When it comes to managing their overall retail presence, SMB owners sometimes stretch themselves too thin as they try to serve multiple areas of the business at once. Because they often have a plethora of daily tasks to address, they may be forced to use manual processes that are outdated and stall the company’s growth.
As Co-Owners of Georgia-based chocolatier M Chocolat, sisters Maritza Pichon and Marlena Snyder sought a cloud-based system that could help them track sales, vendor relationships and inventory levels without consulting a part-time IT professional.
When it came time for Pichon and Snyder to implement a POS system that met their needs, they selected the NCR Silver platform, which includes NCR Silver Register, a tablet POS system that runs NCR Silver in the cloud. Because the system is portable, M Chocolat team members can attend and sell goods at relevant events, which not only helps boost sales but also expands brand awareness.
M Chocolat’s original POS system was a traditional cash register that had minimal added features and functionality. By moving its POS to NCR, the co-owners were able to make their store “more portable,” according to Pichon. “The way that people shop these days, we have to have flexibility to sell anywhere,” Pichon said. “Our customers don’t just come in the door. They’re at concerts, races and food festivals. All those events give us an opportunity to extend our brand without any complications.”
Operating more efficiently and the ability to easily sell at off-site locations has paid dividends for Pichon and Snyder, who sell their products at special events, as well as gourmet specialty shops and local wine stores in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
“We can get a call from someone for an opportunity to sell as a guest vendor somewhere and make the decision to participate right then and there.” Pichon said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We can display our products on a tablet where people can just purchase, and we don’t have to worry about having access to cash or how we’re going to give people receipts.”
Streamlining Assortment Planning
As a chocolatier, M Chocolat offers different product selections based on holidays such as Easter and Mother’s Day. With the new POS system, Pichon and Snyder can update product inventory for each season and special occasion, which enables employees to focus on selling these timely products. Additionally, the tablet includes forecasting capabilities, so the company can plan exactly how many items to buy ahead of time.
“When working with perishables, if we don’t look back and see the kind of volume we have, for example, for chocolate dipped strawberries around Valentine’s Day, we’re not going to have any idea how much to order,” Pichon said. “Our vendors have to know well in advance. We have to tell them what kind of supply we’re going to need two to three months ahead, because the demand is so great specifically on that date.”
On top of the solution’s flexibility and inventory management capabilities, NCR Silver has provided M Chocolat with myriad of back-office benefits, including consolidated sales reporting and tax filing. As a small business striving to eliminate inefficient processes at both the front-end and back-end of the store, M Chocolat has been able to successfully employ significant internal changes since implementing the technology in 2013.
“Small business owners are the future,” Pichon concluded. “We’re the ones helping to fuel the economy, so we’re all looking for ways to improve our technology and make everything as seamless as possible.”