Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Olean, NY, Cutco is the largest manufacturer of premium kitchen cutlery in the United States. The cutlery and kitchen accessories company’s products are made in America, guaranteed for life and mostly sold through direct sales.
Cutco’s salesforce of over 65,000 was placing orders with a web-based application hosted in a legacy data center. The system required paper-based orders, order oversight and follow-up validation. It was time-consuming to use and maintain from an IT standpoint, and prone to human error.
FiveOut, a Sirius digital agency, worked with Cutco to develop the Cutco Orders Application, a web- and mobile-based application hosted on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The solution replaced a web-only experience and legacy infrastructure that had been provisioned for peak demand all year round despite seasonal shifts in the company’s mostly college-aged salesforce. The timing was ideal as the solution modernized the Cutco selling experience, enabling Cutco sales representatives to effectively sell without face-to-face demonstrations.
When the work began in 2019, Cutco sales representatives were relying on a static, legacy infrastructure-based application provisioned for peak demand all year. It was a fragile system that required careful planning and manual orchestration on the part of Cutco IT. It also required sales representatives to manually look up product numbers and calculate costs—including discounts and incentives—on a personal computer with web access. “Our main objective when reaching out to Sirius was developing an ordering system and the shopping experience for our representative community that understood and supported all levels of representatives, from entry-level all the way up to our career representatives,” said Cutco Sales Development Manager Dave Bush.
With Sirius’ help, Cutco performed a thorough analysis of their infrastructure and business objectives followed by a migration to a modern infrastructure on an AWS platform with a user-friendly, mobile- and web-based application. The application includes tools such as a “bonus advisor” and “order health indicator” that replace error-prone tasks such as paper- and calculator-based order entry. “The old Cutco order form was a bit like filling out a tax return in the way that you had to reference and copy values from box 1b to 2d, divide by 3b to get to total 4b,” said FiveOut Senior Digital Consultant Christopher Pugh. “All our efforts were geared toward making sales easier for reps while also helping them understand how to make those sales more profitable. In theory, that should help retain reps.”
The application also helped Cutco representatives virtualize sales appointments at a time when face-to-face demonstrations dropped significantly due to the pandemic. This was also a time when prospective customers started spending a lot of free time on home-based hobbies such as gourmet cooking. “The Cutco Orders App allowed us to move directly with that without skipping a beat,” said Cutco Sales Development Manager Steve Spry.
FiveOut Managing Consultant for Mobile Ryan Ricigliano explained the new sales process. “They’re mostly selling from their cell phones. They send their prospects a link to a presentation and click through the slides, videos and other content. They’re giving the same pitch they would in person, but doing so over a videoconference or clicking their way through a demo and talking through it on their mobile devices.”
Today, Sirius and Cutco are finalizing even more enhancements to the Cutco Orders Application, including a credit card reader so that customers will be able to swipe, tap or chip their cards for purchases, decreasing mistakes from manual input and adding an extra layer of transactional security. Cutco and FiveOut are also working on adding interactive virtual demonstrations.