SMBs that expand online and to multiple stores sometimes have issues scaling their POS systems, inventory management strategies and overall business reporting to meet and exceed growth objectives.
Experiencing these challenges firsthand, women’s apparel retailer Vestique implemented Springboard Retail as its new POS system and to monitor inventory levels for its e-Commerce site and seven retail locations in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Together, Lashley and Caroline King, her business partner and Co-Owner, coordinate the boutique’s merchandise buying — even after expanding Vestique from an online storefront in 2010 to multiple locations. As the business grew, Lashley and King had less bandwidth, making it more difficult for them to monitor stores and identify which products were selling the best.
“Springboard has a sophisticated reporting tool that can show you products sold by day and by hour,” Lashley said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We were able to pull up reports on our stores and see not only which products were selling, but which categories were selling. That way, we could buy more of the appropriate products and sell them in our stores.”
The Springboard platform also enables Lashley and King to train the retailer’s 50 part-time employees quickly and efficiently, according to Lashley. Whenever the retailer purchases a new product and enters it into Springboard, the system creates a new bar code. This makes it easier for employees to retag all items and scan them into the system.
In addition to helping Vestique improve inventory efficiencies, Springboard also helps the retailer optimize its POS experience.
With the platform, the retailer can develop portable checkout terminals on laptops during busy shopping days. This gives the individual stores not one, but two, outlets to interact with consumers during the checkout process.
“We’ve had a ton of positive feedback about the checkout process in our stores,” Lashley stated. “Before, it took a long time to check someone out. We didn’t have a scanner and bar code system, so it would take three or four minutes to get one customer checked out. For a small boutique, we service a lot of customers, and the lines used to be ridiculous at our stores. On Black Friday this year, we didn’t see a line in our stores, which was great because it meant we were getting customers in and out with our new system.”
Within the next six months, the boutique will further integrate its e-Commerce site with the Springboard Retail platform to expand inventory and order management capabilities, allowing customers and team members to access items across all channels.
“If for some reason we sell out of an item online, the site will pull it from another store’s inventory,” Lashley explained. “Until the item is completely gone in all seven of our locations, we’re still going to be able to sell it online. They’re going to be able to ship it out from that particular store that still has it.”
Lashley anticipates that this capability will help Vestique increase sales. “We are finding that when we buy a lot of the same inventory for all the stores, one store may blow out of something quickly, but another store may hold the same item around for a few weeks. Now we’ll be able to sell these items across the board.”
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