The Brisbane Lions Use Vend to Create Winning Retail Experiences for Fans

Contrary to what some may think, Vend isn’t just for traditional retailers. Our POS system works incredibly well for all types of inventory-based businesses, including some of the world’s biggest sports teams.

Case in point: The Brisbane Lions, a professional Australian rules football club based in Queensland Australia, needed a point of sale and retail management system that’s robust, reliable, and scalable. A member of the Australian Football League (AFL), the Brisbane Lions holds games regularly and caters to a wide fanbase. 

Retail is an essential component of the team’s business strategy, as they sell a variety of products to the Brisbane Lions’s fans. The team has a retail store in Queensland and they also hold regular pop-ups and sales events during game days. 

Read on to learn more about their experience with Vend and how they’re using the software to engage fans, keep their stores stocked with the right products, and sell across physical and digital platforms.

Tight integration between physical and digital retail

The Brisbane Lions were initially using a different point of sale system, but decided to switch due to reliability issues, lack of adequate reporting, the inability to seamlessly integrate with the team’s ecommerce platform, BigCommerce.

“Vend’s native integration with BigCommerce — which is much improved from our previous system — was a big point for us,” says Ben Kerswill, General Manager, Consumer Business.

“In the past, our data was downloaded manually,” recalls Anthony Croker, Licensing and Merchandising Manager. “Now we don’t need to go into the back end to make sure that everything is synced properly. With Vend, everything is automatic.

Having a tightly connected platform enabled the Brisbane Lions to keep their online and offline stores in sync, so they can sell and run promotions with ease. 

Prior to Vend, they were using paper vouchers which made it difficult to verify usage and redemptions. 

“We had paper vouchers originally, and when people redeemed them, we would just take a photo of them with our mobile but we couldn’t really validate the vouchers. So there wasn’t anything stopping customers from double-dipping online and in-store,” says Ben.

He continues, “When we switched to BigCommerce, our old POS system didn’t have a process to sync voucher data.”

All that changed with Vend. 

According to Ben, not only are they now able to effectively track voucher usage and redemptions, but they can also send customers vouchers via email, which can either be scanned in-store or redeemed online. 

“It’s just been really smooth,” he says.

Easy to use, even for casual staff

Speaking of a smooth experience, Ben and Anthony remarked on how smooth it was to switch to Vend and get their team up and running. 

“It was great having a dedicated migration partner who facilitated the launch of Vend as well as the training,” shares Ben.

“We had a really consistent experience as we worked through the setup and training side of things. Our migration partner built a great relationship and we felt like we could ask him basic questions, without feeling like we were asking dumb questions. We weren’t expecting that level of customer support.” 

“With most SaaS products, you just get your log in details, and you’re on your own. So having a Vend launch and training specialist was really cool.”

“It was also a heap of difference from our previous platform,” adds Anthony.

What’s more, using Vend was an effortless experience for the team’s staff — even those who didn’t work at the stores full time.

“It was such an easy transition,” says Anthony. “It was also so easy to teach the staff how to use Vend. It was definitely a massive improvement, especially for our casuals.”

Making more informed inventory decisions

The Brisbane Lions’ stores sell a wide range of items, so inventory management and stock analysis are key. Fortunately, Vend has all the functionalities they need to make smarter decisions around stock orders and merchandising. 

“Vend has streamlined our ordering process. We do a lot of short orders, where we would purchase products after a game. So we’ve got a two-week break and we need to quickly work out what we’ve sold and what we need to reorder from our suppliers,” explains Ben. 

“We don’t like carrying a huge amount of stock on the books, and Vend helps us be more efficient in this area.”

The team is also looking forward to having a better handle on their data. 

“With the Vend’s stock analysis, we have the ability to split the outlet data and tell a better story, from a reporting standpoint,” says Anthony. “We can get some true metrics on what’s selling on the ground and what’s not. We can also segment that based on each individual game and location rather than having a mishmash of products, pricing, and locations.”

“That’s one thing I’m looking forward to doing with Vend, because we’ll then be able to maximize customer spend and ensure that we’re selling the right things at the right locations,” he adds.

Leveraging Vend’s open and customizable retail platform

Thanks to Vend’s open API, the team will soon be able to better manage their customer data. According to Ben, they’re currently developing an integration to connect their sales information into the AFL’s data warehouse.

“We’re working on a Vend integration to pull all of our sales data out of Vend into our data warehouse. So they’re working on a program to take that data out, and they’re also going to push all our member data into Vend. This will allow us to attribute every sale to each member,” explains Ben.

“Once the integration is done and they’re doing the two-way integration, all our members will just be in the system automatically overnight, and we’ll be able to just pull them up, which allows us to do things like pre-orders. Plus, it’ll be much easier to identify who our top-spending customers are and what they’re buying, so we can personalize the experience even more.”

Take Vend for a spin

Vend is the perfect retail partner for sports teams and clubs. Whether you have a permanent retail store, an ecommerce site, pop-up shops, or all of the above, Vend gives you everything you need to connect with your fans, understand your retail data, and drive sales. 

Try Vend for free today. 

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.