Hop Revolution

New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes and boutique products, but it’s not yet on the international map for its hop crop. However, if Hop Revolution has anything to say about it, that is about to change. 

Hops, for the uninitiated, are a key ingredient in many beers. A relative of the much more famous cannabis sativa, hops contribute flavour, smell and the tasty bitterness that beer fans crave. Just like grapes and wine, hops have their own special characteristics depending on where they’re grown. With their unusually-high acidity and unique cool-climate flavours, the New Zealand crops that Hop Revolution takes to market are rapidly achieving cult status among craft brewers and their distributors.

“Hop Revolution is a relatively young hop-growing sales and marketing business,” says Hop Revolution Supply Chain and Sales Analyst, Nick Evans. “We have the view that we are going to scale up growing New Zealand hop varieties, and take that to brewers in export markets. At the moment, our hops go predominantly into the US, UK and European markets.” 

Hops are a delicate product. The commercially valuable part is the unfertilized flowers, and for it to retain its qualities for successful export, hops must be carefully prepared within moments of being picked. This means each hop garden must have its own picking and drying equipment., where hops are processed into bales. Once this is done, the hops can be safely transported for further processing to export markets around the world. 

That’s where the Hop Revolution starts. They manage two hop farms, and export the hops to brewers all over the world. 

But the exacting nature of the product, as well as the vagaries of the commodities export market —  where goods tend to be bought in large quantities and are often sold on consignment — means that good inventory management is critical. Hop Revolution have only been running for a couple of years, but they put Cin7 in place after the business had only been selling for only a few months. 

“Getting something in place and helping us manage that inventory was pretty high up the list once we got started,” Nick says.

Early Cin7 implementation means early success 

This isn’t the usual inventory management story. A lot of businesses wait until they’re well established before investing in cloud inventory management software, relying on spreadsheets or manual processes to bridge the gap. But, while spreadsheets are fine right at the start, once things get complicated, relying on them can throw business systems into chaos. Forward-thinking product sellers know that the best time in the business cycle to get started with inventory management is as soon as possible. 

“It was that scaling factor, really,” Nick says. “It was pretty simple to begin with, but as soon as you start ending up in different markets, with three different distribution locations, and with consignment inventories in different countries, it’s a bit too complicated to manage it with a spreadsheet. Having a way to tie all that together is key.” 

Nick’s background in farm technology and supply chain management meant that he was the perfect hire to look after Hop Revolution’s complex inventory and supply chain requirements. Luckily, Cin7 came recommended by a hop grower that already used the software. 

“We did the full review across all the potential options out there, including Unleashed, and landed on Cin7 with the view that if we could tie it in with our other supply chain partners, then that’d make life a lot easier all round. It showed promise early on,” Nick says. 

Cin7 is the cornerstone of a powerful business software stack

While it’s perfectly fine to implement Cin7 in your business without outside help, to get the most out of Cin7, the top product sellers either hire someone with expertise, or use a Cin7 implementation partner. Hop Revolution chose to use Powerhouse Solutions. 

“We used an implementation partner to get us up and running, and that was really good,” Nick says. Despite not having as many products as some Cin7 users – Hop Revolution only had four to start with – the complexities of their market and selling methods meant that having outside help to get up and running was invaluable. What’s more, their implementation partner offered training to the staff members who needed to use Cin7, drastically reducing the time required to use the product to its full potential. 

“The training aspect of it’s really important, I think,” Nick says. “You know, there’s a lot of buttons to click and there’s a lot of ways to do things. It’s good to have a bit of a steer out the gate, to have someone with knowledge and experience show us the way.” 

Cin7 is now the cornerstone of a powerful software stack that powers the entire business, customised to their niche and needs. It functions better than an ERP  —  and without the enormous upfront and ongoing costs associated with legacy ERP systems. 

“Our whole ethos at the moment is to run SaaS for anything and everything,” Nick says. “We’re hooked into Xero. We have a ShipStation integration. We’ve also got GoSweetSpot — because we’re shipping in three different countries at the moment, we’ve just got to have that flexibility to have multiple accounts for different shipping destinations. It’s really useful. Having it all integrate together with Cin7 is giving us that flexibility, ticking all the boxes, and kicking the goals.” 

“Cin7 means I can sleep at night”

Cin7 has proved vital in efficiently managing Hop Revolution’s sales process. After they’ve produced a batch of hops, much of their stock gets allocated to a purchase contract, which may or may not be drawn down for up to 12 months or more. 

