RV Parts Store Enjoy Six Years on the Road to Ecommerce Success with 3dcart
American RV Company brings 50+ years of combined RV experience to the recreational vehicle parts market. The online store features more than 12,500 RV related parts, including antennas, hitches, kitchenware, lighting and more. It started as a manufacturer in 2005 before transitioning into a full-time parts provider.
An RV Start-Up Salvages Its Pieces
Way back in 2005, American RV Company’s founder had worked for another major manufacturer, a business that had made more $270 million annually at its peak. He struck out on his own to establish American RV as an up-and-coming RV manufacturer.
In 2007, the RV industry crashed. The company’s leadership decided their current business model wouldn’t work. They rushed to sell off the parts they’d acquired for building.
Enter eBay, the popular auction website. American RV Company listed its parts—water heaters, electronics, batteries—and sold out in a matter of days.
Time for a Tune-Up
By 2011, American RV Company had grown to accommodate a catalogue of more than 12,000 products. They had come a long way from 2007. With growth came complications. QuickBooks just wasn’t cutting it for us anymore,” explains John Nelson, general manager of American RV Company.
So they decided to do it again. They bought more RV parts wholesale and turned them around through eBay. They had a viable concept. The business started to grow. It grew so large over the course of the year, in fact, that they knew it was time to create their own online store. An evaluation of ecommerce software platforms revealed 3dcart as the front-runner.
American RV Company opened its online store with 3dcart. The growth didn’t stop. But one day down the road, the organization would reach a point where it would need to take a step back and reevaluate its choice of shopping cart.
• Would 3dcart make the cut?
“We needed something more robust, so we decided to implement an ERP system. Forecasting, inventory planning, automation, coordination—these were features we needed to help us upgrade our business.”
American RV decided on SAP Business One, a popular ERP suite. Now, with 3dcart running the online store, they had to answer important questions like:
• Can we integrate SAP with 3dcart?
• Will an SAP integration with 3dcart be the best option? Or is there a better ecommerce platform out there for working the new ERP into the system?
• Is 3dcart still the best option for selling online or has it fallen behind?
“We pitted options like Magento against 3dcart,” John says. “In the end, 3dcart’s advanced API won the day. It gave us the flexibility we needed to build a completely integrated technology backbone for the company.” According to John, the other options on the market were more expensive and still couldn’t top 3dcart’s functionality. The software suite would remain the core of the organization’s ecommerce activity. John describes the integration: “It was like we were taking a very expensive ERP software and plugging it into our shopping cart—rather than the other way around, which is what you would expect.”
American RV Company successfully launched its new custom-built integration a few months ago.
A Smooth Ride for Online Business
Before and after the Business One integration, John believes 3dcart has proven itself to be a powerful system for the company’s business. “One of the factors that really sets 3dcart apart is its third-party integrations,” John explains. “The company is willing to play nice with other solutions. 3dcart’s leadership knows that some businesses need functionality beyond the scope of an ecommerce solution.”
It’s that openness that gives American RV custom functionality in specialized areas. The company’s third-party integrations include:
Product information from the American RV store funnels through GoDataFeed to comparison shopping engines run by Google and Amazon.
John and his teams can monitor customer activity in real-time with the ability to open a quick chat window or crunch numbers on the fly.
Amazon & Google Checkout
By offering more ways to pay, American RV simplifies payment processing for customers, giving them trusted portals to establish immediate trust.
The organization also enjoys features native to 3dcart’s platform. Some of the most important parts include:
Everything from customer tracking to support ticket communication feeds through 3dcart’s CRM system. It helps the business track its relationships with customers, ensuring return business through great customer service and continued marketing.
American RV Company stays out ahead of its customers with newsletter emails using 3dcart’s built-in newsletter builder. Through these emails, customers receive coupons created through the software. They also use the blogging feature to share news and discounts.
John and his teams reach out to 3dcart customer support on an almost daily basis. According to John, they always get prompt responses and resolve issues in a timely fashion.
The hard work and business sense of the American RV Company is the driving force behind the organization’s success. Since it teamed up with 3dcart, the organization has amplified that success.
“We still push products through eBay, who we’ve been with since the beginning. They process around 15 percent of our total sales, and we pay fees on all of it,” John says. “But we do eight times the sales with 3dcart than we ever could have done with eBay—and we keep all of that revenue. What we save on fees is huge.”