Switching to Vend gave Pigeonhole stronger cash flow, better forecasts and more confidence

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Giftware Icon Home & Gifts

Multi Store Icon Multi-store

Location AU Australia
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Pigeonhole found huge success from small beginnings. Since 2007, Founder Johann Kim has moved from selling handcrafted jewellery out of a suitcase to running a thriving business that spans 7 stores, eCommerce, pop-ups and wholesale operations.

7 brick and mortar retail outlet using Vend integrated with Xero, Afterpay and Shopify


At a Glance

Holds 40% less stock on hand

With Vend, Pigeonhole can now:

  • Hold 40% less stock on hand, forecast better and improve cash flow
  • Lift store performance by empowering store managers to make strategic adjustments
  • Grow customer mailing list by 141% in the past 18 months
  • Open Pop Up stores at peak times quickly and easily

The Challenge

Having expanded to 7 stores from 1, founder Johann Kim had struggled with stock levels, orders and transfers.

As Pigeonhole expanded from 1 store to 7, Johann and his team found themselves selling over 100 brands in addition to their own.

“We started off with a basic cloud POS but it couldn’t handle the 15,000 SKUs that we had,” says Johann. “I had a full time team member whose job was just to organise stock transfers between stores - only after hours so the system wouldn’t collapse on us.”

“We tried out another software which worked well for our wholesale business, but it was rather clunky for our retail team,” says Johann. “It crashed a lot when we used to do our stock takes for two days straight, and the number still won’t match up.”

Without the right information on hand, stores had to rely on the head office in Perth for accurate data and decision making.

“The POS reporting required a lot of work on Excel spreadsheets,” says Johann. “It was fine for the team at head office, but it’s challenging for our store managers who just needed to do a quick report in-store.”

“Stock accountability is really important to us. If we don’t project stock numbers correctly, we might end up with large surplus or shortage, which has happened many times before we went with Vend.”
Johann Kim, Founder - Pigeonhole

The Solution

After coming across Vend at the Life InStyle trade show, Johann saw multiple demos of Vend and was assured that Vend’s functionalities would help solve Pigeonhole’s problems.

Switching to Vend was an easy decision in early 2018. “The previous system was telling us our stock was hundreds of thousands of dollars off,” says Johann. “I knew we couldn’t delay a change any longer; we had to get it right.”

“Vend’s really made our lives easier. We’re able to do a rolling stock take each week now, and then we do monthly top-ups with our suppliers.”

Since switching to Vend two years ago , Pigeonhole’s store managers have more ownership and make more strategic decisions . “Store managers now have all the data they need at their fingertips, without having to know how to use Excel,” says Johann. “They can make micro adjustments very easily in terms of what they need to get into the store and what they need to move around. It takes a lot of pressure from the Perth HQ team, who don’t have the full picture.”

“Vend has a really powerful filtering system for reporting. We can compare product against product, category against sub category… there are so many different ways we can filter right down and get insights,” says Sam, Pigeonhole’s manager of the Emporium store. “It really makes our in-store management so much easier.”

“Now that we can trust the stock levels in Vend, it means that we don’t have to carry as much stock as we did previously. We have stronger cash flow, better forecasts and more confidence in what we buy and what we sell.”
Johann Kim, Founder - Pigeonhole

Pigeonhole brings their solution together with the best in retail

The Results

Getting stock under control has transformed Pigeonhole’s entire business operations. Now Johann and the head office can delegate decision making to store managers, team members can focus more on customer experience, and Johann has more time to pursue growth strategies like pop-ups and international trade shows.

A significant change for Pigeonhole is now their in-store team can focus on creating an exceptional customer experience. “We really want our in-store experience to be fun, friendly, full of joy,” explains Johann. “We believe that if the experience is really good, we’ll see results in sales.”

They have the time to create this customer experience because they are no longer stuck behind computer screens.. “Vend is very intuitive and fast and this means less computer time and more energy,” says Johann. “Our team is more focused on the way our store looks, the music that we play, the types of products we have and how they’re merchandised, everything that makes the experience fun.”

Christmas is a busy time for Pigeonhole. Johann relies heavily on a nimble model of pop-ups, which allows him to trial new locations and maximise sales potential. “This year we’re looking to open 5 pop-ups in high traffic locations within a 3-week timeframe,” says Johann. “Vend is great because we can set up new locations and registers instantaneously. We don’t have to pay until we want to set them up - which can be the day before we open the pop-up.”

“We’re getting much better at organising for pop-ups with the help of Vend,” says Johann. “We can manage all the stock orders and transfers leading up to the opening day. It’s also much easier to train new staff on Vend, on different hardware whether it be on a computer screen, on a laptop or on an iPad.”

“Ultimately we’re able to run the business a lot more smoothly with Vend. I now leave a lot of the day-to-day operations to our head office team in Perth and our store managers. I’ve been focusing on Christmas pop-ups and exhibiting at international trade shows.”
Johann Kim, Founder - Pigeonhole

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