Theisen’s gets 10,000 products online in two weeks, optimizing online merchandising with Smartsheet

Theisen’s needed to add thousands of products to its online store rapidly. Using Smartsheet, it developed a solution that provides 100% product visibility and saves 46 hours per week in data management.

Avg. read time: 1 min

quality pass rate for new products versus 51% before

4 4 weeks saved

for every new product to reach the website store


  • Retail

Organization Size

  • Mid-market (200-1999)


  • North America

"Smartsheet has saved us a ton of time and brainpower. We’ve cut the need to copy and paste between sheets just to consolidate everything. Now, that's all done in the background with the click of a button. It's like magic!”

Ashley Delay

IT Project Coordinator, Theisen's

Theisen’s story is that of flexibility and resilience. Since the company’s beginning in 1927, it has survived the Great Depression, World War 2, and 16 presidents, while always being responsive to its customers’ needs. It’s that commitment that turned a tiny family-run store selling batteries and tires into a network of 24 brick-and-mortars spread over Iowa and Wisconsin, shipping thousands of farm supplies, home, and automotive products to homes across the United States.  

“Our online store now has about 240,000 products available,” reveals Ashley Delay, IT Project Coordinator at Theisen's “And our purchasing team is constantly sourcing and bringing in new ones. Every year, we bring about 96,000 new products into our stores and publish them on our website.”

Two weeks to tame data chaos

When Delay joined Theisen’s in the fall of 2021, the company lacked an established online merchandising process. All items were added manually and managed across three disparate mega-systems.

“Core product data, like unique IDs and pricing information, is stored in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system,” Delay details. “Product images, videos, and other visuals for the online store live in a digital asset management system, or a DAM. Finally, supplemental data like product descriptions, warranty information, and other details that help make an informed purchasing decision belong to the product information management system (PIM).”

This setup resulted in inconsistencies and slowed down the time to market for digitally available products. “Many products were completely missing data, even though they were already available for sale. So there were some challenges for our customers in making those purchase decisions. It was chaos,” says Delay.


Making the impossible happen

"We were approaching Black Friday and had thousands of products that weren't live on the website," Delay informs. "I had a few weeks to identify which needed to be published before Black Friday, and it turned out to be 10,000 items. That was overwhelming," she admits.

Realizing that manually introducing, validating, and populating all this data within two weeks was impossible, Delay turned to automation. "I hadn't used Smartsheet before joining the team, but our marketing department had introduced it a few months earlier as a tool to manage marketing campaigns," she explains. "I quickly discovered its versatility for various tasks beyond that."

Centralizing thousands of items

Delay stitched different Smartsheet products to build a single, central product data publication solution that pulls, merges, and manages data from various external systems, “I was working piece by piece. Each component was built based on a pain point, and over time, we’ve got them working together in a cohesive machine.”   

The solution, leveraging Data Shuttle, imports data from external systems to CSV or Excel files, transfers it to Smartsheet, and stores it in DataTable, a vast data repository. Users can use it to extract and filter subsets based on specific criteria. Lastly, DataMesh consolidates data from various Smartsheet locations into a central primary tracker. “From there, we can go and look at other sheets in our system,” Delay explains. “Then, we have DataMesh workflows going to specific sheets and reports.”


46.5 hours saved each week

Thanks to efficient and automated data management, Delay’s team now gets daily recaps of all data changes, which helps proactively spot and eliminate irregularities. 

“We have 100% visibility in our quality assurance (QA) process, up from 5% before,” she reveals. “We can check every single product. If it isn't correct, we can send it back, hold those individuals accountable, and have them make those corrections.” 

By implementing this process, Theisen’s reached a 97% pass rate. Before, 49% of its products were failing QA checks. 

In addition, simplified data processes save Theisen’s 46.5 hours of manual work per week. “That's more than a full-time employee. It’s an immense change,” Delay admits. Streamlined product merchandising cuts time-to-market for products by four weeks. “That's four more weeks of sales for any given product. It's so much faster, the data is more consistent, the customers are happier, and customer service issues—less frequent.” 

The magic of efficient work

Delay has now developed an established process to train and onboard new people to work with her Smartsheet-based solution. This way, she can move on to the next great project peacefully. "When we bring in a new team member, we can train them efficiently and get them ramped up to take on their work quickly. This allows me to focus on Smartsheet administration and creating new solutions for other departments,” she affirms. 

All in all, the whole company benefits from the optimization. "Smartsheet has saved us a ton of time and brainpower and removed the tedium of repetitive task work," Delay confirms. "We’ve cut the need to copy and paste between sheets just to consolidate everything. Now, that's all done in the background with the click of a button. It's like magic!"

This story was adapted from Delay's ENGAGE 2023 Session "It’s time to stop copying and pasting: Learn how to work efficiently with your data". Watch the whole session here.