Dustin Billow and Thomas Yoder have been sneakerheads for as long as they can remember. In 2021, they decided to turn their passion into a business and founded Soleply, a consignment store specializing in high-end, limited-edition sneakers and apparel.
Since then, Soleply has opened four store locations in malls across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and has cemented itself as a go-to spot where sneakerheads can buy coveted, hard-to-find sneakers.
As Soleply’s customer base grew, bottlenecks became all too common at the stores’ checkout counters. To combat this frustrating experience, Dustin and Thomas equipped staff with POS Go, Shopify’s fully-integrated mobile point of sale device.
Since adopting Shopify POS Go, Soleply has been able to:
- Serve customers from anywhere in the store
- Cross sell complimentary products with ease
- Increase its stores’ average order value
Challenge: Bottlenecks at the front register
While checkout counter lines are a sign of success, they make for a poor experience for customers and staff. With just a single stationary checkout counter at each store, Soleply became intimately familiar with this challenge as business boomed. At any given moment, there could be a mix of people lining up to consign, buy, or trade sneakers, resulting in long wait times and a slow checkout process.
For staff, bottlenecks became a source of stress and reduced efficiency. For customers, long lines and congested checkout counters deterred purchases, trades, and consignments.
“You have people piling up waiting, waiting to get checked out,” Dustin says. “Not only do you have a line of people in front of the counter, but behind the counter you also have all the products stacked up that they’re waiting to buy. It can feel like ’Oh my God, everyone’s on top of me and they’re all waiting.”
We needed POS hardware that let us serve customers, look up product availability, and accept payments without having to be at the checkout counter.
Solution: Serving customers anywhere in the store with POS Go
To ensure customers were served efficiently and checkout was quick, Soleply chose to upgrade its point-of-sale hardware to POS Go, Shopify’s new handheld POS terminal.
“Bruce Lee said, ‘Be like water,’” Dustin says. “With POS Go, we can do that. We’re able to serve customers throughout the entire store, instead of just the checkout area. It really allows us to open up the store and change the retail experience. Someone can check customers out toward the front of the store, and while they’re checking out that person, they can also make sure that they’re greeting the new customer who’s walking in the door. With POS Go, you can do more with less staff and be more efficient overall.”
Instead of having to download a POS app on their personal smartphones to enable mobile checkout, Soleply’s employees have everything they need to serve customers in one professional handheld device. Equipped with POS Go as their work tool, sales associates can get more done and are sending a message to customers that they’re ready to help.
“Allowing all of the associates to have a POS Go, and not have to have logins on their personal phone, enables our staff to come to work, put their device away, and be solely focused on the customer,” Dustin says. “When you have POS Go, you don’t need to be looking at stuff on your phone.”
With all the information they need at their fingertips, staff can assist customers without needing to run back to the checkout counter to look up stock or scan an item. And with an all-day battery, employees don’t have to worry about POS Go running out of juice. “The all-day battery life is extremely important, because we’re open from 10 am to 9 pm every single day,” Dustin says.
POS Go’s long-lasting battery has also made it easier for Soleply’s staff to connect with customers. “We tell our team to build personal relationships with customers: make sure you know their name, what size they wear, what they like—get to know that person,” Dustin says. “POS Go allows them to maintain that relationship on a one-on-one level, without having to pass them to another staff and without having to leave a certain area so that they can make sure that they greet the next person as they’re helping another customer.”
POS Go allows us to be with customers and serve them without having to go back to the checkout counter. Its flexibility really helped improve our store flow.
Results: A guided shopping experience and higher order values
Thomas says he’s already seen a return on Soleply’s investment into POS Go. “We’ve definitely far exceeded the cost of POS Go in terms of its value that we’ve gotten back,” he says.
The portability of POS Go has allowed Soleply’s staff to walk with shoppers as they browse. Because staff are no longer tethered to the checkout counter, and have product information at their fingertips, upselling premium sneakers and cross-selling complementary products has become easier.
“Staff can navigate customers into the store and cross sell products that aren’t just in the checkout register area. POS Go allows the sale location to be more mobile,” Dustin says. As a result, Soleply’s customers are spending more. “Just recently, our average cart value went up and our units per transaction as well. There’s definitely been an uptick in the last couple months compared to before we had POS Go.”
With POS Go, staff can check inventory availability across each of Soleply’s four stores. If they don’t have inventory on hand but it’s available at another location, they can close the sale on the spot and ship the item to the customer’s home.
“We use ship-to-home fulfillment all the time. Our locations are laid out by size. Every wall has a size section and people will shop in their size section. If customers see something else they like in a different size section, they always ask if we have it in their size, and it’s nice to be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, we have that.’ We can ship that right to them,” Thomas says.
And whether a customer walks out of a Soleply store with sneakers in hand or gets them shipped home, staff can rest easy knowing they’ll get credit for the sale. “They’re all on commission, so the more sales our staff can make, the better for them and for everybody involved. Shopify POS attributes their name and store location to the sale, so they get credit for every sale they make,” Dustin says.
POS Go is a great match for our business model. We can serve customers wherever they are, sell our stock wherever it is, and accept any payment method they prefer. It’s added so much polish to our customer experience.
Looking ahead: Building a sneaker empire
With POS Go in staff’s hands, Soleply can grow in new ways. One avenue for growth is finally being able to sell at trade shows, rather than attending just to source new inventory.
Dustin explains that with POS Go, “you don’t have to bring a huge POS system—you don’t even have to bring a whole iPad to a trade show. There’s more table space for me to put products out and now I can check out anybody. If I didn’t even want to have a table, I could put everything in a backpack and carry around the one or two items I’m selling, and check you out right on my POS Go. It frees you up to do so many things.”
Growth doesn’t end there for Soleply. Backed by improved efficiency and useful management features like staff roles and permissions, Soleply plans to expand its retail empire and open six more stores by the end of 2023.
“We have four stores currently, and we have three more opening in the next three months,” Dustin says. “Then there’s one we’re about to sign for. So by the end of the year, we’ll have eight stores.”
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