Today, I want to talk to you about some very important things that the team have been working on. It’s very hard at this time, not to reference what’s front of mind for all us: the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the company here at Vend we’ve been taking steps to respond to this moment to prepare ourselves and you, our retailers, for the next few months.
I want to outline some of those changes quickly, and then look back at some of the other changes we’ve made to our product over the last quarter to make sure Vend stays the best retail platform out there.
To best prepare for COVID-19 and beyond, retailers need to do these key things;
- Know who your customers are and have great channels of communication with them
- Become omni-channel so they can sell in store and via online channels
- Understand how your business is performing in real time so you can adapt
- Upgrade their retail operations to spring back into growth after COVID-19
In the last few weeks, we’ve made the following changes in our product to help you as much as we can:
Improved customer details
We’ve delivered numerous tweaks to our Sell screen to help you increase your levels of customer attachment. You should now be able to attach a customer to a sale at any point of the sale (on both web and iOS). When you do, the process of adding a customer is focused on the details that matter (names and contact information). And if you have customers who are frequent shoppers but you don’t yet have a way to email them, our retail AI-assistant, Dott, will suggest that you should collect their email address.
Bigcommerce & Marsello
We’re making the above changes because we know that to get on top of the drop, it’s vital that you can communicate with your customers, and possibly even make the shift to online for the first time.
That’s why, in partnership with Marsello and BigCommerce, we’re offering 3 months free for retailers who are new to these fantastic integrations.
Marsello helps you segment and talk to your customers about the products they care about (including giving them personalised offers!)
Connect your Vend store to BigCommerce and manage your product listings, orders and fulfillment all from within Vend. bigcommerce.com/vend-offer
We’ve also been prepping a Mailchimp integration for those retailers who currently have no way to get in touch with your customers. This will be available in our add-ons sections and won’t cost anything extra.
Xero, Quickbooks & MYOB
We’re making it easier to connect and integrate with Xero and QBO. While you may be experiencing down-time over the next few weeks, you can take the opportunity to maximise the benefit of being in the cloud. That means having all your systems connected and staying in sync.
Finally, we’re working on delivering a report that can help you understand the performance of your online versus offline channels. This will help you understand the dynamics between the different channels you will be selling across as you move to an omnichannel world.
Now, that’s just 5 things we’ve been able to hustle over the last week or two.
However, we hustle everyday to make sure that you—our retailers—continue to have the best platform on the market, helping you be the best retailers and business-folk that you can be. Here’s a few things from the last few months we think you should know about and all help you transform your retail business to be a smoother, faster growing operation
Making your devices work hard for you
We really want to ensure that you can make the most of the tools you already have. For many of you, those are the iPads you have at your checkout, and for others it may be the phone you carry around in your pocket. So here are some ways we’ve made those devices work overtime so you can save some money:
Use Scanner to look up products, anywhere!
Our iPhone app, Scanner, has always been a fantastic way to speed up inventory count in-store without needing to buy or rent expensive scanning solutions. Recently we added functionality to scanner that makes it a great lookup tool for products on the go. Whether you are on the shop floor talking to a customer, or out the back trying to figure out what’s going on with the comings and goings of a particular product. Just fire up Scanner, scan the barcode (or use the search function) and you will have access to all the information about that product (including on-hand and transit information) in your pocket!
Use the iPad camera to scan barcodes for products and gift cards
iPads also have cameras and we wanted to make sure that if you didn’t want to shell out for a dedicated barcode scanner, that you could use the device you already have on hand. So now, on the iPad Sell screen, you’ll be able to scan products and gift cards using the built-in camera! No extra cost, at all.
Use Vend on any device
Now if you don’t have an iPad at POS, or you have an Android device, we’re there for you as well. The web version of Vend is now available to everyone, no matter which device you may be using. Maybe you’d like to be trading with the iPhone or Android phone you already have until it makes sense to buy a dedicated device? Well, now you can! We’ve gone through and made sure most screens will work for you on these devices. A wonderful thing to note is that because many of our payment integrations are also cloud-based (just like Vend!) you may even be able to make use of integrated payments even if you are using your phone. (One of our team did this while on a plane, using the in-flight Wifi to prove it works!)
