Kanuka Tea: “Hire someone who knows what they’re doing”

The first part of our short series featuring inspiring UK retailers, their stories, and their advice for other stores. Here, unique retailer Kanuka Tea shares how they set-up Vend, Deputy and iZettle on iPad to run their store – with help from local partner KRCS. 

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After drinking ‘boring’ builder’s tea for years, construction business owner John Hesler became captured by the more exotic varieties of loose leaf tea when he was introduced to them by his brother-in-law. “They were beautiful, but there was nowhere in London where you could buy them,” says John.

With no previous retail experience, John decided to open up a store in St Albans, Hertfordshire stocking new tea varieties from around the world. He taught himself everything he could, and the Kanuka Tea house and online store was launched in February 2016.

A main requirement for gadget-obsessed John was that the business would have easy-to-use, sophisticated technology to help run it – such as sleek and modern iPads, instead of having a traditional old cash register taking up space on the counter. John had previously come across Vend, a point-of-sale (POS) and retail management app that runs on iPad, and was keen to use this for Kanuka Tea, as well as programs such as Deputy for staff scheduling, and iZettle for payments.

But despite being well practiced in using the latest gadgets and with a strong understanding of how software is built and used, he wasn’t keen on doing the set-up himself.

“I was already sold on the benefits of having cloud technologies like Vend in the store – the experience for staff and customers is just so much better, and you can look into your business wherever you are. But I didn’t want to do it myself. I had enough to keep me busy already.”


John contacted UK Apple Specialists and Vend partner KRCS, for help implementing the systems in the store. Working with a partner like KRCS meant that everything from advice on the best software, to installation and integration, upgrades and troubleshooting, was taken care of.

“I was still very green to retail when we started,” says John. “So I wanted a company that was experienced in retail, that was local, could guide the whole process, and sort out any problems. When you’re setting up a shop you don’t want to be running around like a headless chicken. KRCS made the set-up very quick. I’d recommend hiring someone who knows what they’re doing to set the technology up for you. It’s really cost-effective and well worth it.”

Philip Woods, Director of KRCS Group believes the biggest benefit new technologies bring to businesses like Kanuka Tea is giving them access to systems previously only available to bigger stores. “With technology like Vend and iPad we really feel like we can provide that enterprise-grade solution to smaller businesses, so they too can reap the benefits of reliability and mobility for minimal monthly costs,” he says.

“All of the features of iPad in combination with technology like Vend, provides retailers with a POS solution that’s light-years ahead of most PC-based solutions, and significantly reduces valuable down-time at the counter.”

Kanuka Tea uses iPad with Vend as its cash register in the store, as well as having an iPad Mini on the counter so customers can easily sign up for its loyalty program. “I’ve never liked the traditional till system. Having it all on iPad gives you more space on the counter and looks much more appealing, and it’s a real talking point with customers. They love it, it’s so modern.”

“If there’s ever an issue and I’m not in the shop, I can jump online and look into the system and resolve it in about two seconds. Not having to be in the store all the time means I can spend more time focusing on our product. I think a lot more companies will be moving to iPad and these types of business apps like Vend in the future.”

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Key benefits for Kanuka Tea using KRCS and Vend:

  • Easy and cost-effective set-up with experienced partner
  • Trouble-shooting and on-going support is taken care of
  • Access to enterprise-grade systems for minimal cost
  • Reduces time at the counter
  • Provides a sophisticated shopping experience that customers love
  • Opens up space on the counter and modernises the store
  • Provides easy way to gain customer details and grow loyalty
  • Monitor the business in real-time from anywhere, and resolve issues quickly
  • Frees up time to focus on the product, not admin

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About Kate Webby

Kate is the guardian of communications at Vend. Her love of retail began with ice cream (selling it at music festivals), jewellery (selling it in department stores), and badly made coffee (serving it in cafes). Having lived and worked for technology companies across the oceans, Kate loves sharing Vend's story and the success of its amazing customers around the world.