It has been a while since we've posted here, but we've had a lot of changes happening over the last few months, so we wanted to let everyone know what's has been happening. We think it's all good stuff (or we wouldn't be doing it), and we hope you'll agree with us.
As you've probably noticed, we've done some interior redesign to better “fit” into our space. We've added new shelving behind the counter and shrunk our register foot-print down to make room for more customer-accessible product. We've also installed four larger, brighter Demo Game shelves to house our growing demo collection, and have repurposed those original shelves to add more product space to our miniature and hobby supplies area. The net result is that we've added about 150 square feet (measured on the wall) of customer-accessible space to our shoppe while still maintaining our tablespace.
We also added about 24 under-table tubes to our counter-height tables for game mat storage. This allows us to give back some of the shelf space under the tables to our wargamers, so they can safely stash their stuff while they're playing. We're still working on managing our terrain boxes to make this as effective as possible, but we're making progress.
We have a few more physical changes that will be taking place in the near future. We're working to find a solution for recycling and for better waste management in the game area and hope to have that in place soon. Beyond that, there are a few more “tweaks” coming, but we're still working out the details.
In addition to the physical layout, another big change has happened in the shoppe – we've changed the software we use to manage our inventory, register, and rewards. When we first opened our doors, we struggled to select the “right” Point of Sale solution. Ultimately, we selected ShopKeep for inventory and the register; and AppCard for our rewards program. Both have served us well, and we can definitely recommend both to anyone looking to get started in retail.
Every year (usually in January), we research Point of Sale solutions to figure out if we're currently using the best tool we can for our staff and our customers. In 2016 the answer was still ShopKeep but, in 2017, we started leaning towards Lightspeed Retail and after several months of research, exploration, and test runs, we've started to make the switch.
With the change to Lightspeed Retail, we've also switched the backend system that handles our Rewards Program, switching from AppCard to Kangaroo. We've used this opportunity to tweak the rewards structure a bit but everything will mostly say the same – 1,000 points will still earn you a Meeple Membership, for example. We've added a few new point tiers (for example, a 750 and 1250 point tier), and now have the ability to offer rewards points for referrals.
Since we know a lot of people will ask, let's answer a few expected questions:
- Your AppCard rewards points are being transitioned over to Kangaroo; you will not lose any points.
- If you need to spend your AppCard points before we've transferred your account, we can do it manually, at the time of sale.
- We have soft-launched the referral program. Basically, it works like this – if you refer a friend to us, and they (a) join our rewards program and (b) spend $25.00 or more in the shoppe, you'll both earn a bonus 25 Rewards Points. They have a 30-day window for the referral. Again, this we've only soft-launched this, so we may adjust things along the way.
- We've had to remove the 1,000 point, $75.00 reward. This was done because the new system doesn't allow for multiple rewards at the same point value. To address this, we've added three new tiers. On the low-end, there is now a 250 point redemption for a $10.00 discount. On the higher end, at 750 points, you can earn a $50.00 discount. Additionally, we've added a 1250 tier for a $100.00 gift card.
With the new rewards program, we've also added an iPad kiosk to the counter. You may use this to check your current point level, review the offers you're eligible for, and refer a friend to the shoppe.
Lightspeed Retail is also making special orders more efficient. Now, when you have a special order, we'll see it as soon as we type your name in the register. We'll be able to give you a status on it (Ordered, Arrived, etc) on the spot.
Additionally, Lightspeed Retail allows us to improve our Membership experience. The new membership cards are credit card sized and have the added functionality of acting as a personal gift card for the Member. When you reach higher tiers and redeem points for a gift card, it can be added directly to your membership card – no fuss, no muss. If you have existing gift cards, we can also transfer them to your membership card easily.
There are a lot of other backend workflows that Lightspeed will help us with – from inventory counts to sealed trading card game box management. We're pretty excited about the change.
Moving to Lightspeed has also allowed us to add a second register to the shoppe. We're hopeful this is cutting down on the time it takes for folks to register and pay for large events like our Pokémon nights, or Friday Night Magic.
We're still learning the new system, of course, and we expect hiccups along the way. We appreciate your patience as we make this transition, and hope that you'll see it as a wise move for all of us. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about anything, please don't hesitate to contact us.