How it began
Millenium opened in 1984 as a kitchen equipment vendor before pivoting in the late 1990’s to providing commercial furniture. In 2010, Millennium Seating chose AmeriComerce as it’s new e-commerce platform. As a smaller company in the commercial furniture space, AmeriCommerce “gave us staying power to weather economic storms,” James said. In addition, several of AmeriCommerce’s unique features as an e-commerce platform gives Millennium seating a competitive advantage. “Without AmeriCommerce, we would have gotten lost in the red ocean of competing e-commerce stores that have come and gone because they tried to do this alone.”
Millennium Seating recognized early on that they would need unique e-commerce features to maximize opportunities. Moving away from the vending consulting business, the company shifted to providing business-to-business commercial furniture through the internet only. AmeriCommerce’s focus on developing features specific to business-to-business has enabled Millennium Seating to see significant growth. AmeriCommerce’s flexibility and an extensive set of features allowed Millennium Seating the freedom to manage their web presence in a way that fits their business model.
Getting a helping hand
AmeriCommerce’s ability to create custom quotes and its ability to create a deep catalog with massive product variants were critical in Millennium Seating’s decision to go with the platform. “Our customers are atypical. There are times where it’s useful to send them a quote in efforts to win their business.” Within the platform, generating a quote is very similar to putting an order into the admin panel. The only difference being a quote generates a link that is sent to the customer, simplifying the process for the customer and keeps them wanting to come back. “Having an Amazon.com type of experience really doesn’t lend itself to what we do because there are too many variables,” he added. “We get a lot of visits and people do a lot of research (on the site)… AmeriCommerce’s catalog capabilities allow us to easily showcase our products,” James said. “We go deep, as opposed to broad, in our specialized niche.”
Choosing an ecommerce platform
Self-hosted vs SaaS
Millennium Seating has reaped tremendous financial benefits from moving to AmeriCommerce’s SaaS platform according to James. “SaaS allows us to focus resources on other parts of the business, Software is not our core competency. We were even able to eliminate costly IT services as a result of utilizing AmeriCommerce,” he said. “When you have a level of complexity and limited resources, it makes no sense for you to host it yourself. I don’t think it’s a smart business decision in today’s world.” James enjoys the fact that he can focus his energy on driving sales and servicing customers while AmeriCommerce keeps the weight of worrying about the technical aspects of hosting a website off his plate.
Pricing model and value
AmeriCommerce’s unique pricing structure based on bandwidth usage and storage was a “refreshing” find when James took over Millennium Seating’s web presence. “This is the way you ought to be paying for an ecommerce platform. How much revenue passes through your website is irrelevant,” he said. “If I was having to pay a percentage of sales, it would hinder our ability to scale and grow.” In evaluating the “value” of an ecommerce platform, James had a unique take on what defines that value: “People get stuck on how much this is going to cost them each month. Yeah that’s important but what’s more important is when you have a problem, how quickly are those problems solved? How quickly they are solved is a better indicator of a company’s value,” he added. In that regard, AmeriCommerce does a “phenomenal job.”
James guided the Millennium Seating through a website design update with AmeriCommerce and praised AmeriCommerce’s commitment to customer and technical support throughout that process “We set a date and went live with it and had very little issues with our complex catalogue and our transactions. It went very smoothly,” he said. “We used to outsource our web support to a third party, but we were able to bring that back in house and save money because your technical support team is just phenomenal.”
AmeriCommerce provides technical support through a support ticket portal and live support when handling critical issues or significant transitions for its customers. “The support team members are just amazing. Being able to pick up the phone and just talk to someone is amazing. My experience has been very positive. I am not a coder. I don’t write java. But as a non-technical person, you guys have been very good to work with.”
Ending the interview we asked James if he had one piece of advice for others out there starting an online store. “Do your due diligence. Have deep conversations with your suppliers. Make sure your platform delivers the functionality that you need like AmeriCommerce does for us. Take a holistic view of your company and look at it from an owner’s perspective and a customer’s perspective.”