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Founded in 1977, Rajani Superstore began as a wholesaler but has expanded into retailing in the 1990s and then ecommerce in 2008. The company specializes in home and garden items including furniture, toys and electrical goods. Since launching its ecommerce operations over a decade ago, online sales have continued to grow and now represent almost 20% of annual turnover. Rajani’s also sells via marketplaces including Amazon and eBay.
The problem: keeping up with inventory for various platforms and listings
Mr. Rajendra Rajani, along with his wife Gita-Devi, have run the Rajani Superstore since 1977, building the company from scratch into a thriving business with annual sales of £4.65 million. Their son Rakesh has been at the forefront of Rajani’s ecommerce business since its launch in 2008.
As the online business grew the company began selling on marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Fruugo and Onbuy as well as Rajanis.co.uk meaning the company had to keep up with inventory for various platforms and listings. Rakesh says, “Once I realized Rajani’s need to open up on several marketplaces, I saw that there was going to be an issue with having the right quantity being displayed to different customers on different platforms.”
The solution: Streamlining stock and organizing customer service
Trying to update the stock levels on each marketplace manually was far too time consuming and prone to human error. It would require a worker in the warehouse to make a note and then pass the information to whoever updated the system that day.
Rakesh explains, “I realized that we were going to have a problem at some point, and that’s when I started looking for a platform that could help us because I knew it wouldn’t only be us that had this issue of incorrect quantities being displayed across all platforms. I knew there would be other ecommerce sellers like ourselves in that same position. That’s when I went online and found Linnworks.”
Rakesh continues: “Once we found Linnworks and we got everything connected, they saved us a lot of headaches in terms of having the correct quantities displayed to all of our customers. And that meant I could then reduce my stock levels, and didn’t have to compensate for any over-selling, which helps for cash flow purposes.”
When the pandemic hit, Rajani’s online sales spiked. The company went from receiving 500 orders per day to 800 orders per day and at one point during the height of this sales peak, the Rajani’s team was answering 180 customer messages per day. With just a bit of research, Rakesh discovered Replyco and he says it was the relationship with Linnworks (Replyco’s CEO Artem Verovenko was a founding member of Linnworks) that convinced him that this was the right Help Desk solution.
Rakesh says: “Time is of the essence, because you have to keep on top of the existing operation as it’s running and ensure that you’re still buying products that shoppers want. But they worked very quickly to get our Rajani’s email integrated into Replyco, as well as putting our POP mail server IDs in place so that everything would work properly.”
Rakesh says he immediately began saving time on customer messaging. This was thanks to a range of factors. Replyco enables sellers to centralize the customer messaging from all of their selling channels and platforms into one inbox without having to open up Amazon or eBay. Templates speed up the process too. Rajani’s employ a few individuals for whom English is not a first language, which has previously resulted in spelling and grammatical mistakes in customer messaging. Rakesh can create a message template for any given situation, proof it and then save it to be used over and over by the whole team for relevant customer inquiries. These improvements save Rakesh an estimated 8 hours or more each month on customer messaging.
What’s next: Further ecommerce growth
For more than four decades, Rajani’s has adapted to changing market conditions. From its initial wholesale operations in the 70s and 80s, it captured the potential of retail in the 90s and ecommerce in the early 2000s. It’s now well positioned to take maximum advantage of the marketplaces opportunity.
With strategies in place for staying on top of product stock, reducing spelling and grammatical errors in customer communications and much more, Rajani’s partnership with both Linnworks and Replyco has created a software team to streamline multiple aspects of running an ecommerce business. This gives staff the time to focus on what is important – growing the business. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a massive jump in online sales and Rajani’s is maintaining that momentum with a laser-focus on taking care of customer needs now and long into the future.
Rakesh says: “I don’t know what might happen in the next 6 months to a year, or whether something like this [pandemic] might happen again. But if it does, I’ve got the systems and processes in place which are working well and have been tried and tested, that can help us get through that or any other situation.”