“It sits in inventory for quite a long time, but it still can’t be sold because it’s allocated to a customer,” Nick says. 

Because of this, Cin7’s Open to Sell functionality is a god-send. It means Hop Revolution always knows how much of their stock they can sell to new customers, while still completing open orders. “We love the order tracking and Open to Sell, as it’s pretty powerful for knowing what’s available to sell.” Nick says.

Cin7’s market-leading reporting capability is also hugely beneficial, giving Hop Revolution — which often has stock in multiple stages of production and sales all over the world — the transparency it needs to to make decisions. 

“We pull a lot of reports,” Nick says. “It’s useful to be able to have multiple locations and manage inventory in all the different ones. Of course, that’s what all inventory solutions do, but the beauty of Cin7 is it’s flexible and customizable, and the guys are great at tweaking stuff if you ask for it.” 

Nick says the most mission-critical feature of Cin7 is the way it allows them to maintain order integrity right across the supply and sales chain. As sellers need to be able to order up to 48 months in advance of receiving goods. Cin7 allows Hop Revolution to load in a sales order “then and there” and track it in advance, into the future. 

“That’s got a lot of value to us. Pricing fluctuates year to year, but if we know that that customer’s pricing on that day is locked in, then that gives us good traceability back through the process,” Nick says. 

“The orders we process are relatively high value. And it’s reassuring to sit securely in the knowledge that Cin7 is storing those orders that have been placed years before.”

Once Cin7 had been implemented for a while, it became a treasure trove of historical data on how Hop Revolution’s business operated, giving them the ability to tweak their existing operations for maximum efficiency and make predictions about the future. 

“It’s not hard to go back and track and trace stuff with a few clicks. That to me is really powerful when you’re just trying to work backwards and see what’s gone on,” Nick says. “Now, we can start to forecast three years into the future, where our demand is, and do it via location, and do it by customer. It’s one thing that is really crucial, and means I can sleep at night.” 

Heading off supply chain dysfunction with accurate inventory tracking

Since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains worldwide, product sellers are scrambling for more visibility into their operations, so both they and their customers can stay across shocks. For this, Cin7 has been absolutely critical. It can’t make the ships sail faster, or clear backlogs at ports, but it can tell you exactly where your inventory is at any point in time, and allow you to set customer expectations. 

“I think it’s everything, right? You’ve got customers who are relying on you getting orders right, and getting them to them at the right time. We only act as an agent for our farm owners, so we need to be able to show them that we’re managing their inventory in a good way, and accurately, and keeping track of all of it all,” Nick says. “For me, a really good aspect of Cin7 is being able to pull a report out of the program, and show our customers what’s happened and where it’s happened.” 

The upshot, Nick says, is that Hop Revolution’s customers know when they’ve placed the order, that the order is being tracked well, and that they’re going to deliver when they say they’re going to deliver. And when things go wrong that are outside of Hop Revolution’s control, then it’s easy to keep customers across events. 

“The great thing with Cin7 is, you can update customers in bulk, you can keep people in the loop. It’s useful to be able to send out a bulk email and just say, “Hey. Look, this stuff’s been delayed. Here’s an ETA.” 

Get the visibility your product business needs with Cin7

Hop Revolution is happy to recommend Cin7 to other commodity businesses looking for an inventory management solution. Before choosing a solution, Nick suggests “looking at the software pretty hard,” and making sure that you have your workflows and product journeys mapped out so you can test them against the software’s functionality in a demo environment. 

“Get an implementation partner, or get a solid work plan in place to demo through all the scenarios you can,” Nick says. “Don’t worry so much about the customization and stuff to get you started because that can come down the track. Just get that real core workflow nailed down first.”

Hop Revolution says that the time invested in understanding how your business processes tie together in Cin7, as well as training in and learning the software, will reap huge dividends for the business down the track. Reporting is a critical aspect, and can be customised to an individual business’ needs. 

“Cin7 is a handy tool for giving you that visibility. That’s one of the key parts of running a good supply chain, right? It gives you the ability to track and trace, and shows what you need to know at any given time. And I think that’s really powerful. It’s awesome,” Nick says. 

“It’s a solid product and it just keeps getting better. It comes with my recommendation.” 

New Cin7 Study: Spotting the Selling Opportunities this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again. But for many product sellers, there’s an unexpected Grinch preventing holiday gifts from making their way to customers: the supply chain.

