Recently we were able to chat with Morgan Lashley, Co-Owner of Vestique Boutiques. Vestique is a chain of women’s fashion boutiques across the Carolinas and today, they are announcing their integration of Springboard Retail into their operations. Launched in 2010, Vestique has grown quickly and needed a new system to meet their demands as a multi-channel business.
Q: Firstly, can you give us a very brief description of the business in your own words?
ML: We are a trendy and affordable women’s clothing and accessories boutique. We currently have seven locations in North and South Carolina, and two right here in Charlotte, NC.
Q: What can you tell us about your experience with Springboard Retail technology? How has choosing to convert to this new software benefited your company so far?
ML: We started with Springboard Retail’s Software in April of last year and it has really changed our business for the better. It helps with all facets of our business, especially our record keeping and buying because we’re able to pull sophisticated reports that we were never able to pull before. It has also really affected our bottom line.
The system of checks and balances that Springboard has provided us has been great. It has allowed the managers the ability to check back over everything, and you are also able to log in whenever you make a sale. So with that we are able to give credit to our associates, which helps with the sales side of things since we are able to give them the accolades that they deserve. We are also able to see when someone makes a mistake. Before, we did not have a sophisticated enough inventory management system that allowed us to know when an item went out of our doors.
Q: Were there any challenges or special considerations as your employees learned to use Springboard? Any surprises?
ML: The system we were using prior to Springboard was extremely difficult to use and also very intricate. Our inventory moves and changes so quickly and Springboard is great for us because it doesn’t take very long to input a product. That way we do not feel like we have wasted time entering a specific product’s information that we will never see again, since we are a boutique and we usually only see a specific product come through one time.
Q: What was the primary driver or objective for you in selecting Springboard? How do you expect this switch to help your business grow and what expectations do you have?
ML: We wanted advanced reporting tools that could help us with buying and an easy to use POS system. We have a lot of part-time and also first-time employees that work in our boutiques so we wanted something that people could easily learn across the board. Springboard is very easy to use and it does not require that you have ample computer skills to do well with the system.
It is also really easy to open a new location with this system; we’ve actually added three new locations since we started with Springboard, so that is a huge plus for us.
Q: Are you doing anything special in mobile? People talk about proximity marketing a lot these days. Is that on your radar? Using NFC or beacons or location technologies?
ML: That is on our radar. Our full focus for the year 2015 is solely e-commerce. We do have a plan for a new and improved mobile website for later in the year after we have fully moved our website over to Springboard. Also, using location technologies is definitely something we will be integrating.
Q: How about loyalty or rewards? Have you taken any steps on that front? Any challenges or observations that you would like to share?
ML: We are actually looking into loyalty programs right now. That is another thing that Springboard has helped us with. We now input every single customer’s name and email address that makes a purchase, and we can pull up their history in seconds. So we do offer discounts and incentives for customers that are in our system. Also, we just launched a new Instagram account that we are currently promoting, Vestique VIP, which is exclusively for our most loyal shoppers. There they will have access to exclusive deals and rewards, only available to them. However there is some resistance when we ask for an email address, although we never send spam or too much email.
Q: For others who might be in similar businesses, what advice would you have as they consider new technologies? Also, what technologies would you like to see to help your business grow even faster?
ML: We are working with Springboard to produce some reports that are more specific to Vestique. We made a mistake with our initial POS system, so I would definitely say not to sign any long-term contracts before you get a chance to make sure it works well for your company. Also, I would recommend getting a system that is very user friendly. In our arena spending time training a system is not time well spent.