Van Cafe is cruising smoothly with Acumatica and BigCommerce.
Back in 2006, twin brothers Mike and Greg Labate decided to open a vehicle repair shop and called it Mr. Mechanic. While they service all vehicles, they had a passion for VW Vanagons, and have since gained fame in the Fort Collins, Colorado area for being the go-to mechanics for their favorite ride.
Some twelve years later in 2018, they saw an opportunity to expand into the accessories market. Their new brainchild became Van Cafe, a new company focused on aftermarket parts and accessories for the beloved Vanagon. Soon, they had a warehouse down the road from Mr. Mechanic and eventually began fabricating their own products.
According to Van Cafe’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Ingrid Getzan, they’ve risen to success by creating some of the most popular ladders, bumpers, and swing-away carriers available today. Another signature product is their DIY Subaru Conversion Kit, helping enthusiasts part ways with the problematic VW engine and step up to reliable Subaru power. But they’ve not boxed themselves in with only a niche market; they’re now branching out into roof racks and ladders for Sprinter, Transit, and ProMaster vans.
The Labate brothers have always been looking ahead. Selling to van companies, upfitters, and enthusiasts, Van Cafe has been digitally native since its inception.
Refresh Van Cafe’s Dated eCommerce Site
Van Cafe originally built its eCommerce site on Volusion and ran day-to-day operations with QuickBooks. As the business grew, they began to run into limitations of the two offerings which prompted them to look for more capable solutions.
Their search eventually led them to PC Bennett Solutions for their expertise in the automotive aftermarket sector. Having extensive knowledge of the unique challenges that those in the auto industry face, PC Bennett was able to help them find software that would meet their needs and grow with them. They settled on Acumatica, a modern cloud ERP solution.
Acumatica Cloud ERP and BigCommerce
Acumatica now forms the core of their operations, from purchasing to accounting, manufacturing schedule management, and more – basically, their entire operation. Since Volusion didn’t offer integration with their choice of ERP, Van Cafe started looking elsewhere. After reviewing different eCommerce platforms, including Shopify and a few others, they found a home with BigCommerce.
PC Bennett guided our intrepid entrepreneurs through the transition to the two new platforms and the project went live in January of 2022. Since then, all activity from the Van Cafe website – including customer data, inventory, products, and third-party apps – is seamlessly synchronized with Acumatica, giving them a single source of truth for their entire organization.
Customer engagement is at an all-time high thanks to apps like Klaviyo for email marketing. “We are pretty sophisticated in our outreach to customers. We’re using Klaviyo to send out a lot of different flows and drip campaigns based on customer segmentation in the auto industry,” Getzan said.
ShipStation for shipping and order fulfillment, Advanced Shipping Manager for real-time shipping rates, and Kit Builder for product inventory management are a few other applications Van Cafe uses to provide its customers with an enhanced experience.
“In addition to the third-party apps we use, I do like Ads and Listings on Google. It’s an app that’s native to BigCommerce. It allows us to sync our products to Google’s Merchant Center,” Getzan said.
Van Cafe manages over 2,500 SKUs, and the tight integration provided by the BigCommerce connector for Acumatica allows the data to flow in and helps management stay on top of fluctuating inventory levels. “As a manufacturing company, there are a lot of parts we order from vendors. The BigCommerce Acumatica ERP connector gives us a really clean look at our inventory projections and allows for the growth we are projecting,” Getzan said.
Was it worth the effort? We’ll let the metrics tell the story. Comparing the site statistics from January to March 2022, they saw a 24% increase in orders, a 77% increase in average order value, and a whopping 119% increase in revenue.