Supply chain delays have been making headlines for nearly two years. Starting with drastic shortages and hoarding, through the Ever Given and the backlog of container ships off the California coast, the ongoing string of bottlenecks has caused frustration for unsuspecting consumers and headaches for product sellers. There’s a mainstream perception of the supply chain as increasingly unreliable and unnecessarily expensive.

These disruptions have shaped product seller actions going into the holiday season. Sellers have embraced early Black Friday kick-offs and warning consumers to get their holiday shopping done early to avoid shipping delays and shortages. But are consumers paying attention to their advice?

According to a recent survey from Cin7, the answer is yes. We surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults to help us better understand how Americans view the latest supply disruptions and their sentiment around the industry overall. The results can help guide how product sellers navigate the end of a tumultuous shopping season and adapt their inventory practices as a result.

The topline takeaways include:

They’re Shopping Earlier

58% of people are aware of supply chain delays and have shifted their shopping behavior as a result. Over half of respondents (55%) started their holiday shopping within the September/October timeframe, with only 25% of consumers waiting for the unofficial kick-off of Black Friday deals to hit before actually purchasing gifts.

But their changed behavior came with a tradeoff for product sellers to execute on their orders: while 65% of consumers expect to pay more this holiday season, 53% would return the purchase and want a refund if it didn’t arrive in time for the holidays.

They’re Shopping Local

Consumers may have moved up their shopping timetable, but the majority are still worried about shopping online. In fact, only 25% of shoppers DON’T have concerns about online shopping – the top concerns being the cost of shipping, speed of shipping and package theft.

In response, 87% of respondents are making the effort to shop local and shop at small businesses. 47% are doing so more than last year, 40% noting about the same. The majority of people (55%) are also paying attention to the location/locality of where their purchases are coming from. And 63% of people would prefer to see and touch a product in-person before buying it.

People don’t buy small and local, however, because they’re necessarily woke to Amazon or wary of big retail. Only 14% of people don’t shop at Amazon because of ethical or environmental concerns. In fact, 49% don’t have any concerns at all, and 31% have concerns but still shop on Amazon.

For product sellers, it’s critical to understand how consumer behavior is shifting this holiday shopping season. They can adapt to shifts by having a variety of channels and options to make all buying possibilities a reality for consumers. And for those consumers making more of an effort to shop small and local, product sellers must lean into this sentiment to navigate the tail end of the shopping season that has the potential to go “out with a bang” beyond Small Business Saturday.

As Product Sellers move to adapt to the “new normal” of consumer behavior and look to have continued success in the future, it is critical that they have the solution infrastructure to successfully scale their business. With more businesses taking advantage of eCommerce to expand their offering by channel and region – utilizing the right software to handle inventory and order management is crucial to an efficient multichannel operation. Adequate planning, management and execution of supply chain movements will ensure fulfillment capabilities across multiple channels and help suppliers take advantage of larger customer bases.

We’ve all been impacted by supply chain challenges, but it’s the season of good cheer after all. By diversifying inventory and changing selling strategies in response to consumer behavior, this tumultuous holiday season can still be merry and bright.

Leveraging Technical Talent to Boost Profitability



Cornering the market with a can’t lose product line is not enough to generate profitability and ongoing growth. Today’s retailers require a highly knowledgeable staff with fresh expertise ranging across product, customer support, digital marketing, finance and IT.

Sellers must hire the right technical talent to manage their business and increase operational efficiency. Having a strong technical team will always improve the chances of success.

Our recent industry study of over 4,000 online eCommerce sellers and 7,000 Cin7 customers gave us critical insights into specific business practices of the most successful retailers.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the report chapter that focuses on the importance of technical talent. The below-graph depicts why technical talent is must for growth associated with operational efficiency.

How a company obtains, shares, and leverages business insights can significantly impact its capacity to grow.

 

How will I know when it’s time to contract with or hire technical talent?

  • Lack of growth and profitability.
  • Feeling stuck.
  • No solid business plan.
  • Feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
  • Unable to accomplish your business goals.
  • Doubting your skill-set.

If you are facing any of these challenges, then now is the right time to consult with a technology coach and benefit from their guidance.

 

How Technical Resources Can Help Increase Business Efficiency:

Identify Areas of Improvement

Hire coaches and consultants experienced in advising market leading product sellers. An experienced technical advisor can quickly identify improvements to internal processes that result in greater efficiency and profitability. Your technical stack may need additional or more modern versions of important software programs. A forward-thinking technical expert with experience in your specific market or product category can identify the common issues seen in your business and put you on track for expansion. The objective viewpoint of an impartial outsider can help isolate what’s not working for your business and suggest practical solutions.

