Convenience is a retail winner, particularly when it comes to back-to-school shopping — an event that traditionally involves bouncing between several different stores or sites to grab every particular item a child needs for the year. But Germany-based CALCUSO is taking convenience to the next level throughout the season, helping parents beat the stress by letting parents purchase their entire list with a single QR code scan.
The retailer has partnered with more than 10,000 schools across Europe to develop individualized, pre-made lists of materials that are mailed to parents, according to joint commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints by Kilian Kallee, CEO and Co-Founder of CALCUSO and Johannes Panzer, Head of Industry Solutions for E-Commerce at Descartes Systems Group. The list also includes a code that directs them to an e-Commerce cart already filled with all the supplies they need.
“Parents whose children attend a CALCUSO-affiliated school can buy their supplies with just one click, as the shopping basket for the affiliated school is already prefilled with the relevant products from the checkered A4 block to the right ruler, calculator, pens and more,” said Kallee and Panzer. “Without a long physical search of often multiple stores, parents can quickly and easily be assured that kids go back-to-school perfectly equipped.”
Handling the logistics of every necessary item can get complicated, particularly when personalized options such as calculators enter the equation. Additionally, CALCUSO ships related orders directly to their respective schools to minimize the carbon footprint from the delivery, but also ensures that individual orders reach the correct student within 24 hours of the order being placed.
The retailer’s order volumes can grow 6X during the peak back-to-school season, which led the company to harness the pixi Warehouse Management System from Descartes. The capabilities have helped CALCUSO achieve 600% growth since their deployment and leverage automation to improve efficiency at its warehouses.
“Leveraging technology was a decision that came very early on for our business,” said Kallee. “We had such high order volumes that we were consumed by producing shipping labels and we had very little time to focus on our actual business.”
The tool has allowed CALCUSO to automate warehouse management practices including order receipt and picking, shipment processing and returns management, while minimizing human error. The tool also connects with e-Commerce, CRM and carrier platforms to give the retailer more control over its supply chain and outreach.
This level of automation is vital during the peak season, when the enormous spike in demand creates more orders than CALCUSO could otherwise handle at full capacity. Automating part of the process lets the retailer keep up with demand without sacrificing the convenient experience that sets it apart from traditional back-to-school shopping.
“The Descartes solution easily handles peak volume demands and helps us meet our tight 24-hour fulfillment windows while maintaining 99% positive customer feedback,” said Kallee. “When we need to hire seasonal workers to the warehouse, it generally takes us only one week to train new employees on the software. For specialized tasks, it’s even faster because the solution is so easy to use; we can onboard new employees in as little as one to two hours.”