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GT Sanders Logo

Taking “Customer-First” to a New Level

GT Sanders Logo

Taking “Customer-First” to a New Level

Founded in 1950

Launched InsiteCommerce in October 2018

Launched InsiteCommerce Mobile App in August 2019

A Family Legacy

As B2B companies grow, they sometimes lose their personal, human touch with customers. That’s not the case for George T. Sanders (GTS). Although GTS has grown from a small sheet metal supply company to one of the largest suppliers of copper pipe in the state of Colorado, they’ve never lost touch with what’s driven their success – putting the customer first. All employees are encouraged to be on a first name basis with their customers because GTS knows that having an actual relationship with someone allows you to give the best advice and provide the best service.

Being customer-focused is not just a mission statement or a guideline. It’s engrained in George T. Sanders’ culture and in each and every employee. Employees are extremely dedicated to taking the time to really get to know the customer; take George T. Sanders’ 100-year-old secret, Audrey Archer for example. Up until her passing a few years ago, Audrey was one of the best-known people in the plumbing and heating industry in Colorado. George T. Sanders’ customers loved and respected her because she took the time to get to know them and their business.

GT Sanders Building

George T. Sanders and his wife founded the company on April 1, 1950 in Denver, CO. After George passed away in July of 1972, Mrs. Sanders became the interim president until management was turned over to their sons Gary and Norman later that year. Today, Gary remains the owner of GTS and the presidency has been passed to two of Gary’s grandsons, Kyle Sanders and Reed White. Every member of the Sanders family that has played a role at the company, has built upon the legacy George left by doing everything they can to ensure the customer is always happy. Decades later when customers’ expectations and preferences started evolving, GT Sanders didn’t hesitate to accommodate them.

Changing Customer Expectations

GT Sanders is the largest privately owned distributor of copper pipe in Colorado, but they have their eyes set on becoming the largest in the region. In order to accomplish that lofty goal, they knew they would have to evolve digitally.

Prior to moving to InsiteCommerce, GT Sanders leveraged Infor Storefront for basic eCommerce. Storefront was not bringing value to the company or their customers. It lacked basic functionality and could not deliver the experiences customers had come to expect; expectations that had been molded by the Amazon’s and the Ferguson’s of the world.

When customers started asking for better online experiences, GT Sanders knew it was time to invest more time and resources into their eCommerce offering.

Building The Roster

George T. Sanders’ journey began with assembling the right team. They needed innovative people that were willing to take risks and lead the charge in moving the business into the future. Natalie Scully joined the team as the eCommerce Manager in July 2017 and Jordan Ullom signed on as the IT Manager in April 2018. Both proved to be instrumental in transforming the digital strategy for GTS.

Scully identified key eCommerce requirements and vetted multiple platforms to determine the best fit for GTS. She led eCommerce from conception to launch, and continues to manage the website and mobile app today.

GT Sanders eCommerce Website

Ullom played a key role in ensuring technology systems were integrated properly to the eCommerce site. He continues to ensure everything is running properly and data is shared across systems.

GTS also relied heavily on their membership in Affiliated Distributors. They discussed eCommerce strategy and platform options with multiple AD members to gain perspectives about their eCommerce needs. Learning which platforms were actually helping make a fundamental difference in moving other independent distributors’ businesses forward played a crucial role in the company’s eCommerce decision making.

Rolling Out the Site

After selecting Insite as their platform of choice, GTS launched their eCommerce website in October 2018 – under budget and in less than one year.

As the company has always been focused on going the extra mile for their customers, a few GTS branch managers were initially concerned about losing the personal touch.

However, deploying the website was never about replacing the sales team or eliminating human interaction. GTS wasn’t trying to be Amazon, they just wanted to make it easier for their customers to do business with them. They wanted to provide the experiences their customers were asking for.

“We are extremely happy with our relationship with Insite. Our team and our customers love the website. It’s exactly what they were asking for,” said Ullom.

George T. Sanders’ customers reacted very positively to the new site, while encouraging the company to do even more. Today, customers are consistently providing feedback about new features that would be nice to incorporate. As customers provide feedback about the website, GTS makes changes to best accommodate them. Customer service is a part of their mantra, after all. The team at GTS relays their customer feedback to the product team at Insite. Their input plays a major role in driving Insite’s product roadmap.

In August 2019, GTS also went live on InsiteCommerce Mobile. Today, customers enjoy an intuitive app that enables them to quickly and easily order plumbing, HVAC and electrical supplies. Plus, customers can view stock, pricing, spec sheets, account balances and more whether in the field, warehouse, home or office.

The Bottom Line

Since implementation, GTS has seen increased online sales and transactions. Web traffic has increased by over 100%.

In addition to making customers jobs’ easier, the website has made the GTS team more efficient. Staff members are now freed up to provide better customer service. They aren’t being tied up looking up product information or order status. Counter workers aren’t manually entering as many orders. They aren’t receiving as many phone calls and lines aren’t as long at the branches. By removing much of the low value tasks the team had to do within a day, they are now available to provide strategic advice, make product recommendations and help customers solve problems. The team has more time to do what they love doing, helping their customers improve their business.

“With Insite, we’re confident that any issue that comes up can be solved and will be solved quickly and efficiently. We depend on Insite in ways that we can’t depend on other technology vendors.”

– Jordan Ullom, IT Manager

“With Insite, we’re confident that any issue that comes up can be solved and will be solved quickly and efficiently. We depend on Insite in ways that we can’t depend on other technology vendors.”

– Jordan Ullom, IT Manager

“With Insite, we’re confident that any issue that comes up can be solved and will be solved quickly and efficiently. We depend on Insite in ways that we can’t depend on other technology vendors.”

– Jordan Ullom, IT Manager

“I would recommend Insite, hands down. Insite’s developers do incredible work. They can take the most technical details and present them in a way that’s human and makes sense. They were such a pleasure to work with,” said Ullom. “Having guys like that on the team and having developers that really care makes Insite different,” he continued.

From Storefront to Insite, customers are happier, the team is more efficient and business is flourishing.

“Comparing Insite to our previous solution is like comparing apples and oranges. Insite has already brought far more value,” concluded Ullom.

What’s Next

GTS is 100% committed to providing the best possible experiences for their customers. They’re continuously taking customer feedback and incorporating changes to the site and the mobile app. Next up? They’re working toward integrating the website with Billtrust so customer invoices can be paid online.

As George T. Sanders grows their digital sophistication, Insite will be right beside them helping them scale.

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