Regain your Confidence

If an honest look inward tells you that you’ve lost confidence in your ability to manage your business, it may be time to follow the advice of a technology coach. A technology coach or technical hire will directly help you build effective strategies that put your business back on track to succeed and take it to the next level.

 

Question Your Approach

Running your business in a personal vacuum without any unbiased guidance can hold you back. Bringing in technical resources will give you perspective and reveal new options and strategies.

Hiring a technology coach will help you to move beyond the status quo by adopting current, relevant technical solutions that solve business challenges and boost operational efficiencies.

An innovative technology coach can see the bigger picture and plan for the future of your business and assist you in setting some big goals for growth.

 

Getting Unstuck

If you feel stuck – don’t worry! A skilled technical coach will help you figure out where you are stuck and how to overcome any blocks. A coach who combines experience with an analytical approach and creativity will make every effort to get your business moving forward again.

Define Business Goals

It is essential to update your business goals on a regular basis and modify your business plan accordingly. If you’re busy handling day to day business tasks, a technology coach can step in and help you refresh and prioritize your business goals. They will also help you define the tasks you should be focusing on and improve your time management skills.

Providing Accountability

If you find yourself awash in to-dos and days that fly by without a feeling of deep accomplishment, it may be time to leverage an accountability partner. In addition to defining a clear path forward for your business, touching base with a skilled technical coach on a regular basis can keep you on track to accomplish the specific business goals that will add up to greater success.

Coming up with Great Ideas

Increasing the number of people on staff who can bring creative ideas to your business will directly impact its growth. A technical team that stays current with the latest trends in software automation can streamline outdated, manual processes freeing you and your other teams up to focus on their specialties. It may be time to abandon unproductive assumptions in order to pursue more profitable priorities.

Brainstorming and Feedback Sessions

Brainstorming and feedback sessions are essential to developing better business practices. Regular sessions encourage business owners to identify new challenges and come up with solutions. Your technology coach can be your sounding board to hear your ideas and they will share their thoughts and concepts.

Well Rounded Guidance

Everybody needs guidance at some point in life. This is especially true in business. Your technical resources should be able to provide you with advice and business tips. Their input will ultimately help you grow your business and keep it on the path to success.

 

Summing Up

Keeping all these points in mind will take your business to new heights of success.

Check out these success stories included in the recent report-

  • How Meghan Fabulous gave manual business processes an extreme makeover resulting in 69% revenue growth
  • Halkin helps Arms of Eve embrace Cin7

Download our report to read both the success stories in detail!

Get a demo

See how Cin7 will help you increase your efficiency and sell more

One of our team will walk you through a solution, customized for your business goals.

Retail Gets Back to Work

While many organizations had planned to bring employees back into offices by September 2021, the Delta variant reminded them yet again of the pandemic’s watchword: agility. Many employers have now delayed re-opening.

It’s yet another challenge for retailers responding to changes in products ordered online as employees prepare to return to the workplace.

“Retailers have to be nimble because things are changing fast and it’s not always obvious which way they’re going,” says Craig Ross, vice president of sales for the e-commerce platform offered by TrueCommerce.

Even so, retailers already see an uptick in certain types of “back to work” products purchased online by both businesses and consumers. Some products, including cosmetics and workplace apparel, are in categories that saw a significant drop in sales when people began working from home. Others, such as computer hardware and other technology gear, see changes in who’s making the purchase, the size of the order, and where it’s being delivered.

The challenge for some retailers is the flip-flop between business-to-consumer and business-to-business ordering, reports Samuel Parker, product evangelist at inventory management platform provider Cin7. For example, work-from-home employees who needed to outfit their new remote workspaces typically ordered what they needed online for home delivery and were reimbursed by their employers.

To meet that demand, some brands that typically sell wholesale to retailers began shifting to direct-to-consumer fulfillment. Today, with offices staffing up again, those brands need to maintain that option for those working remotely while returning to filling wholesale orders, too.

Parker is seeing this play out at his Colorado workplace, where people who returned during the summer had new monitors waiting. “During the pandemic, the manufacturer wasn’t selling these monitors wholesale to Office Depot and Staples—it had shifted to selling directly to individuals,” he says. Now they have to resume pallet shipping alongside pick-and-pack fulfillment.

