Three separate businesses in three separate locations across the country.
Despite the geographical difference, these three retail stores had to face very similar problems before they blossomed into the operations they are today.
Danielle Armstrong, a regular on ITV’s “The Only Way is Essex”, opened her boutique relatively recently in 2014. With a degree in fashion and past experience in the sector, opening a boutique was always a goal for Danielle, who describes herself as being “obsessed” with merchandising.
Danielle took a gamble opening the shop in Hornchurch, as opposed to Brentwood, the busier area and heart of Essex, but the gamble paid off and the shop opened to very good business. As well as selling items in store, Danielle decided to begin selling them online.
Danie Kidley, who works at the boutique, needed to find a way to speed up the process of creating the invoices and labels for online orders, rather than creating each one herself (with the help of a permanent marker). Switching to inventory management completely changed the way Danie worked.
“It’s made our life a lot easier,” Danie tells us, “it sets it all out for us in the morning, we come in, we look at it, it’s all set out easy so we can see everything. We just come in, login to Shopify, login to Veeqo and everything is all set out for us. We just print invoices, bulk ship it and it’s done”.
“The way it prints the labels, where we used to write them sometimes on the odd occasion we used to… miss addresses… [Veeqo] has made our lives a lot easier…” Danie adds, somewhat candidly.
Just over 150 miles away in the city of Bath, Tim Douglas manages another clothing store: Bibico, which specialises in making clothes from high quality, natural materials, all sourced from fair trade cooperatives.
“The nature of a small business is obviously very busy,” says Tim, “we sell within our shop and we sell online and we also sell through Amazon and other marketplaces and we just felt that we needed to control our stock and organise it in one place”.
Stock selling out towards the end of its season is obviously good news for any retail business. But here Tim and co-founder Snow began to face difficulties.
“Towards the end of our season, during sales time when there’s less product and we’ve sold through a lot… we started having issues where our website was saying we had stock, but a customer would order it and we would check the stock manually and in actual fact the stock wasn’t available. So we were getting a lot of disappointed customers”.
Not only did manual stock checks take a lot of time, they cost a lot of money. This caused Tim to begin looking for an inventory management system, but a lot of the options looked overly complicated. Tim decided to trial Veeqo, as he found the system was a lot more user friendly than others he had tried.
“It allows us to understand our stock situation better. Since we’ve started using it we’ve had less unhappy customers. Customers will order something with the knowledge the item will be in stock… so Veeqo’s allowed to us to improve in that area but also given us a real great indication of where our stock is in terms of not only the value but of the quantity of the stock. it gives us a big picture of where our business is at in a moment.”
Back in Essex, in the aforementioned area of Brentwood, Lucy Mecklenburgh (also another star in The Only Way is Essex) owns the family run business Lucy’s Boutique. Before investing in inventory management software the business used the DMO version of Royal Mail. This meant typing in orders one at a time and printing shipping labels one at a time. They desperately needed something to speed up the process.
Robert Finnerty of UpLinkMedia, a digital agency, decided that in order to save time and cut costs Lucy’s Boutique needed to implement inventory management software, also deciding on Veeqo’s cloud-based software.
“It was almost a total automatic decision to go with for something like this,” Robert said, “that automated probably 80% of the process, cut down hours, saved on time and approved efficiency of the entire ordering process”.
Robert also praised Veeqo’s support team, for their commitment to providing fast support, which he stated was obviously very important when working in retail.
Inventory Management Software, of course, isn’t just designed to help boutiques. Veeqo’s offering aids all sorts of businesses and operations, not only in the UK but across Europe and in the US too. To keep up to date with more stories like this, as well as a host of other content, you can subscribe to Veeqo’s Youtube channel here.
For a free trial of the software, head over to www.veeqo.com.
Written by Jamie Panton
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- How Inventory Management Software Empowered Three British Boutiques - 13th July 2015