Speciality retail is unique – it has its own demands and challenges, particularly around knowledgeable staff, a personal customer experience and an unmatched depth of stock. After all, these are the differentiators that drive customers to a specialty store in the first place and the benefits they demand and expect.

Over the last couple of weeks I have shared with you some of the insights I have gained through talking to iVend’s speciality retail customers, and in particular some of their success stories.

Continuing this theme, I was talking recently with a specialty retailer, who was explaining to me the importance of visibility within his business, especially of inventory, and how he wanted to improve it. I shared with him the story of VALU, a home improvement specialty business, who did just that, when they implemented iVend Retail and SAP Business One. I think it’s a story that bears retelling…

VALU operates 41 stores in New York State and Pennsylvania, offering their customers a refreshing alternative to anonymity of big box stores. They are friendly, community-based stores, with a great range of products and staff who can provide expert advice to DIYers on their projects, from painting to plastering to plumbing.

As VALU grew, so did their need for visibility across store locations – in particular the lack of a consolidated retail inventory control system, with a single view of inventory was driving unnecessary cost. VALU had always taken a ‘DIY’ approach to retail POS and inventory software, building their own solution, but they realised that it simply did not have the scalability or functionality for the business they had now become. They researched the market and selected SAP Business One and iVend Retail as their retail POS inventory software platform, and Vision 33 as the partner with the skills to put everything together.

Their decision was based not only on needing a real-time, consolidated retail inventory control system, but also on wanting sales data by store, and a way to determine the profitability of the promotions they ran. And of course, with a staff of 900, it had to be simple to learn and use, with minimal deployment and training costs.

The results were everything that VALU had planned – and more.

  • Visibility – full, real-time view of inventory, including the ability to forecast inventory for specific stores. Visibility of sales, cash management and profitability across all stores.
  • Retail store analytics – real-time data over time to monitor key trends and directions
  • Informed decision making – the integration between iVend Retail and SAP Business One connects VALU’s head office to individual stores, with real-time data for accurate, on-the-spot decision making.
  • Effective promotions – VALU can determine the profitability of promotions, down to item level, increasing revenue
  • Enhanced customer experience and increased staff efficiency – with a single, real-time view of all stock, staff can sell products even if they are not in their particular store, meaning fewer lost sales, higher turnover per staff member and happier customers.

VALU are delighted with their decision to implement SAP Business One and iVend retail POS and with the step-change it has enabled in their business. They have the visibility they need to run an efficient and profitable business, with managers empowered by real-time data to support operational decision making. They have saved money on inventory, they know which promotions generate the most profit, and above all, their staff are more productive and able to focus on the great customer service for which specialty stores are valued.

As I shared this story, the retailer who was struggling with visibility became more and more interested and excited as he started to see the possibilities for his business. If you can see the possibilities for yours, and you’d like to share in the success story, contact us on sydney@citixsys.com – I’d love to be telling other retailers about your success story one day…

The importance of visibility in specialty retail – and how a home improvement retailer has used it to deliver business value Paula Da Silva, CitiXsys @iVend_AsiaPac


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