Amazon Business reports an increase in office furniture orders as organizations ease the transition back to the workplace with creature comforts that include ergonomic chairs and standing desks. They’re also purchasing other tech products such as videoconferencing headsets for office use.

“Video conference-based work is still going strong and will continue to be strong even with a return to the office because most people will still be in virtual meetings from here on out,” notes Petra Schindler-Carter, director and general manager for Amazon Business.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS 2.0

Retailers are also struggling to understand whether workplace dress codes are relaxing after 18 months of remote work hoodies and pajama bottoms.

Wall Street workers have ditched suits in favor of a more casual look—jeans with a blazer, for example, the New York Times reports. And apparel retailers who figure it out can’t get inventory quickly enough because of supply chain challenges.

“Before the pandemic, retailers could switch seasons and get new apparel from Asia to shelves in four to six weeks,” says Ross. “Now, it’s not only a question of getting the right mix, but they also have to be right about that earlier because lead times are a lot longer today.”

And where do those products get delivered? Pre-pandemic, many online shoppers had orders sent to the office for reasons that include protecting their goods from porch thieves. With hybrid work schedules and fluid delivery timelines, it can be difficult to decide which delivery address to select for that new business-casual outfit.

The delivery location decision could lead to a facilities challenge. “What happens if your mailroom isn’t fully staffed every day?” asks Krish Iyer, head of industry relations for ShipStation. “This can have a cascading effect on receiving and loading docks. I don’t think enough employers have thought about it, especially small to mid-sized enterprises with limited space.”

Retailers can reduce anxiety about delivery dates by giving e-commerce customers in-cart delivery timelines to help them make more informed decisions, Iyer says. Make it possible for shoppers to change delivery addresses or dates mid-order with intercept tools such as those offered by UPS and FedEx.

Iyer also advocates for moving inventory as close to the customer as possible so that it’s easier to pinpoint delivery timing.

But warehouse space is at a premium (see sidebar). Kaspien, which sells private label products and assists other brands selling on large retail platforms, had to make warehouse adjustments to meet back-to-work and other seasonal demands after Amazon reduced its available warehouse space.

“We had to diversify our warehouse and fulfillment options to two to three other dropship locations rather than using Amazon,” says Denise Abraham, Kaspien’s director of private label sourcing.

As part of this strategy, she uses sales data to create “heat maps” that help determine what inventory to place in which warehouses. It’s a strategy that Inna Kuznetsova, CEO of 1010data, recommends because product demand is shifting based on regions that are and aren’t returning to offices.

“There’s a huge need to look at the data on a granular level,” she says. “The big chains have started looking at this by state, ZIP code, and community to drive adjustments on a granular level.”

LABOR DAY

Warehouses and fulfillment centers are getting creative to address a labor shortage, too. “Companies struggling with a labor shortage might consider temporary workers, going to agencies for help, or outsourcing a portion of their operations to a third-party logistics provider,” advises Angela Jones, assistant professor of supply chain management at Howard University School of Business.

Agile. Nimble. Resourceful. It’s more than gymnastics commentary. It’s the strategy e-commerce retailers need in place to help people return to workplaces that might look a little different than before—in more ways than one.

 

Originally published by Inbound Logistics here.

3 Examples of Creative Brick-and-Mortar

What is retail in this day-and-age? eCommerce has changed the landscape so quickly, it may be difficult for small or new businesses to see how or if a physical store fits in their strategy.

Yes, the customers are out there and they continue to shop in store more than online, at least for the time being. But there has to be a good reason and that’s where creative brick-and-mortar comes in.

For people like me who’ve never made and sold our own product, this seems like a big challenge. And I have to admire anyone who can marry their passion with a great product to come up with a creative brick-and-mortar solution.

True, there are plenty of valid retail formats that businesses can explore to stretch their creative brick-and-mortar thinking. Pop-up shops, markets, the store-within-a-store.

But creative brick-and-mortar goes beyond opening a door and hoping customers will step inside. It’s about knowing who that customer is first, what they want, and how best to get it to them. At least that’s what some recent examples of creative brick-and-mortar thinking seem to accomplish.

Creative Brick-and-Mortar in the Right Location

New York City commuters are always on the go and there are a ton of choices for them to quickly pick up a snack or a drink on their way. But New Stand launched its chain of convenience stores in 2015 to target millennials looking for healthier options when in a rush. New Stand set up small but sleek shops at busy locations where they sell snacks and a mix of other items, like natural beauty products, headphones, and greeting card, and ties in its brand with an app that signs customers up as members to receive special deals. The strategy has attracted customers and the company plans to open 20 more locations this year.

