Vend helped Imagine Exhibitions to scale and run their operations with ease

Giftware Icon Home & Gifts

Multi Store Icon Multi-store

Location US United States
Imagine exhibitions logo

A company that runs exciting exhibits all over the world, Imagine Exhibitions is behind several notable exhibitions in the market, including ones for Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, Angry Birds, and more.

The company has exhibitions in all types of venues, from museums and science centers to zoos and resorts. Many of these exhibits have gift shops that sell merchandise to guests — which is where the retail component comes in.

At a Glance

Imagine Exhibitions scaled their operations with ease

With Vend, Imagine Exhibitions is able to:

  • Integrate their POS with NetSuite
  • Access in-depth inventory, sales, and customer analytics
  • Manage a catalog of approximately 2,000 SKUs
  • Oversee multiple locations from one platform

The Challenge

The teams at Imagine Exhibitions were initially using a POS system that couldn't keep up with the size of their catalog and the scale of their operations. According to Michael Slagle, Vice President of Retail Operations, their previous system didn't provide the insights they needed to make smarter business decisions. It also lacked the capabilities to integrate with the company's ERP system, NetSuite.

“We knew we needed something much more significant,” says Michael.

Imagine Exhibitions required a system that would enable them to track the performance of their merchandise and stores, so they could order the right products and keep stores running smoothly.

“We recognized the importance of being able to manage stock by category. We needed to know how apparel was doing versus hard goods versus candy and other products” explains Michael.

“Not only that, but we required the ability to compare those on a sales basis, then run reports on units, sell through, top sellers, and more. Our previous system couldn’t do any of that and it also didn’t connect to NetSuite.”

“We needed to know how apparel was doing versus hard goods versus candy and other products.”
Michael Slagle, Vice President of Retail Operations

The Solution

Michael and his team realized that a new retail management system was necessary for Imagine Exhibitions to thrive. So, they decided to shop around for a new solution. They implemented a thorough vetting process, which included research, spreadsheets, and conversations with other retailers.

"We had a whole spreadsheet with all the criteria we needed, and we came across Vend by Lightspeed. From there, I started calling a lot of companies around the country and asking them about the solution,” Michael explains.

Michael took his time in finding a POS system because he knew that the solution had to tick a lot of boxes. Imagine Exhibitions is an incredibly dynamic business, and exhibits are constantly being set up and moved to different locations — some of which are outside the United States.

“Our business is so unique in that we're going to be overseas a lot, and we're going to be in a lot of different countries,” he says.

Michael continues, “And the monetary system — the denominations that we'll be working with — will very likely change and be different. And so one of the things that was advantageous that we saw right from the outset was that Vend could handle that.”

Once they saw that Vend satisfied their requirements, the team went ahead with the set-up process. They conducted Zoom sessions with Vend’s Retail Specialists to get the system up and running.

According to Micahel, these sessions have been invaluable in getting Vend set up, particularly because they were working with a short timeline. The Zoom meetings were especially advantageous because Michael could simply share his screen with Vend.

“There were times when we would pull the screen up on Zoom and the Vend team would just do it for us. The Vend staff uploaded a lot of our POs initially because they knew we were out of time.”

He adds, “In many ways, that kind of mentality is just as important as having a great POS product. Knowing that the people that are behind it are going to do those things for us really helps differentiate Vend from other vendors.”

“The Vend people were tremendous in this regard. Honestly, we kept waiting for something to go wrong, but it went really smoothly.”
Michael Slagle, Vice President of Retail Operations


Imagine Exhibitions brings their solution together with the best in retail

The Results

Since signing up, Imagine Exhibitions have seen tremendous results from Vend’s features and capabilities.

Michael and his team can now access more sophisticated reports and view real-time data no matter where they are.

“I love the fact that anywhere I'm at on my laptop, I can pull up and see instant sales. I can just view how our locations are doing at any time. I love the fact that if we go into NetSuite and we enter a PO, we can send it to Vend instantly” says Michael.

Michael also commends Vend’s ability to easily generate comprehensive and customizable reports.

“We’re now able to run reports in NetSuite where it pulls the information from Vend. And then we can do customized reports that are emailed out automatically, so our managers can get the top seller reports. We've also got a dashboard report going out every single day that shows how all of the venues are doing.”

On the hardware side, Michael is a big fan of the fact that Vend works on multiple devices, including laptops and iPads.

“We wanted to have the iPads on the swivel so we could just pick them up and go. That way, we could walk to the stockroom to scan products and take inventory. We really wanted to get away from these big, huge, bulky cash registers,” says Michael.

Imagine Exhibitions’ locations require different types of hardware. Their Dinosaur Safari stores, for example, need iPad POS systems, while the Harry Potter exhibitions need a laptop.

Michael and his team appreciate that Vend works on all these devices, so they always have equipment flexibility.

“Vend has probably done one of the best jobs of making a comprehensive reporting process.”
Michael Slagle, Vice President of Retail Operations


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