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The UK's leading corporate gift delivery service
Offering high quality gifts for companies to reward customers and employees, Simply Thank You has successfully evolved from one man's dream into the UK's leading corporate gift delivery service. With ecommerce, CRM, warehousing, picking, despatch and financials wholly managed by the Sanderson multi-channel business solution, Priam, and the capability to produce highly functional, branded websites for customers thanks to its powerful Content Management System (CMS), this is the story of Simply Thank You's bourgeoning business and global expansion.
In a world where customer service can make or break a business, Simply Thank You provides customer acquisition, retention, reward and recovery services for organisations to show customers they are highly valued. It offers thousands of gifts choices - from chocolate, perfume and flowers, champagne and luxury hampers - all wrapped, packed and delivered with a personal touch.
"There are lots of options for companies," explains founder and Managing Director, Colin Eglington: "member schemes, recommend-a-friend schemes, incentive schemes, as well as 'acts of random kindness' or 'magic moments'. It's about showing clients you care, by sending a thoughtful gift to celebrate a big moment in their lives, to say sorry if there has been a failure in customer service, or even just to say hello on a Tuesday! It really sets a company apart from the competition."
Simply Thank You also offers staff reward and recognition services for companies to thank employees for their hard work or a special contribution to the business. "Employee turnover costs UK businesses up to £40bn per year in recruiting and training new staff; that's between £8,000 and £12,000 per head," says Eglington. "So the importance of keeping staff happy shouldn't be underestimated."
Established in 1993, Simply Thank You has come a long way since the early days when the business was run almost single-handed by Eglington, an ex-merchant navy captain-turned-entrepreneur. Today, Simply Thank You boasts some of the biggest financial institutions and blue chip corporations among its clients, including Lloyds Banking Group, RBS Group, Aviva, UK Mail, The Co-operative Group, HSBC and British Gas. And with an expanding global presence, the business is now dealing with hundreds of customers, thousands of orders and an almost infinite combination of products, packaging, branding and messages, as well as multi-currency and varying sales tax requirements.
"When I started the business, it was just me and one assistant, and we did everything manually," explains Eglington. "Now, as well as 32,000 square feet of warehouse space and 42 people at our head office in Darlington, we have offices in Amsterdam and Sydney, Australia."
"Priam offered the technology, functionality, and ultimately, the complete end-to-end process, at a price we could afford."
Colin Eglington, Managing Director
Complexity and growth on this scale needed a business solution to match, which came in the form of Priam, the multi-channel business solution from Sanderson. An article in a business magazine sparked a collaborative relationship that has lasted almost a decade: "We initially chose Priam specifically to meet our requirements in terms of fulfilling individual clients' wrapping, packing and delivery needs. It offered the technology, functionality, and ultimately, the complete end-to-end process, at a price we could afford."
Now, following continuous innovation and development of the Priam solution, Simply Thank You has total integration of finance, warehousing and CRM across all its international sites, through virtual private networks, and the system's configurable ecommerce platform has helped the company carve a niche in the gifts market.
A unique aspect of Simply Thank You's business model is the incredible personalisation of gifts it offers clients; every detail is carefully chosen to fit the client's brand, and there's no margin for error: "This is a complex warehousing process, and if we made a picking mistake and cross labelled a parcel sending the wrong brand to a customer, it would be a disaster," says Eglington.
"The warehouse has to understand from the picking slip: what the gift is; the name and address of the recipient; how it should be wrapped; the exact pantone colour of the paper and ribbon; where the logo is to be placed; and the font to be used on the message card," explains Eglington. "Priam's warehouse management solution is so comprehensive, it reduces the possibility of any error to an absolute minimum."
What's more, fully integrated financials ensures precise costings. An order for a single bottle of wine may have 20 different elements - the message label, the box, the packaging and so on. "Every individual element of the gift is accounted for through the bill of materials, so there are no approximations of our costs or prices to the client. It's very precise. And the cost price can be an average or last cost price, it depends on how you're managing costing and P&L account - the Priam solution has everything you would expect from a sophisticated accounting system."
Naturally, stock management is a big challenge for Simply Thank You and the Sanderson system provides the ultimate visibility and control. With imports from as far afield as China, and daily fresh flower deliveries from Holland, lead times vary hugely, and a just-intime strategy is imperative. "The system's stock control management is fantastic," says Eglington. "As soon as we send a delivery out, the live stock is updated accordingly. We do daily stock checks to keep abreast of any stock losses or breakages, and 99 times out of a hundred, we have exactly what the system says."
For a company that lives and breathes customer service, it wasn't enough for Simply Thank You just to offer clients thousands of gifts delivered promptly and professionally; it wanted to give customers something extra. That something was individually clientbranded websites, with ecommerce functionality, so customers could have their own personal portal for secure web ordering.
The Priam CMS system proved to be more than capable of meeting Eglington's expectations, allowing this white-labelling of the system to become integral to the Simply Thank You's business model. It has created over 400 customer websites to date.
"Being able to develop your own website is not a common capability for customers to have, but Priam allows us to offer that."
Indeed, an impressively quick turnaround time, combined with the seamless interface and capability of the ecommerce websites, provides a clear differentiator for Simply Thank You, and is helping it win significant new business. Simply Thank You can create multiple sites, personalised with the client's logo and colours. "Priam means personnel with relatively little training or technical knowledge can develop an ecommerce website with a high level of functionality," says Eglington. "In fact, just recently we had two high profile clients ask for an online solution for a customer-facing proposition. The Sanderson system allowed us to deliver both fullyfinished ecommerce websites, each with thousands of gifts to choose from."
As Priam is a true multi-company system, Simply Thank You is able to run its Dutch and Australian warehouses independently of the Darlington site. With multi-lingual and multi-currency capability, the system is just as seamless for clients abroad as it is for those in the UK, giving customers the functionality to create websites in their own language, with prices in the local currency and local sales tax calculated automatically.
With stock available for next day delivery direct from its own warehouses, the company also has an emerging B2C business, with plans to expand it in the near future. "Many other gifts providers don't have their own warehouse; they sell other people's stock and take a cut. Simply Thank You isn't like that. We have the warehouse and the products. We want a bigger slice of that market."
Simply Thank You now has complete control over the everyday running of its business, all integrated through the Sanderson system and additional functionality continues to be developed at a rapid pace, thanks to the collaborative relationship between the two companies. Simply Thank You has built a unique and robust business that is going from strength to strength. "We have some fantastic blue chip clients," says Eglington, "and we believe we can continue to grow the business in different areas, and diversify into different markets. Priam helps us to do that."
Global expansion continues as a result. Simply Thank You has recently begun fulfilling orders in India, delivered through an affiliate and dropshipped through the Priam system. And with the recent launch of a brand new B2B website, entirely built and managed in the Sanderson solution, Simply Thank You is forging on in its strategy to invest in and grow the company's corporate client base. The Priam multichannel business solution has truly supported its momentous growth and secured Simply Thank You a unique position within the gifts market.
"The supreme functionality of the Sanderson solution means we have an edge when it comes to winning new clients. Our business model and speed of delivery has been built on the fact that we can complete customer requests in an incredibly short timeframe. Put simply, we wouldn't be able to function without the Priam system," concludes Eglington.