The Unique Product Offering

You probably know people who have eaten dough before it was baked into cookies. You may even be one of those people. Kristen Tomlan knew and launched an online business called DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections to match the public appetite for such a, well, decadent treat. When she realized there were no other stores in New York City that offered a similar product, she decided to open a brick-and-mortar flagship store, capitalizing on a niche market with a recognizable brand and a creative product experience.

Creative Brick-and-Mortar is Also Digital

Physical retail has to adopt digital strategies to unify their online and in-store shopping experience and customers expect it. A recent survey of 2,000 shoppers showed that 78% will buy or reserve a product before going into a store. While the above examples focused on small creative brick-and-mortar, a US furniture chain called The Mine has adopted technology to give customers 3D views of their luxury home furnishings products, with the goal of “wow”-ing customers over their products, whether they come to the store or shop online.

5 Best Ways to Attract Customers to your Retail Shop

5 sure-fire tips for getting more shoppers through your door.

The primary goal of any retail business is to attract and retain customers. A steady flow of new customers will allow you to grow your business. Here are five tips to help you improve in-store traffic.

1. Store layout

Having an effective store layout is essential to keep customers in your retail shop for longer. According to Shopify, the threshold area is the first space the customers will step into upon arriving at your store so you need to make sure that this area stands out the most- in terms of lighting, display, and color, to draw customers in.

It is a known fact in the retail environment that 90% of customers will subconsciously turn to the right when entering a store, therefore this section will give the most impact on their first impression and needs extra attention in terms of what you choose to display and how you display it.

Another thing to keep in mind: create a walking path that leads customers through the whole store. This will allow them to view more of your products, increasing the chances that they will make a purchase. Bob Phibbs, an owner of the Retail Doctor, also suggests minimizing store counters as they are often seen as psychologically separating the store owner or sales clerk from customers. This tends to create an “us vs. them” mentality and sends the wrong signals. The employees should be walking the floor to make your store less intimidating, more welcoming, livelier and packed.

2. Online presence

According to Retail News, many consumers won’t even consider shopping with a brand that doesn’t have a strong online presence.

A website is just the start. In this day and age when social media has taken over the internet, businesses have the opportunity to reach thousands of customers instantaneously. By using social media, you are allowing yourself to reach a wider range of target customers.

It is essential to maintain your online presence by regularly posting on your social media accounts and updating your website. Interesting content, imagery and exclusive deals will help you build a loyal following.

Auckland fashion store, Glamour Boutique created a way to bring online and in-store together- they provide a FaceTime service for customers. With computers set up in their store, the staff is able to chat with customers, face-to-face, show them the latest arrivals and give them a more personalized shopping experience. Their customers love this feature as they are able to make their online shopping experience more enjoyable. As a result, Glamour Boutique also noticed a significant increase in sales and repeat business because of this.

Customers tend to remember their experience while shopping more than anything. Since the employees are the ones representing your shop’s image, it is important that they deliver outstanding customer service and professionalism, according to Insider Monkey. This can be done by first building a relationship with your employees, developing a bond, listening to any of their suggestions and possibly implementing an incentive reward for motivation. Satisfied employees are more likely to put in more effort while working and achieve noticeable results.

3. Training staff consistently

Customers tend to remember their experience while shopping more than anything. Since the employees are the ones representing your shop’s image, it is important that they deliver outstanding customer service and professionalism, according to Insider Monkey. This can be done by first building a relationship with your employees, developing a bond, listening to any of their suggestions and possibly implementing an incentive reward for motivation. Satisfied employees are more likely to put in more effort while working and achieve noticeable results.

4. Having a sale

Sales always tend to be a big appeal to any customer. They can be easily swayed by that sense of urgency that comes with limited time offers. Start by contacting your customer database through an email newsletter informing them of upcoming sales and other events they might be interested in. As for your retail store, make it obvious that there is a sale going on by posting up huge sale signs in red.

Ever wonder why the color red is always used for sale signs? According to a Shopify, a study was done to show that people tend to react faster when they see the color red due to the fact that it is programmed in our minds as the cue for danger. This is why retailers use this color to grab customers’ attention.