Going forward, we’re committed to making sure the devices you have work overtime in terms of delivering value to you and your businesses. There are many opportunities for us to make this happen and we’ll be capitalising on those opportunities.
Transforming your retail operations
The beautiful thing about being in the cloud is being able to sync information between all the other systems in the cloud so that you spend less time doing admin and access to the right information, at the right time and in the right place. Many people call this “digital transformation” and it’s a step-change for your business. Here are some ways we’ve made sure your systems can talk to each other over the last few months to save you time and make you more successful
Stop keeping track of your online and in-store operations in two different places.
It’s tough when you have to manage everything twice. Or when someone in one context (the warehouse or the stockroom out back) needs access to information which is in a different system. We hear you! Over the last few months we’ve worked hard to bring the fulfilment statuses from your online operations directly into Vend—so you in-store staff can see all your online orders and what needs to be done for them: allowing them to efficiently deliver orders and paving the way for new experiences like Click ‘n Collect.
Get your POS and Accounting software in-sync.
Having a real-time view of your business is a real asset when it comes to making decisions. Online general ledger software like Xero and Quickbooks are transformational to any business—that’s why we’ve always had the best Xero integration on the market. Now, you can count QuickBooks Online and MYOB into that category. We know that no matter which accounting platform you use, you want that to work with Vend, and we’ve worked hard to make that possible. We also know that you don’t have time to struggle with complicated setups, and don’t necessarily want to have to have your accountant on the line when you are trying to set up the integration: that’s why we’ve invested in making those setup experiences SUPER simple.
Exploring your business reporting to find insights
Having all your information in one-place is only useful if you can get insights and make better business decisions with that information. We’ve invested in our reporting suite to make it easier to explore your data and see the performance of different products, brands, tags and suppliers. We also want to make this super simple so we visually highlight changes (increases or decreases) so you can quickly get to the line in the report that matters!
Stay the best POS out there
We know that every dollar you spend is valuable to you. And we take that responsibility very seriously. That’s why we want to ensure that we remain the best POS out there. In that sense we have:
Shipped support for price and weight-embedded barcodes
Sure Vend is easy-to-use and easy-to-learn, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have depth and power. For some of our retailers the ability to sell weighted goods is part and parcel of what they do. We’ve always been able to support these retailers, but we haven’t been able to deliver that “It just works!” feeling that we know you deserve. Until now!
Support more receipt options at POS
We know that each of our retailers have unique receipt requirements, and that all our retailers need to issue many different types of receipts (depending on the type of sale). Now you can choose a different receipt template to print (or email) while you are making a sale. Whether that is to attach the terms associated with a Layby/Layaway or On Account sale, or to issue a receipt with a specific promotion or message for particular customers.
Making Quotes easier
We also know that many retailers issue Quotes to their customers and up until recently that wasn’t the easiest thing to do in Vend. We’ve made that a lot easier (and completely accessible directly from the Sell screen.) We want Vend to get out of your way so you can stay in the flow when you are interacting with your customers. That’s key!
Along with the above we’ve also done a number of other small improvements to our Sell screens to improve performance, and even enhance the experience a little: like delivering Dark Mode. We know that you rely on our Sell screen most of all, and we are dedicated to ensuring that it’s always available and the best POS out there.
We wish you all the best in the coming months. Please know that our entire company is behind you—and that our Product and Engineering teams are specifically focusing on ways to help you through this difficult time. We know that it will be tough, but we’d love to hear how we can make our platform be even more useful in this time.
About Vaughan Fergusson
Vaughan is the Founder of Vend. An entrepreneur and technologist, Vaughan's goal is to make retailers' lives easier. When he's not leading the team, Vaughan is working on his charitable foundation and raising his kids.