Bramble foods choose PixSell over Blue Alligator

When Bramble Foods outgrew their previous sales rep app – SalesPresenter from Blue Alligator – their first consideration was PixSell from Aspin. Find out how Aspin is supporting Bramble Foods’ ambitious growth plans and providing them with a sales solutions fit for the future.

Bramble Foods is a flourishing, family-run manufacturer and distributor of fine foods; specialising in the independent retail and gift markets. In 2015, they were looking for a catalogue and order taking app to aid their field sales team.

After considering multiple options, they decided against PixSell sales rep app and went with an alternative supplier.

A couple of years later, Bramble started experiencing problems with its chosen sales rep app. Limited data meant sales reps were unable to view a customer’s entire order history. As a seasonal wholesaler, being able to view orders from last Christmas, or last Easter, was vital. However, as the Bramble business grew, 12 months’ worth of orders started to out-strip the amount of data the catalogue ordering app could accommodate. This resulted in the business developing temporary solutions in order to work around the issue of limited data.

Bramble Finance Director, Chris Neville, admits they muddled through the next two years with a sales app which had fast become a compromise. Because the team at Bramble was already familiar with Aspin and PixSell, when they decided to look around for an alternative solution, we were their first call.

Shortly after Bramble Food’s PixSell project went live, Chris kindly took the time to talk to us about the experience. You can read about Bramble Foods’ PixSell experience below, or download the full PDF here.

The Problem

Bramble Foods implemented their previous sales rep app around 5 years ago. Only 3 years later the app started to cause issues. Although Chris freely admitted “no tech will give you everything you want”, the specific problem with this app was the fact it wasn’t giving a full 12 months’ worth of sales order history.

“The main issue was the lack of sales history – we were restricted on data size. We couldn’t get a full 12-month order history. The app could only display a certain amount at a time.”

The Bramble Foods team learnt to manipulate the data to give them what they wanted. As very much a seasonal seller, sales reps needed to see customers’ orders from last Christmas, or last Easter. To get this, Bramble would have to delete certain chunks of sales history.  

“We came to a work-around whereby we’d show the last three months of data, then nothing; then another 3 months to cover Christmas.”

Unable to see all the data they wanted, the Bramble team had to pick and choose which chunks of sales history were important, and which were less important. 

They took the view that for standard orders, where the customers were being visited every month, it was more important the reps had access to orders from 1/2/3 months ago, rather than older orders. “It was a compromise” said Chris.

Although the sales rep app Bramble were originally using for their reps did the intended job for a while, it quickly became clear it couldn’t hold up to how quickly they were growing. 

“Our initial solution wasn’t a problem for the first 3-4 years. But then we gradually outgrew the software package due to the size of our data. That was when we started looking for something else.”

The Solution

When it became obvious more data was essential, Chris’ thoughts immediately turned to PixSell.

“I knew PixSell from old. When we were implementing our previous sales rep app, I had spoken to Nathan [Aspin]. We didn’t go with PixSell at that time because one of our competitors was using it. Rightly or wrongly, we felt that was a negative. That was probably the wrong decision; I don’t think that was a good enough reason not to have chosen PixSell.”

Although originally looking to solve a specific problem, it soon became apparent PixSell would provide other benefits.

“When you start looking elsewhere, you realise there’s additional benefits. Then your mind really is set because you can see there are better features available. PixSell is sophisticated.

Every Aspin project undergoes intensive scoping before work is signed off. This involves multiple fact-finding interviews and ends with a documented set of agreed specifications, costs and expectations.  

As Finance Director, Chris welcomed the thoroughness of the Aspin scoping. “It was intensive, but necessary. If you are like me – in finance, or in IT – and you are trying to implement a project, you need that detail. The sales team aren’t going to be interested, they’ll say ‘why do we have to do all this?’ But they don’t know the 90% that goes on in the background to make it all work.”

The Results

Once the team at Bramble Foods had decided on PixSell, it had to deliver. Although there were problems PixSell needed to fix – i.e., limited data capacity – Bramble didn’t want to depart too far from how they were already managing their field sales.

Fundamentally the two apps are the same. You take an order on an iPad, you press a button, it talks to your accounting system and it shows your catalogue. PixSell did all that, but then on top it could give us the sales history we needed, and proper pricing.

Previously, Bramble’s sales reps had been working on list price only, rather than customer specific pricing. This meant additional manual admin at Head Office, and confusion for customers. Orders would have to be manually re-keyed with the correct customer pricing. This could also cause issues around free carriage. A customer could place an order with a rep and believe they were entitled to free carriage. Only to find they had not reached the required threshold once the correct pricing had been applied.

These issues have now been resolved with PixSell’s ability to accommodate customer-specific pricing, discounts and carriage rules.

The Bramble Foods PixSell project is live now and things are progressing well.  

“It’s given us what we need. The team have full visibility of previous sales orders, so they’re not guessing. That’s a massive advantage. They’re not seeing big gaps in what people have ordered in the past. We’ve got correct pricing, so the customer can see what they’re paying, what the min order value is, so the sales team can make sure the customer is ordering enough.

We asked Chris what he would say to others considering moving over to Aspin.

The whole Aspin team is very good. Chris Burston was very helpful all the way through, as was Magda. It’s not easy; it can be quite stressful trying to implement all that and do the training, so they’ve done very well. If you meet Nathan, you can tell the people he probably likes to employ are of a certain type. Friendly, helpful, and caring about what they do. You can see that throughout the business. That’s part of the Aspin success; the people they employ.

The full PDF version of this case study can be downloaded here.

If you would like to know how PixSell could help your distribution business, drop us a line using [email protected], or call us on 01794 500 200.

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