Using a POS system for real-time
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Atlanta Hobby is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected hobby retailers, specializing in model cars, remote control aircraft, drones, and helicopters. Founded in 1978, the business now sells to customers through its brick-and-mortar location, e-commerce site, and multiple online marketplaces.
Owner Cliff Whitney says he started the business because “hobbies are fun” and offer limitless possibilities for business growth. Today, this omnichannel retailer continues to expand its reach, with sales up 1800 percent since last year.
Read on to find out how Cliff and his team are applying POS technology to address challenges, increase efficiencies, and compete in an evolving market.
Challenge #1: Keeping inventory – and sales – flowing
Atlanta Hobby sells its products – just over 20,000 SKUs – across six marketplaces, and five of them are virtual. That can create inventory supply and demand challenges. As Cliff says, “Inventory management is the key to any business selling products. If you’re out of stock, you can’t make any money.”
The POSIM solution
Atlanta Hobby relies on POSIM’s inventory management capabilities to track exactly what’s in stock and where it sits. That way, if an item sells in-store and on all of the e-commerce platforms in a day, the integrated inventory management is updated in real-time, helping Cliff and the team prevent oversold situations.
Using POSIM, Atlanta Hobby sets an inventory minimum and maximum for each item to alert them when it’s time to order more. But they don’t stop there. For top-selling products, they enable POSIM to place automatic orders directly to the vendor when the minimum stock is reached.
The auto-order process allows the Atlanta Hobby team to set the order quantity, such as replenishing the maximum quantity they’ve set in the system. Or, to adjust for seasonality, the team can set re-order percentages, such as “150% of the max.”
Challenge #2: Accessing insights to make confident decisions
Maintaining cash flow requires investing in the right inventory while balancing the need to have what customers want without tying up too much capital. At the same time, Atlanta Hobby wants to evaluate and take advantage of opportunities to acquire additional inventory when they make good business sense.
The POSIM solution
Cliff says POSIM’s powerful reporting and analytics capabilities enable his team to monitor trends and take smart business risks. “In order to get good cash flow, you have to have great reporting,” he explains. “With POSIM, we’re able to study information left, right, and sideways and see the way things are moving and flowing. That’s really helped our business.”
Out of Atlanta Hobby’s 20,000 SKUs, the team studies daily reports on around 8,000 key items. This helps them not only know what sold the previous day but also identify shifts in customer demand. By looking at top-selling products over the last week, month, and year, Atlanta Hobby recognizes when it has merchandise that’s underperforming and makes the necessary adjustments to drive sales and reduce what’s maintained in stock.
Recently, Atlanta Hobby had the chance to purchase additional inventory at a discounted rate. The catch was they had to decide – and pay the $40,000 purchase price to the vendor – that day. The team pulled up the reports in POSIM and looked at the product’s flow within the inventory, the sales history, and the back-order rate. The access to comprehensive data gave them the confidence to spend the money and make the purchase. It paid off. The extra products were sold in five days, at a high margin.
Challenge #3: Increasing efficiencies to save time – and fuel growth
Running a retail business is time-consuming. Finding efficiencies can be a game-changer that gives business owners the time they need to make sure the business keeps evolving – and growing. For Atlanta Hobby, it’s about optimizing the Internet to drive sales, both in-store and online. According to Cliff, “If you’re not on the Internet today, you are out of business.”
The POSIM solution
Integration is vital. POSIM brings online and offline channels together for Atlanta Hobby and helps make selling through multiple e-commerce marketplaces easier. In fact, Cliff says POSIM’s integration with the Shopify e-commerce platform has revolutionized Atlanta Hobby’s business, with online channels now accounting for approximately 70 percent of the company’s sales.
The integration enables POSIM to “talk” to Shopify. In turn, Shopify enables Atlanta Hobby to effectively run its own e-commerce site as well as engage on third-party marketplaces. Since moving to Shopify as its e-commerce platform last year, Atlanta Hobby has been able to expand its reach by adding two additional virtual shopping channels.
Hear more from Cliff Whitney and how Atlanta Hobby is optimizing POSIM.