Remember to also use a strong call to action for effective results such as “Be quick” or “Buy now”. This should get customers rushing through your door in no time. According to Shopify, a case study was done by the team at ConversionXL which showed that by adding a bit of urgency to their offers, they were able to increase sales by 332%. All sales promotion series have a positive consumption effect, which clearly confirms the assumption that sales promotions increase the average sales due to the consumption effect of stockpiling.

5. Loving your customers

You need to make customers feel valued and appreciated so that they will become loyal customers of your company. According to Forbes, Christopher Barnard, President, and Co-Founder of Points a company dedicated to making loyalty programs more valuable and engaging believe that offering points or rewards are a key to attracting repeat business.

Not only do customers feel like they are part of an exclusive group but it gives them an opportunity to save money and keep them continuously purchasing at your retail store. Building relationships with customers and delivering excellent customer service should be the priority and eventually, more people will learn of your company through positive word-of-mouth.

If you run a brick and mortar store or are an online retailer, a reliable and efficient inventory management software is critical to the success of your business helping you easily track all inventory activity, avoid costly errors, and stay well-organized. Ensuring that your warehouse operations run in the most productive way possible, and everything remains ordered and controlled within your warehouse is another important aspect of warehouse management and maintaining an effective online presence. To optimally control this part of their supply chain, most online merchants go for powerful warehouse management software.

If you would like to know how Cin7 can help you with retail inventory management, then sign up for our Free Trial now.

The Winery

In early November 2016, The Winery took a leap of faith and switched their entire inventory management system to Cin7. It was a radical move for the Queenstown, New Zealand retailer,  with the busy Christmas and summer tourist season coming. But for director Rick Nelson it wasn’t a moment too soon.

“Our website was growing, and we were frustrated with the point of sale (POS) system that we had,” he says. “I sat down one day and listed everything we had to do for a sale, and there were things that we were doing manually four times. There was just so much duplication that it was doing my head in.”

You could understand his frustration. The Winery is New Zealand’s largest specialist online wine store, a blend of retail, tourism, hospitality and ecommerce. It opened its doors in 2005 with the brand-new-in-NZ concept of self-serve wine-tasting for retail visitors. Today, its online store sells a range of around 850 wines to more than 40 countries.

Complicating matters further is the fact that wine is inherently a difficult commodity to track in inventory.

“We sell a product that is, quite frankly, a pain,” Rick says. “It’s not like selling widgets — when you buy wine, every vintage is a new SKU. Because  different vintages of the same wine are literally like apples and onions. The 2018 vintage, the 2019 vintage — they’re not the same product at all. They may be the same grape varietal, but they’re a product of the season, the winemaker’s techniques, and enormous numbers of other variables.”

Because there are finite quantities of a given vintage, Rick says a wine retailer needs to keep a careful eye on supply. If a given product’s availability isn’t clear to customers, it’s easy to disappoint.

All this means that having an accurate understanding of inventory is absolutely essential. By 2016, it was clear that The Winery had well and truly outgrown its increasingly antiquated POS and inventory management system that was still DOS based. It could not integrate with the growing ecommerce website, and the need to manually duplicate information from one system in another left the door wide open to human error, not to mention the inefficiency of doing the same task over and over.

Rick discovered Cin7 through Xero. “I put it on the radar for implementation after the summer of 2017, thinking that timing would be best once we got through Christmas and the peak summer tourism season. But I was just so frustrated with what we were doing, I decided to pull the trigger and go live at the start of November 2016.”

“Cin7 was exactly what we needed”

“It would be fair to say that it threw a cat amongst the pigeons,” says Rick. “But we got to grips with it pretty quick, within a couple of weeks.”

The difference was immediate. “Cin7 was exactly what we needed.”

 

Fast-forward to 2020, and just before New Zealand went into its first Covid-19 lockdown The Winery opened its second store in Arrowtown. Then, during lockdown, Rick and his team created a second, more domestically-focused direct-to-consumer ecommerce site for Kiwis wanting more wine options than could be found at the supermarket.

Today, The Winery runs both online stores on BigCommerce, and things are set up so a single click allows orders to flow to Cin7. It’s a far cry from the days when details had to be entered manually up to four times — everything’s pulled through the online order, then sent through to StarshipIt and NZPost’s eShip for delivery. “Our customer enters that information now, rather than us, and it’s automatically passed all the way through the system. The integration and the customization have been great for us to link components of our business process together.”

The efficiency has been a real game-changer. Even opening a second retail store location and a second direct-to-consumer (D2C) online store was “pretty painless”, says Rick, thanks to Cin7.

