How Rural King Revolutionized Their Digital Business
An omnichannel operation in America’s heartland.
Since 1960, the farm supply store Rural King has served the needs of rural communities across the Midwest of America. The company planted its roots in Mattoon, Illinois, and has grown to over 110 stores in 13 states. Much of the company’s growth has occurred in the last six years, as the company more than doubled its brick-and-mortar store locations. As many large retailers started to abandon small rural towns, Rural King doubled down – they believe it has a unique opportunity to serve rural customers by stepping into existing retail locations, and making them their own.
For rural families who often live far away from even the smallest of towns, a visit to Rural King is a much anticipated event. Once a month, families will jump in their truck and head into the nearest town to pick up fertilizer, pet supplies, or a snow plough. Rural King even sells live baby chicks and rabbits. Customers often use the Rural King web store to research and purchase speciality products, ranging from a replacement part for a tractor or a specific type of grass seed, then they schedule to pick it up in their nearest store, the next time they’re in town.
In 2017, the team at Rural King decided it was time to transform the back end of the business. They wanted to better support their omnichannel shopping experience. From a business perspective, manual processes were their enemy: to ship an order to a customer required printing out an order form, grabbing the product from the shelf, packing it, and shipping it to the customer. With Rural King’s massive catalog, servicing millions of customers in-store and online became an impossible task. They needed to automate their critical business processes, and see a 360-degree view of their digital operations. This, they knew, would allow them to deliver more products, and a higher ROI.
Their vision was to completely redefine their web presence including upgrading their omnichannel experience, improving mobile usability, and updating their user interface and design. Working with Magento Enterprise Solution Partner, Creatuity, Rural King decided to migrate to Magento Commerce Cloud, and implement two powerful tools: Magento Order Management, and Magento Business Intelligence.
“Magento Commerce 2 and Magento Order Management are helping to modernize and transform Rural King’s eCommerce ecosystem.”
Director of Development, Rural King Supply
A revolutionized digital operation.
The goal was clear: automate key business processes and improve the customer experience. The project identified key technology partners to help improve order tracking, inventory management, fulfillment, tracking and reporting. Strategic integrations with third-party extensions provided a seamless, highly-automated experience for customers.
The new user interface helps customers browse the extensive product catalog by highlighting individual brands, mirroring the in-store customer experience of exploring the Carhartt clothing section or visiting the Milwaukee Tools aisle. New, dynamic search capabilities make it easier for customers to find specific products, while updating the ‘add to cart’ and checkout processes simplified the path to purchase.
On the back-end, when a vendor introduces a new product, that product can be sent to Rural King via EDI thanks to LogicBroker. By providing inventory data in LogicBroker and product data in Akeneo, an approved vendor can add a new product to the Rural King website with ease. And when an order is placed for that item, Magento Order Management checks the vendor's inventory against the inventory of Rural King stores near the customer's location. That order is then automatically routed to the proper shipping software, or if the customer prefers, made available for pick-up in-store.
In support of Rural King’s “Every Day Low Price” promise, the new automated processes enable “free ship to store” which has been a big hit with users. Like most people, Rural King’s customers enjoy saving money on shipping costs, especially on larger purchases like farm fencing, gates, tools, or perhaps a barn-full of animal feed. In fact, Rural King saw a 34 percent increase in year-over-year online revenue from these new omnichannel fulfillment capabilities. Now, Rural King is using its existing fleet of fulfillment trucks to deliver the right product to the right store at the right time, saving time and money. The new processes enable more vendors to provide more products to customers in rural parts of the country, by aggregating all inventory from dropshippers and managing it via Magento.
Making customers’ lives easier
When the new Rural King webstore launched, their customer experience improved significantly. Major changes like Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS) increased store traffic in 95 percent of Rural King stores. Customers love the new mobile-friendly experience, and the little touches that make their life easier: now, when a customer is browsing heavy-duty overalls, the website tells them, without prompting, how many pairs their local store has in stock.
Previously, there were few metrics available, as the company could not connect all of their various systems to one reporting tool. But Creatuity developed a custom middleware that seamlessly connects Magento Commerce, Magento Order Management, and Magento Business Intelligence. Now, Rural King can easily gather data and generate reports they never could before.
In the heartland of America, Rural King has made it their mission to serve the communities being abandoned by larger retailers. With Magento Commerce and Creatuity, Rural King has created a phenomenal digital operation that delights their customers, while boosting their growth.
“Magento Commerce helps our core customers find what they are looking for, check out quickly, and receive their orders in the fastest and most efficient way possible – often by picking up at our stores.”
Director of Development, Rural King Supply