Ben Hoffman, founder and owner of Silent Selling, provides independent grocers in Australia a solution for printing shelf-toppers and signage for in-store advertising. Hoffman’s background in graphic design and expertise in visual communications—not to mention his technical savvy—make his service a remarkable value-add to his clients’ in-store marketing strategies.
“I’ll get a call about needing a change or new design. I’ll drop the new files into folders, and five minutes later the store can start printing the new sign. There’s no need to log into anything, no need to email anything. Syncplicity will update all the stores!”
Ben Hoffman, Owner, Silent Selling
Using Sign IQ software that Hoffman developed to integrate with each retailer’s point of sales system and check promotional compliance, Silent Selling enables a store employee to print a shelf card with colorful graphics he has designed for various promotions. “My clients can highlight product features like ‘gluten-free,’ ‘healthy snack choice’ or ‘managers special,’” Hoffman explains, “making it easy for their shoppers to identify specials or find new products to try.”
The Search for More than Sharing and Syncing
In order to take advantage of Hoffman’s service, each store’s computer system needs the Sign IQ software as well as access to specific Silent Selling files. At the start, Hoffman had to find an efficient way to deploy and maintain his solution at different stores. “I simply didn’t want to have to build or maintain my own system at client sites,” Hoffman says. “Because each store is independently owned,” he adds, "files need to be distributed, shared, and updated through different networks and firewalls and into different operating systems.”
“I have fairly simple software to keep up to date,” Hoffman continues, “but there are constantly files that need updating—new promotions coming in from the Independent Grocers Alliance, for example, that require new designs. The ability to constantly change graphics was quite important and I didn’t want to have to develop complicated processes for deploying these new designs out to all of the stores.”
“My clear preference was for a cloud-based solution so I didn’t have to manage infrastructure,” Hoffman says. “I looked online for tools that allowed me to share and sync files,” he recalls. “I tried a few but they just didn’t have anywhere near the functionality I needed. I work with a tightly organized file structure and with these other solutions, I couldn’t control where files were placed.”
Hoffman describes the three levels of files he needs to distribute and keep in sync: “At the top level are basic application files that are same for all stores. Level two files are group files shared by stores within that group, and level three files are the individual store files. There may be five stores in a group owned by same company, and each of these stores has its own customized folder within a shared group folder.”
Controlled, Organized, and Synchronized
Finding Syncplicity online in early 2011, his search was over. With all the functionality he needs, Syncplicity supports him from implementation through customer service. On a day-to-day basis, Syncplicity allows him to take control and easily manage of a large number of files.
“When I set up a new store, I replicate its environment on my computer in my home office and use a desktop sharing program to download the Sign IQ software and ‘accept to share’ our common Syncplicity folders. My whole solution is downloaded on their side—Syncplicity syncs all of the files needed.” Hoffman adds that he has no separate backup process. “My implementations are backed up by Syncplicity!”
By creating a Syncplicity account for each group, Hoffman keeps his files organized across clients for easy, streamlined updating. “I’ll get a call about needing a change or new design. I’ll drop the new files into folders, and moments later the store can start printing the new sign. There’s no need to log into anything, no need to email anything. Syncplicity will update all the stores!”
Managing file access is another important capability Hoffman appreciates. “With Syncplicity, I have the flexibility to share different folders across an entire group or with an individual store,” he says. “And what’s nice about Syncplicity,” Hoffman notes, “is I can apply different rules for different folders. Some can be read-only so a store can’t make changes to certain pieces.”
Syncplicity also enables Hoffman to monitor file activity, giving him insight into how his clients use his solution and when they might need additional customer service. “All the files my clients create are saved in store folders so everything is synced back to me. I can see a snapshot of what’s going on in a store without have to go into the store system! If I see that they haven’t done a task in a few weeks, I can give them a call and ask about it.”
In the end, Hoffman says it’s the ability to sync individual folders and have different permissions on folders that makes running his business easier. “Syncplicity has everything that works for me. I have a lot of control with Syncplicity I couldn’t get with any other syncing solutions.”