Meet the Client: The Royal Marines Shop
Here at Shred Creative we are lucky to work with not only a vast array of clients but also, we have a fair few products in our armoury. We need this because no two clients are the same and their challenges are never the same, constantly evolving as any good business should. Whilst we’re probably best known for our marketing and design work, our core values are simple we’re about our clients and creativity - sometimes our clients need a creative solution rather than a creative idea - and we have to deliver one.
When we met the team from the Royal Marines Shop they were feeling the squeeze, like many retail businesses they were adapting to an upsurge in online sales and whilst they already had one of the most loyal customer bases you could ever hope for (current and former Royal Marines and their families) this only added further pressure to an already frustrating situation. We didn’t need to spend long identifying the issues, in the first instance their website was no longer working for them, but actually wider issues existed, these ranged from payment systems to integration with postage systems, online marketing and stock control. They needed something to free up time and march them into the future.
We had two key products, neither of which we owned or designed but both of which we’ve served our time to become expert resellers of, this paired with our design service and project management skills we were confident would solve their issues.
Product One : Shopify
In a nutshell: Cloud based e-commerce tool
If you’re setting up a new e-commerce solution and it’s not cloud based then we’re going to suggest that you’re making a massive mistake. Shopify is a great tool, cloud based it has a huge amount of benefits to the business owner including an app so you can manage your orders on the fly, access customer data and look at sales anytime, any place. It also has an endless level of expansion and integration which means it will evolve as your business evolves, need better SEO? Need an automated CRM system? Need integrated Facebook or Instagram ads? The list is literally endless. How do we fit in? Well we design and set up the site, troubleshoot and manage your campaigns and creative. With the RM shop this is exactly what we did but as the project evolved we found that their stock management and over the counter sales needed something more specific and powerful, this is where we added Vend.
Product Two : Vend
In a nutshell: Cloud based stock management and commerce tool
We’ve been using Vend for the past 6 years and selling it for around three, they’re a New Zealand based company and their point of sale system has become increasingly popular over the past few years. It’s another cloud based system and it integrates seamlessly with Shopify, this means stock that sells online will automatically be updated on your over the counter system, and vice versa. Vend is a lot better at handling stock than Shopify, cost controls, re-orders and customer data are managed perfectly and it has tools suited to over the counter marketing such as a loyalty system, gift cards and will handle stock returns and credits no problem. Vend also plugs into Xero accounting systems to upload end of day till closures and other data. For a business owner Vend is the ultimate retail tool, live reporting and cost management means you can watch your business in action from anywhere and delve into the data from all angles.
Both systems were installed at the RM shop, this was done remotely as it’s cloud based and even though we could have popped down there (they are literally 5 minutes from our studio) our coffee tastes better and we wanted to show the flexibility of the system. We trained the guys on the ground to handle stock and orders, we trained the management team to access reports and data.
We chatted to ops manager Tim Healey to get the lowdown
Shred: “How has the system improved things”
RM Shop: “Our old system was a platform that was kind of a ‘one-stop’ system but it was antiquated in IT terms, it wasn’t user friendly, it was very powerful but the complexity exceeded our needs”
Shred: “So the old system wasn’t growing in the direction of your business?”
RM Shop: “That’s correct, it had back end tech perfect for multi location businesses but for our one location business that needed a better front end”
Shred: The reason we love Shopify is that as designers it gives us the ability to design something that looks decent without having to invent a load of tech, we know our customers will get excited using it, has this been the case?”
RM Shop: “Absolutely, the user experience is great. The benefit of having extra apps plugged into it and seeing in real time new sales and targeting campaigns working is exciting”
Shred: “Has it free’d up time?”
RM Shop: “Definitely, the sales figures speak for themselves. This year we have seen a massive turnaround in business, we explore new options and avenues that we couldn’t before and we now work like a proper online business. We’re in a retail environment that is growing in a landscape where this is not always the case.”
Shred: “In terms of the cross section of customers you must have all sorts of people trying to use the site?”
RM Shop: “Yes we have Royal Marines that are impulse buying anything that is ‘Hoofing’, we have parents and relatives looking for nice presents right through to kids or 93 year old D-day veterans.”
Shred: “So we installed Vend to manage stock and over the counter, how has that gone?”
RM Shop: “Getting to grips with two systems instead of one was initially more complex but where we are now compared to where we were is incomparable. Our stock is now accurate and we’re working on sales instead of trying to work out where our missing stock is or deal with inventory issues. Have a local firm help us make it work, do the training and be there is also a massive help, it’s the personal touch that we needed.”
Check out the RM Shop online at www.royalmarineshop.co.uk