The reporting abilities have also been particularly helpful: with Cin7, it’s possible to generate time-based reports on stock and sales for each supplier and create purchase orders directly from that report.

“The purchase order loads up in Cin7, my accounts person does a check of that against the physical invoice, and we scan the invoice through to Xero. With the two linked together, we never have to type in the supplier’s name or what we’re paying them. So yeah, we’ve saved time on that side as well,” Rick says.

Rick is also a fan of a reporting feature that shows stock in different locations, so excess stock in one store can be easily transferred to another. Before Cin7, to do stock transfers, they’d have to type all the information into email and put up with endless back-and-forth.

“Now it’s all automated straight out of Cin7,” Rick says.

The visibility available through Cin7’s reporting has made it much easier to manage The Winery’s various systems. “It enables you to see what’s actually happening in the business and make plans accordingly. Particularly in this last year with Covid, cash flow management and not being overstocked has been really important,” Rick says.

“There are a number of checks and balances in our process to make sure that we offer the right level of service, and without Cin7, we’d need a lot more people today to manage the business. So there’s definitely efficiencies, plus eliminating all that duplication and human error.”

Keeping on in the time of Covid-19

New Zealand’s 2020 lockdown saw many businesses scrambling to find ways to continue operating under government restrictions. Companies that couldn’t figure out how to operate remotely, or from home, risked going belly-up.

Rick says that it was because of Cin7 that they were even able to keep filling orders. “Going back to 2016, we would have to log in remotely to the backend computer because it was the inventory server — that would’ve created some problems,” he laughs.

As it was, Rick spent lockdown in Dunedin with his family and kept the business running, while his staff were able to go into work under the restrictions in place and transact orders.

The ability to track business in real time from anywhere is something he’s especially thankful for. Wherever he is — be it at his Queenstown home or somewhere else — it’s easy to check daily sales and transactions any time and to know exactly how much product to get at a given moment.

“Because Cin7 is cloud-based, I don’t need to be onsite with the business. I’m sitting at home right now, and this is where I do most of the ordering and getting an overview of the business,” Rick says.

“It’s just the way things are these days. If people are still trapped in systems that don’t allow them to do that, then they’re going to be pretty pleased when they change to Cin7 and get it, because they’re living in another age.”

Integrations + customizability = efficiency

The Winery’s success with Cin7 has come from three things: Cin7’s integrations, its customizability, and the efficiency that comes from those things.

“Cin7 just gives you so much more efficiency,” Rick says. “There’s time saved in processing orders, whether they be e-commerce or in-store.

For businesses looking to integrate Cin7, Rick says the process is easy, if you approach it in the right way.

“Start by analyzing your business, your processes. If you understand those well, then I think it’s pretty quick to get to the bottom of whether Cin7 can be adapted to do what you need — and it seems very adaptable from what I’ve seen,” Rick says. “The beauty of Cin7 is that it’s very customizable, without breaking it, and that’s pretty key.”

Last thoughts?

“Cin7 is highly integratable with lots of leading platforms that allow you to customize it to tailor and suit your business. The integration and the customization have been great for us to link components of our business process together. Now Cin7’s at the centre of it all,” Rick says.

“It’s a comprehensive solution for a lot of businesses, from warehousing to retail to e-commerce platforms. So yeah, well done, guys. Good job.”

The Winery Factsheet

About The Winery

5 - 15

Employees

999

Items / SKUs sold per month

$5m

Revenue per year

The Winery opened in late 2005 in central Queenstown, with a unique wine-tasting component, specializing in New Zealand wines . It introduced to Kiwis the concept of a self-service wine store, based on an Italian system in which customers can choose to taste a variety of wines — or even have a glass or two. Today, with stores in both Queenstown and Arrowtown, The Winery proudly delivers New Zealand’s best wines to over 40 countries.

Employees: 5 – 15

Revenue: $1m – $5m per year

Sales order volume: 500 – 999 items / SKUs sold per month

The Winery uses Cin7:

  • To integrate and streamline operations
  • For more accurate inventory management
  • For more efficiency in inventory operations

Cin7 helps with the following areas of the business: 

  • Demand forecasting/purchasing

Key areas of business investment and/or growth include:

  • Ecommerce — online stores
  • Retail — brick-and-mortar stores

Accounting integration:  Xero

Ecommerce integration: BigCommerce

Payment provider integrations: PayPalWindcave, Stripe

Shipping integration: Starshipit, eShip