Case Study: Superette

Boutique fashion retail chain

“To be self sufficient and know you weren’t gonna be hit with a huge chargeable support bill each month was a welcome change… plus the staff loved it!”

While checking his email at an internet cafe during a holiday in Bali this year, James Rigden, co-founder of New Zealand boutique retail chain, Superette, walked past a complete stranger browsing the website for Vend, the point of sale software used since January by James’ three Superette stores back home. Surprised, and more than a little curious, he introduced himself and struck up a conversation with the man.

“Turns out it was an Australian art dealer that had shops in Sydney, Melbourne and had a store in Bali.” James explains. “He ran Lightspeed in Australia and was looking at it for their Bali store as a trial. I went to work on him and gave him the spiel about how great Vend and the team behind it are!”

No stranger to adventure himself, James and business partner Rickie Dee started Superette at just 19 years of age, with a shoestring budget, a collection of fashion, artwork and accessories sourced from Australia, and a lot of youthful energy. In the nine years since they have grown Superette into an iconic Kiwi fashion brand, employing twenty-five people across 2 cities, three stores and a head office.

The journey taken by the pair that led them to choose Vend point of sale for Superette began with the need for a more comprehensive, modern and integrated ecommerce store. At the time they were using a desktop POS software system called SVI, supplied by Australian company QQQ.

“It was a good system,” says Rickie Dee, “but it took so much time every day to manually update online sales into our point of sale. We had to employ a full time inventory person just to manage it.”

James explains, “I was really keen on Magento for our web store, and wanted to upgrade to it from our existing ecommerce platform, Zencart. We approached our then point of sale supplier about building an integration to our online store, but it just didn’t seem like something they were interested in. We were a relatively small retailer, and they had some really big clients. They eventually came back to our agent with some price estimates for the work, but it was all starting to look very, very expensive.”

James began researching point of sale platforms that would integrate with Magento. They initially invested heavily in Microsoft Dynamics but after months of delays, hardware purchases, and bugs, they found themselves back at square one.

So James explored options that would work with their existing IT infrastructure.

“We were all running Macs so I did a bit of research on Lightspeed, and spoke to a local rep about our needs. He said they could price the customisation work for us, but for our requirements, maybe we should check out a new product, which was getting quite a bit of press at the time, called Vend.”

James signed up for a free trial account and tested Vend during December of 2010, then began setting up products, prices and images. A process which he found “incredibly easy, much easier than any point of sale system I had previously tried.”

James was excited by the API and the possibility of integrating with their new web store, and the team were a great help during the setup process.

“After the problems that we went though from the previous 12 months anything that happened with Vend was a breeze. To have help desk reply virtually instantly and generally want to fix your problem was a great change to what we had become accustomed.”

They launched Vend less than a month later, in early January 2011, to coincide with a new season and fresh inventory. There were staff to be trained and new processes to work through, but overall, the learning curve for the adoption of a new, multi-location business platform was remarkably easy, which made for an smooth transition.

“This biggest reservation from staff was uncertainty about how a web product could perform as a stable, reliable point of sale, which was quickly overcome once they began using it.”

“And staff loved it! Everyone is used to surfing the net and in reality it’s just another website that involves very little training, and more common sense.”

And with new features being released every few weeks, James & Rickie have been able to contribute valuable feedback from the shop floor toward product development, helping Vend grow to meet their, and other customers’, business needs.

Working with their ecommerce supplier, iLook.co.nz, Superette have also now integrated Vend with their Magento web store, through the Vend API – allowing syncronisation of sales, inventory and pricing.

James says that he often gets phone calls and emails from other retailers, keen to hear his experience and feedback about Vend – a recommendation he is only too happy to give.

Wherever in the world he happens to find them.

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Interested in submitting your business for a Vend case study? Get in touch with the Vend team for details.

About Nick Houldsworth

Chief Marketing Officer at Vend. Husband. Father of three. Beard grower. Mandolin player. Tuesday drinker. Love helping retailers the world over grow great businesses.

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