The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

Walking in the shoes of our customers: what we are learning from our latest retail shop

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While creating and supporting locally made POS software is what we do, we have owned and run shops in several; retail channels since February 1996. The experiences over the years have helped us make better software. There is no substitute for the personal understanding of everyday retail needs.

While we are not experts in all retail channels in which we serve, our knowledge from our own experience sets us apart among software companies.

Recently, is a new shop we purchased, we learnt more than we anticipates when we came to change the carpet …

Retail advice: shopfit changes worth doing are worth doing well – replacing the shop floor covering

We decided to replace the worn-out carpet in the retail newsagency business that we purchased on Glenferrie Road, Malvern, Victoria, in December 2021.

The decision is part our small-steps approach to refreshing this business. Rather than undertaking a whole shopfit at once, we are making a series of changes over time, as we learn more abut the business and its customers, and, to suit our goal of creating a less traditional newsagency.

So, we decided to replace the carpet.

We got several quotes, and chose a company with a good reputation. we appreciated their honesty regarding the need to close for 2 days to do the whole shop, around 250 sq metres.

The challenges started part way through day 1, when the old carpet was being removed. It turned out that under the old carpet was underlay, more carpet, tiles, and, lino tiles. The business had not changed hands in 38 years and it appeared that the original flooring was still in place for plenty of the shop.

In some places there were not as many layers on top of the original concrete floor.

The carpet installers had not anticipated dealing with so many layers when accepting the removal job from the carpet company. We had to get to the shop to take a look for ourselves as they were asking for more money.

The quote we had agreed to was not, in hindsight, as clear as it could have been. They could have removed the carpet and underlay and laid our new carpet on top. But, that would have resulted in an uneven floor. For the best result, all previous flooring had to be removed, and that would cost, we were told, $2,500.00 more.

A complication was the look of one layer. To be sure, it needed to be treated like asbestos. It was either that or halt the works and have it tested, which was not an option given where the project was at.

So, we agreed to the $2,500 and the removal back to the original concrete was done.

From the Saturday through to the Monday, March 14, the project was completed and new, lush, underlay installed and new carpet on top of that. The result is wonderful, clean, soft, and, quiet, it is very quiet.

From when we re-opened Tuesday morning we have been receiving comments from customers. They agree with us, it’s soft to walk on, and, it’s quiet.

While the project cost more than expected, the end result is well worth it. Along the way we have been reminded some things about shopfit works:

  • Be sure of the outcome you want.
  • Be thorough in your research, so you know the complete scope of the project.
  • Be clear what you want done in the project when seeking quotes.
  • Have a contingency in your budget so you can cope with surprises.
  • Health, safety and comfort of those working in the business and those shopping in the business has to be your top priority.
  • When it comes to flooring, if the shop is old, expect past changes to have been placed on top of old flooring, as it is cheaper.
  • The best flooring outcome starts with new flooring being placed on the base concrete or timber flooring in the building, and not on top of existing floor coverings.

Point 1 is always our position going into anything. it’s why we quickly agreed to the additional payment – we wanted then best outcome.

In terms of health, safety and comfort, we chose a more expensive underlay and this has been key to the customer comments over the last week since installation. The feel underfoot is wonderful.

While we want our shoppers to talk in good terms about what they buy in our shops, them talking in good terms about the experience is equally valuable, especially in a suburban high street situation like our Malvern shop. This is why we invest in shopfit upgrades and changes.

Every week we are making changes in this shop, introducing new product lines, moving fixtures, editing existing ranges and more. But, we are doing this in a small-steps approach – in part so as to not disrupt long-term customers who appreciate certainty (a thriving shop 2 doors away has had the same family owners since the 1930s) and to allow us to adjust as we learn.

On our current trajectory, we think it will be early 2023 before we have the shop feeling how we want it. Completing it before then could see us make changes too soon, and there is no win in that.

Also, our small-steps approach has us in control whereas a more traditional new shopfit approach would see the shoplifter in control and that’s not what we want as retailers.

By Mark

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