Running a multi-store and multi-channel retail business isn’t easy. But running a retail business in the middle of a pandemic? That’s a whole new challenge.
Spoilt, an Australian gift and homeware store, has more than risen up to that challenge. We recently caught up with Laura Semple, Marketing & Business Development Coordinator at Spoilt for a retail Q&A.
Laura shares the story behind Spoilt, and the best practices they’re implementing around running a multi-store and multi-channel retail biz.
Check out her insightful answers below!
What’s the story behind Spoilt?
Chelsea McIntosh started Spoilt in 2005. She’d been working in an office tower in Melbourne and realised there weren’t many stores for her and her co-workers to go to on their lunch break. She wanted something in close proximity to her work to make it easy to get a gift for a loved one whilst on her break.
This sparked the idea to open a gift store. Chelsea decided to open her first store on Collins Street under a bustling office tower and later expanded 4 more in the city and an outlet store.
What makes your business unique and how do you keep customers coming back?
People love how easy it is to shop at Spoilt. With the majority of the stores being in office buildings, it makes it easy for those who are busy at work and just need to pop in for a quick gift.
We find many of our customers also like to have a little time out from the office and browse our beautiful products! We have such a large range to suit everyone’s needs and budgets – whether it’s a gift for yourself or someone else.
Since COVID has hit and we have had to shut all of our stores. We have found that many of our customers who would visit us in-store now turn to our website to get that same service!
We offer free gift wrapping and a complimentary card which people love! Gift-giving should make you feel good, it shouldn’t be a chore. That’s why we like to make it as easy as possible – especially during times like this – to be able to send a gift to let someone know you’re thinking of them!
What are some of the challenges that you’re facing when running multiple stores?
Having the correct stock quantities has always been an issue of ours, due to things like theft, breakages or just being entered wrong in the system.
We usually do regular stock checks to help with this and being able to easily transfer stock and having it sit in transit in Vend until it arrives in the shop really helps us to keep track of what’s physically in the shops – as an item may arrive in our warehouse from the supplier but may not reach the stores for another week.
Another feature we really like is the stock on hand. Being able to see that really quickly when you’re serving a customer is great, as well as other features like Quick Keys! This makes it easy for those products where a barcode sticker won’t stay on!
It helps us serve customers better. For example – if we don’t have something in stock in the store it’s easy for us to look up whether we have it at one of the other stores. We had this feature in our old system but it was a bit clunkier to bring up. Also, having images helps so if a customer doesn’t know the product code or name but can explain what it looks like it’s a bit easier for us to work out.
I think one of the biggest features we like is the fact that it is cloud-based! Prior to using Vend, we used a system that needed to be on a server. This had some major limitations. Having our POS on a cloud means that we can keep working in the conditions we’ve faced with COVID. We can work remotely and keep things going. We’re also able to easily log in and solve a stock problem no matter where we are (as long as there is internet!)
Are you using any add-ons with Vend?
We use a couple of add-ons. We recently added MYOB AR Live by Amaka to integrate our MYOB. It currently doesn’t sync supplier invoices but hopefully, that will be an added feature in the future.
We’ve also added Mailchimp to sync our customer information and hope to use that in the future more when our stores are open so that we can be offering in-store promotions.
The main add-on we use is Shopify. That is where we are running our online store. That was the main reason for us to move to Vend. We did like our old system as it had some great reporting features but it was not moving with the times when it came to being an omni-channel platform.
We wanted the ability to have our products feature on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Shop, and more to make it easier for customers to buy from us no matter what platform they were on. Shopify has really allowed us to do this quite well and while there are always some hurdles it has definitely given us more control to do it in-house with both Vend and Shopify.
What’s your favorite Vend feature?
I’d have to say our favourite feature is really the fact that we can see our data anywhere at any time. There’s also a lot of support and training material to help our staff. This was really important to us with the transition between our old system and Vend.
The fact that Vend is always moving forward and has listened to our needs is also really important to us! While we’re still a fairly small business it has been important to us to pick a POS system that cares as we did find it hard to get features we wanted or to move forward with the times with our old system.
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+.