Case Study – The Design Store

Focusing on design not process design

The Design Store owner John Lees rescued the Auckland-based furniture, homeware, decor and gifts company from the recession a decade ago. Back then the company consisted of just one store.

Now John has eight retail outlets plus an online store, and is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest so he and operations manager Diane Xu were on the lookout for a more powerful inventory solution.

The company had been struggling with a standalone front office point of sale system that hadn’t been set up right, and an outdated back office system. The two weren’t integrated but needed to be.

Eighteen months ago, The Design Store began using Cin7, Magento and Xero. Since then online sales have shot up.

Real-time stock data increased sales

Diane credits Cin7 for this, due to its seamless integration with Magento, which means customers can access more accurate stock levels online. “Before Cin7, if people placed an order online, one out of 10 times we would have to ring back a customer saying: ‘sorry the stock is sold out’,” Diane says.

With Cin7, staff now only have to load items once for them to show up on the website, point of sale and backend. Previously, manual work was tripled as they had to load onto each platform separately.

As a result of Cin7, The Design Store can have more items loaded up faster and more consistent stock levels. Customers can see instantly whether no stock is available. “That’s why our online sales have increased.”

Finding a system that fits

When The Design Store first opened, staff used Infusion but it didn’t satisfy their needs as a retail business. “It’s more an accounting software rather than an inventory and point of sale software.”

The Design Store then switched to Advanced Retail, but this system wasn’t right either. Advanced Retail is more focused on the point of sale front and was never set up right or integrated right, Diane says. “Their point of sale was user-friendly and easy to use but our company needed a one-stop-shop. When their server was down, we couldn’t process sales on the weekend.”

Accessing Cin7 from abroad

Diane loves Cin7’s flexibility; as it’s cloud-based, she can access the system anywhere. “Now while on the beach (we wish) to trade shows, we can tap in live updated sales and stock and purchasing records to make instant, informed decisions.”

Diane can also sort out any staff issues or errors from home, abroad or head office. When staff members transferred the wrong product, Diane previously had to visit two separate branches to fix the problem. With Cin7, she can easily fix the problem straight from head office. “It’s really handy.”

Staff couldn’t alter sales with other systems. Instead, they had to reverse the entire sale and start a new one. “But with Cin7, even when a sale has been completed they still can open the sale and alter it, with safeguards in place. I think that flexibility is quite good and quite important to us.”

Kitsets reduce administration

Among other products, The Design Store sells New Zealand-made and imported furniture ranges. Some of the company’s products are customisable – for example customers can choose if they want a four-seater, three-seater or two-and-a-half-seater couch. A specific couch also has colour variations.

Cin7’s Kitsets and bill of materials functions enable staff to alter products. That means that staff no longer have to create an individual code for every single item variation as they did with previous systems. “Normally, point of sale systems can only create individual products so we would have thousands of items.”

Staff happier to use Cin7

Cin7’s Pivot-table Reporting is also beneficial. “With [Cin7] reports, you can drag a specific filter, which will give you a different report rather than have a lot of unuseful information.”

Diane had many staff complaints about previous software solutions. “Why can’t they process sales? Or they had problems in the weekends – certainly [with Cin7] I receive fewer complaints.”

In Diane’s view, Cin7’s support is also superior. “With other systems – when I had an urgent issue – if I rang on the weekend I wouldn’t get a reply until next week. As soon as I send a ticket to Cin7 I normally get an instant response.”

The Design Store

Industry: General/Retail

  • Business Benefits
  • Increased sales
  • Better reporting
  • Electronic seamless input bypassing manual sales input
  • Less administration
  • More efficient
  • Happier staff
  • Less over-selling
“Before Cin7, if people placed an order online, one out of 10 times we would have to ring back a customer saying: sorry the stock is sold out”– Diane Xu, Operations Manager