and transparent procurement, improved purchase oversight, and cost savings. The familiar Amazon interface streamlines the rollout and adoption for employees, so the company can benefit from the platform quickly.
"We've seen supply expenses decrease since switching to Amazon Business. We believe this to be a combination of no storage, pick and pack fees, and no shipping costs to all our locations with our Business Prime subscription," Harwell explains. "Also, we now can take advantage of Amazon's well-known customer service, delivery visibility, and large selection of vendors, minimizing out of stocks."
While Amazon Business helps simplify procurement for the end user and administrator, it also helped Francesca's reduce overspend with expanded selection for the correct sizing of supplies and budget visibility to help teams understand performance to budget. "Now, we don't have to guess store needs and make bulk purchases upfront," Harwell says. "We have the ability to read real-time usage and trends to help us understand what is working and not working in the boutique supply list."
Pushing forward while striving for diversity and sustainability.
Amazon Business supports Francesca's mission of more transparent and sustainable business practices, including sourcing sustainable products from more diverse and inclusive business suppliers.
Through Amazon Smile, Amazon Business donates .5 percent of all supply purchases to the nonprofit of its choice. Montrose Grace Place in Houston is a local organization and drop-in program that welcomes and supports youth of all sexualities and gender identities experiencing homelessness. "Diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental values at Francesca's, and we are proud to support Montrose Grace Place through our Amazon Smile program," Harwell says.
Francesca's is a story of resiliency. Starting from the corporate struggles they've experienced during Covid to the ability to capitalize on new opportunities, Francesca's recognized a need to ensure their corporate office and stores had consistent access to critical business supplies. Amazon Business provided the cost savings and efficiencies they were looking for and continues to be the primary procurement solution they can trust.
Click here to learn more about how Amazon Business can help your business simplify and improve your purchasing processes.