Case Study on how Automation Werks expanded its business with Zoho Commerce

By simply sliding a button, we linked over 35,000 items on our store with Google Shopping! As a result of that, over the past year, we have sold in excess of $250,000 from just one enhancement. 

- Jeff Rietschel,
Founder, Automation Werks  

The company

Automation Werks is a family-run business specializing in T-Slot aluminum profiles and pneumatic and vacuum technologies customized for specific customer applications. It is in the business of distribution and integration of automation components for industries. They are a leading distributor of industrial aluminum, T-Slot framing, pneumatic components, and vacuums. Automation Werks is based out of McHenry, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. The company started in 2020 and they now have 14 members. It is in the business-to-business space. "Anybody who is automating is our potential customer," said Jeff Rietschel, its founder.

The problem

Automation Werks began sourcing aluminum T-Slot profiles direct from manufacturers as well as some pneumatic and vacuum technologies their customers didn't have solutions for. Rietschel and his team were aware that customer requirements in the industrial space were quite dynamic and they needed constant access to pricing and product details. As work picked up, challenges also began to surface.

"The biggest thing I have learned as an entrepreneur is I can't do it all," Rietschel said. "I need help from software to take care of customers, which, for an entrepreneur, is very challenging because you tend to control everything."

That is when Rietschel began toying with the idea of an online presence. "An online presence, we felt, would help our customers see our pricing and inventory levels, so they could decide what they need. We even moved into a larger facility that allows us to stock more inventory and do more value-added assemblies for our customers," Rietschel said.

However, the implementation of an online store was beset with challenges. The first challenge was getting all the product information online and getting all of that into their ERP system. The second issue was that it was the peak of the pandemic and almost impossible to reach out to customers.

The solution

Automation Werks decided to take a big leap with an online store and chose Zoho Commerce for this purpose. "With Zoho Commerce, we were able to meet customers online, show them the products, and give them 24/7 access to the products and solutions we provide," Rietschel says.


The benefits

Some of the new features and integrations of Zoho Commerce have been lapped up by Automation Werks, leading to positive outcomes for the business. One day, they found an option to integrate all their inventory with Google Shopping. "We slid the button, which was the easiest thing to do, and 35,000 items from our store are now linked to Google Shopping," shared Rietschel. As a result, in 2021-22, Automation Werks sold in excess of $250,000 from just an enhancement.


 "The best thing about Zoho Commerce is that it is easy for anyone to use. If we need to add something, which we do almost on a daily basis, it takes us a few minutes to add a part, number, pricing information, description, features, and image. The other nice benefit, which is really saving us a lot of time, is we don't have to go to Google and other marketplaces because Zoho Commerce syncs with them. So we put it in one place and it comes up in other places as well, like other applications. That saves us a lot of time." 

— Jeff Rietschel,
Founder, Automation Werks

Rietschel also pointed out that requests for any enhancement or additional feature in a Commerce store are given due consideration by the technical team after evaluating several factors. "I learnt that since Zoho has many applications, a single change in Commerce does not negatively affect other applications like Books and Inventory," he began. "I have learned to appreciate that it does take time to being about lasting changes. So we are really pleased with Zoho. It's been a great decision for us."


More about Automation Werks can be found here:

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