Finding a replacement for a costly, outdated custom order management solution.
Bronx Shoes has eliminated the costly maintenance fees for their custom software Fashion Force, replacing it with Handshake, off-the-shelf software that keeps pace with rapid advancements in technology while adding features and functionality over time.
Handshake has empowered the Bronx Shoes team to take full control of their own data for the first time in eight years.
Bronx Shoes sales reps now sell with iPads, and they can quickly and seamlessly swipe through their entire collection, zoom in on high resolution product images, and hand the iPad over to their customers for an interactive experience.
Bronx Shoes has been designing and manufacturing high-quality fashion footwear for over 125 years, under both their “Bronx” and “Blink” brands, as well as private label designs. The company’s products are especially well-received in European markets, where they’re sold into large, national retailers, as well as independent stores and boutiques.
After spending years working (and struggling) with a custom software tool to manage their high volume of sales orders, Bronx Shoes ultimately discovered the power and flexibility of Handshake, an off-the-shelf sales order management solution that includes seamless mobile order writing and submission, as well as a centralized web order management platform.
Eight years ago, when digital sales tools were still in their nascency, Bronx Shoes was already looking for a solution that would eliminate the inefficiencies of paper-based processes.
Their urgency was primarily driven by the exploding success of their business. Fax machines were overwhelmed with incoming orders, and customer service teams were concentrating almost entirely on manual data entry.
The company decided that they were growing too fast to continue using paper order forms, price sheets, and catalogs, and they set out to find a third party agency to build them a custom software solution.
A long, complex development process resulted in Bronx Shoes’ new software tool, a Windows application called Fashion Force that, according to Director of Customer Service and IT Franklin van Tuijl, “looked like it was made in the 70s.”
Fashion Force was designed to meet the company’s most urgent requirements. Like Handshake, it eliminated the need for paper forms. However, Fashion Force presented a number of problems––it wasn’t mobile, updates were slow, Bronx Shoes had little control over their own data, and ongoing maintenance drained resources.
Today, Software as a Service (SaaS), or software that is owned, delivered, and managed remotely by a vendor, is transforming the way people do business. These off-the-shelf, agile solutions are highly scalable and customizable, adapting readily to existing workflows.
Bronx Shoes saw the value in this approach, choosing Handshake to replace Fashion Force. A mobile application and web order management solution designed to help wholesale businesses eliminate paper order writing, ship orders faster, and reduce order processing costs, Handshake offered many of the advantages that Fashion Force failed to deliver, including a modern, mobile experience, greater internal control over data, and constant improvements and updates without additional cost.
At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive that an off-the-shelf solution would better meet the needs of a wholesale business than software that was custom-built. Ultimately, however, a third party developer will not have the same focused expertise as a dedicated vendor who understands their customer’s core business and draws on the feedback of thousands of users to anticipate needs and iterate on their software faster.
Case in point, van Tuijl was pleasantly surprised at how Handshake adapted to their workflow. “With every issue that came up, [Handshake Director of Client Services] Aaron just said it wouldn’t be a problem. I’ve found that the way we organize our customer pricing groups has always been a big issue, but Handshake is the first software company I’ve seen that can work with our complex pricing,” he said.