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The team at Brownells was originally known for being good at building custom weapons, but these days they specialize in providing high quality gun components and tools. Yes, they’re really the #1 aftermarket supplier of firearms related accessories. As of now, they have over 120,000 wholesale and retail customers. Brownells sources over 80% of guns used in competitive shooting events.
In addition to regulatory compliance, Brownells faces rising customer expectations. “People’s perceptions of e-commerce are, ‘I put an order in, and I should get a package at my door the next day,’” says Curt Graff, Director of Technology at Brownells. “In a regulated industry, that can’t happen as often. And because our e-commerce site didn’t talk to our legacy business system from a rules perspective, customers would send orders to us electronically and we’d have to tell them we couldn’t ship it because of regulations. We needed to be more flexible and adaptable.”
Brownells now provides near real-time feedback to customers. In fact, regulated item throughput has increased by nearly 300 percent, while customer wait times have decreased by 200 percent. “Customers get a better experience on the website. They know what they can buy,” says Graff, who explains that future plans include extending the IBM solution to filter merchandise based on customer location, so they don’t see items they can’t buy. Brownells began as David Moses' London Mart, a drapery and general store, built in 1836 when Liverpool Street was a dirt road which became a quagmire in winter. The shop became Brownell Brothers in 1888, and a public company in 1902. It offered a successful mail-order service from inception, and in 1912, it introduced a unique and free service for remote female customers: Brownell's Famous Lady Shopper, known as Aunt Edna. Naturally most of the shopping was done in-house, but Aunt Edna also undertook other commissions and purchased outside goods, which she dispatched with one of her much-prized 'homely, womanly, and sympathetic' letters. (Source: www.utas.edu.au)