An Inside Look at 30 Years of Retail Success: Lessons from Cardrona

Cardrona is an alpine resort that serves as a key destination in the Southern Lakes district of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The resort was incredibly successful and the company wanted to serve guests better. So, the team established Cardrona retail to ensure that customers have all the things they need while staying at the resort. Cardrona’s retail business has been around since the ’80s, and it continues to thrive to this day. 

We recently caught up with Jen Langton, Retail Manager at Cardrona, and asked her to share the story behind the business. 

Check it out!

1. Tell us a bit about how Cardrona got started. What’s the story behind the business? 

Because at the heart of our business we are alpine resorts for skiing & snowboarding, it was natural that our guests were going to need items to help their snow experience be the best it could be. So Cardrona (our first ski resort) started Cardrona retail. The skiers loved the apparel and accessory ranges; a take-home piece to remember their time with us. We started out in the ‘80s so as you can imagine, the fluoro head band was a big seller! 

These days, it’s everything from a new pair of goggles or a snowboard, to alpine homewares to style up your home.

2. What are the unique things about your store that customers love? 

I think the range of gear at all price points, and that we really try and take you on a snow journey through the store, means there is a lot to look at and be inspired by. 

As a buyer, it’s been a privilege to be able to fill stores with snow products that I’m so passionate about – it’s a cool process, it’s fashion, fun, techy, for the young and for the old. I’m not going to say that these are super unique, but having good products, great staff and an intuitive sales system are all foundations for its success. 

Lastly, I’d just like to add that snow shops are a great place to hang out and I’ve heard people say they save money for their trip to our stores each winter…. that’s awesome!

3.  What are some of the challenges that come with running multiple locations and how do you overcome them in your business? 

Getting stock around when two of your locations are up gravel roads where couriers don’t come is the biggest challenge. It’s a team effort and a daily job to figure out. 

Because the mode of transport and person moving it changes all the time, it’s been really helpful having such a clean transfer process in Vend. You can note details and send emails out to multiple parties so everyone knows what’s going on and when.

4. What is your favorite Vend feature and why? 

The stocktake app is my favorite feature! It’s just so cool to be able to phone a store and ask a staff member to go count a category, then they just scan with their phones – it’s paperless and done in a flash. We do multiple small counts a month which keeps our auditors, accountants and store managers really confident in the processes and security of the stock.

5. Are you using any add-ons or integrations with Vend? 

We use Shopify for our online store. As our online business continues to grow, it’s been a major improvement having live inventory linked between the two and they work very seamlessly together.

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+.