July 29, 2004, 12:00 AM

2-year-old cosmetics retailer Saffron Rouge cashes in on enterprise integration

Saffron Rouge has used a web-based CRM integration platform to drive steady sales growth over the past two years.

It sounds like a lofty goal, but retail enterprise integration across multiple channels-a strategy that consultants and analysts tout for building customer relationships and sales-isn’t just for the big guys. It works for tiny Saffron Rouge Inc., retailer of organic cosmetics and body-care products.

Saffron Rouge has used a web-based integration platform to drive steady sales growth over the past two years. “Having an integrated web-based infrastructure is a huge asset,” says CEO Jeff Binder, who co-founded Saffron Rouge with wife Kirstin. “It allows us to do things faster and easier and to have our finger on the pulse of what’s going on with our customers.”

The system has supported growth of 15% per month since the company started two years ago, he says.

Based in the Toronto suburb of Guelph, Ontario, the retailer does about 75% of its business through SaffronRouge.com, but also takes orders over the phone and operates one store, also in Guelph. Saffron Rouge operates all of its software applications-including its store POS system, CRM and back-end accounting systems-as part of the hosted NetCommerce suite from NetSuite Inc.

The integrated system supports analysis of customer activity in each channel and the development of e-mail marketing campaigns based on customers’ history across channels, Binder says. Saffron Rouge runs reports in NetCommerce, for example, to produce lists of customers who have purchased particular items within a certain time frame, then sends an e-mail designed around those customers’ interests.

When Saffron Rouge opened its store last year, it decided to use the same POS system that supports its web site and telephone orders, Binder says. Store POS clerks enter sales on a web page that connects with the same order management system that accepts orders placed on SaffronRouge.com. This lets the retailer maintain a central record of sales without building server-to-server integration, Binder says. The NetCommerce suite for small businesses starts at $99 per month for a single user, plus $49 per month for each additional user.

Because NetCommerce also integrates Saffron Rouge’s accounting system with its order management, the retailer saves time by avoiding additional data entry, Binder says. “The moment someone places an order, we have it on our back-end accounting system,” he says. l

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