Bricolux is located in Luxembourg. What is its activity?
A.C: We are educational material wholesalers. Since 1973, we supply primary and nursery schools, mainly in the French-speaking part of the country.
Our range runs from school furniture right down to the smallest pieces of stationary, constituting a catalogue of about 65,000 articles. The large majority of the products are imported. My father created Bricolux in 1972 as a Luxembourg DIY centre, taking advantage of the arrival of subsidies for activities on Wednesday afternoon.
You were already using Mercator, why did you decide to add on E-commerce?
A.C: We were already using accounting and business management. Every year, we handle around 20,000 orders with 40 or 50 lines in each, which makes it close to a million lines. I should make clear that 90% of our turnover is in the return to school period, so about three months. The manual entry of orders received by mail, fax or mail is a huge work with not insignificant risk of error, and data entry timing is delayed by several days. E-commerce allows substantial reduction of this data entry work.
It is the clients who make the entries.
A.C: E-commerce has been well received by the clientele. In the first year, the start-up was very promising. This year, it is truly explosive to the point that, at times, our server reaches its saturation level. We will have to upgrade it next year.
Is it easy to start-up an E-commerce system?
A.C: When we started the e-commerce system, we kept a paper catalogue, and photos and descriptions in our business management system for about eighteen months. We had to transfer the static part of our website to a dedicated server, install e-commerce and merge the data from the paper catalogue with those in Gescom. This did not go without a hitch but Serge Faite (Note: the dealer, Service Line) was able to solve the various problems. The orders are registered on the server and then downloaded each hour to our Gescom.
Has E-commerce increased you turnover?
A.C: Our clientele consists mainly of schools; these are public contractors and they are (very) constrained by their budgets. However, at the same time, we have more and more individuals coming to place orders for their children. That influx of new customers makes up 25% of our sales. We also export a little to France, Luxembourg, Romania and Senegal.
Do you consider E-commerce a profitable investment?
A.C: Absolutely, in our case it is a success. Mercator E-commerce answers our company's needs. We are a small company and do not have huge budgets to spend. Despite that, Mercator has allowed us the benefit of a professional and efficient solution.