The Retail Equestrian Industry34 Stores
The Equestrian Industry in Australia is a strong and vibrant one, with participation rates steadily increasing over a number of years. The days of using horses purely for work purposes have been replaced with a significant uptake of horses as a recreational pursuit.
The industry contains many passionate people which is a necessity given the often high cost in time and money to own and maintain a horse. Users tend to see their involvement with horses as a lifestyle rather than a simple hobby. This passion is evident in both horse owners and in those who support the equestrian industry, such as Retailers.
The equestrian industry is the fifth largest in Australia and the fourth largest employer. The industry contributes on average $6.3 billion to Australia’s GDP, pointing in no uncertain terms to its popularity amongst consumers in Australia.
Despite this popularity, the equestrian industry is seeing pressure due to increased urbanisation of open space, plus gaps in dedicated infrastructure.
Saddleworld is comprised of a network of over forty independently owned saddlery stores and has been established for 22 years. The network is one of the most progressive saddlery buying groups in Australia. Saddleworld’s solid foundation of success lies in its pride in bringing their customers a World of Difference. They stock a full range of exclusive brands and have a fabulous variety of equestrian products for the recreational enthusiast.
The group has assembled a knowledgeable team of store owners and support staff, with a strong focus on providing guaranteed individual service. Saddleworld customers are encouraged to interact with their local store through regular communications, catalogues and sponsored events, further reinforcing the value of being a part of the Saddleworld family.
Emily Wonka is the owner and manager of a Saddleworld store in Ipswich Queensland. Emily has been successfully using the Retail Express Point of Sale system with the fully integrated Webstore since 2009. Emily has seen her new business thrive in this competitive industry and continues to look for ways to engage and inspire her loyal customer base.
Challenges Faced by Saddleworld
Finding An All-In-One Solution
Emily started her brand new Saddleworld franchise with a great deal of industry experience behind her. Having spent many years as a passionate customer in equestrian stores, Emily was determined to take advantage of this experience and provide her customers with a full range of quality stock. She was determined to treat all of her clients as individuals, giving them the attention and service she knew they deserved.
To this end, Emily went searching for a Point of Sale system that could deliver her with as many features as possible. Given that the store was started from scratch, Emily had the chance to carefully research which Point of Sale and Inventory Management system would best suit her needs.
The business needed solutions for all aspects including POS, Inventory Management, Loyalty and Marketing, Accounting Integration and Webstore Integration, as none of these systems were in place in the new store. Emily was committed to ensuring her new store was simple to operate, allowing her to spend her time serving her customers, rather than attending to Administration.
Taking Advantage Of Online Sales
Emily understood the importance of giving her customers a chance to purchase stock from her at any time of the day or night. She clearly saw the future success of her business as coming from her ability to give her customers access to her products from the convenience of their own home.
However, as with many small businesses, human resources were limited so Emily was conscious of setting up the Webstore in a way which did not add unnecessary pressure to her staff and her business in the management, fulfilment and tracking of web based orders.
Keeping Track Of Customers
Emily was determined to provide her customers with excellent service, so she needed a system that could collect customer transaction data, as well as the customers personal contact information. This way she could understand her customer’s needs and interact with them on a personal level when they were in her store.
Emily knew that many of her customers had specific requirements for their animals and that these customers were very passionate about meeting the needs of their ‘best friend’. Customers in the equestrian industry tend to be loyal to specific brands, a factor which Emily could take advantage of with the relevant data collected in her POS system.
Managing A Large Inventory
The range of products required to be stocked in any retail equestrian store is significant, given the nature of the industry. Saddleworld Ipswich grew rapidly and Emily found that as a result of her success, inventory levels were steadily increasing. More and more customers were requesting specific stock, adding to the already growing number of line items, making the task of reordering a daunting and time consuming one.
With limited time available from Emily and her staff, Emily knew that a POS and Inventory Management solution must be able to make the task of managing stock simple and time effective. Manually checking and reordering stock was simply not a viable long term solution.
Why Saddleworld Chose Retail Express
Bringing It All Together
“Being a new business, I needed a great point of sale solution, so I did plenty of research and came up with Retail Express,” said Emily. Retail Express provides Retailers with a single, fully integrated system to handle all of the main functions related to a busy and growing Retail store environment.
The cloud based platform gave Emily everything she needed to operate her new store in the one application. Emily could easily and quickly make a sale in the Point of Sale system and manage her stock in the Inventory Management system, while taking advantage of the Loyalty and Marketing application. In addition, Retail Express seamlessly integrates with major Accounting packages and includes a full Webstore Integration, a feature Emily was specifically looking for.
“It’s all there in the one system which makes it really easy for me to use,” said Emily.
A Fully Integrated Webstore Solution
Emily chose to take advantage of the boom in online retail sales by incorporating a Webstore with her Point of Sale system, making this the single point of truth for all inventory. Retail Express seamlessly integrates an e-commerce platform into the Point of Sale system. When sales are made online, the orders are centralised into the main sales order reporting system, meaning there is no need to re-enter customer orders into the Point of Sale system. When stock is sold in-store, the online stock counts down in real-time, and vice versa. When new stock is received into store, the stock appears online instantly and automatically. “The integrated Webstore is probably the main reason I chose Retail Express over other systems,” said Emily.
Loyal Customers Are The Key To Success
Retail Express comes with an inbuilt loyalty function, allowing Emily to automatically allocate loyalty points to valuable customers. “It makes it really easy to have the customers purchase history and details on the system,” said Emily.
During a sale, staff can simply ask customers to provide their contact information which can be entered into the system as part of a normal sale. All transactions can then be allocated to that specific customer, allowing Emily to build a profile and history of her customer base.
When new products arrive in her store, Emily simply searches Retail Express for any customer who may have purchased that product or brand previously. She can then use the built in email program to send those customers a message letting them know to come into her store to make a purchase. This significantly increases the opportunity to generate repeat purchases from loyal customers.
Controlling Stock, Maximising Cash Flow
The inventory re-order function within Retail Express uses intelligent algorithms and takes
many different factors into account to recommend the optimum level of each product to order, such as supplier lead time, stock on hand and average sales volumes. This automation was particularly important to Emily as she had limited time available to dedicate to this important function.
“Reordering and keeping up-to-date with stock is made easy with Retail Express,” said Emily. “I have a very large stock holding so it’s important to make sure I keep this part of the business under control. I saw the return on investment almost instantly.” Stock optimisation with Retail Express typically improves a retailer’s financial return on stock by as much as 8% by reducing wastage from over-stocking, while significantly improving cash-flow.
An added benefit of Retail Express is the ability for Sales staff to quickly see when an out-of-stock product is due to arrive in-store, meaning customers can be provided with an accurate ETA for their purchase rather than an estimate. This allows Saddleworld to provide the high level of customer service they are striving for.
The future for Saddleworld
The Saddleworld brand is going from strength to strength, with more franchise stores being opened up on a regular basis. Emily’s store has also grown and expanded with more and more product lines being added over time. Retail Express has grown with Emily’s business and will continue to add value into the future.