Local Gift Shop Continuously Evolves with Retail Pro Analytics, Gives Back to Community
In the historical town of Lexington, Mass., retailers walk a fine line between respecting tradition and embracing modern business practices. Crafty Yankee, a fine gift shop located right where “the shot heard round the world”was launched, started using Retail Pro as its retail management solution in 2000, leveraging its robust functionality to transform what originally was a sleepy little business into a vibrant, charitable part of the community. Kathy Fields, owner of Crafty Yankee, has a rich background in retail. She had worked in senior positions at Dillard’s and Federated Department Stores before taking a (very) early retirement in her mid-forties. But her retirement didn't go quite as planned. Kathy Fields bought Crafty Yankee from its founders in 1994, wanting to take on a business that would free up her time and allow her to give back to those less fortunate.
Embracing Modern Business Practices
Shortly after the acquisition, she recognized the need to put in a computer system. Initially, she opened a couple satellite stores and networked computers so she could be away from the store—perhaps enjoy a vacation—and still be in touch remotely. Business was growing but Fields eventually realized she needed to consolidate her business into one location and, to be successful, have a thorough understanding of which merchandise was selling and when it was bought. Knowing those sales trends would give her a concrete understanding of what was going on in her business so she could offer popular products and streamline inventory.
Using Analytics to Reshape the Store
Crafty Yankee found Retail Pro’s analytical capabilities exceptionally valuable in accomplishing this end. “By having good computer information, I can constantly reshape the store,”said Fields. “We must change with the customer: Patterns, age, tastes.” Retail Pro 9 gave Fields tools to analyze Crafty Yankee’s $1 million business by key segments. The store has been using Retail Pro 9 since 2012 and Fields credits the software with contributing to the store’s consistent, healthy growth despite a stagnant overall economy. Knowing what sells—and what doesn't—is critical to every retailer and Crafty Yankee has adopted an analytical method with Retail Pro. No guesswork here: “I like to analyze my business in lots of different segments. It’s important to me to start from the top. Let’s say we had a 20% increase last month. Where did that come from? Jewelry? Glass? Pottery? Once I see the trend in the data, I can break it down by vendor or resources. And I can compare that data to last year’s.”
A Technology Update that Made a Difference
None of that could have happened if Crafty Yankee had remained with its original retail management platform, CraftShop, which she started using in 1995. Much of the data was difficult to extract and it required quite a bit of manual work. “What I liked from the beginning with Retail Pro was that they saw what I had with the CraftShop system. It was pretty complicated,”said Fields. Realizing she needed a more robust system, she started researching other software solutions, finally determining that Retail Pro was the best fit for her needs. “I have thousands of items and people would tell me, ‘You’re going to have to re-enter all that information.’And I said, ‘I don’t think so!’”
Targeted Growth that Enables Philanthropy
The Retail Pro platform, together with Fields’ business acumen, positioned her gift emporium for rapid, targeted growth. “I can learn about my business on any day of the week, as well as a specific date of business. I can compare Mother’s Day, Easter, wedding seasons.” I’m looking across the information in a lot of different ways: Top producers by vendor. Who is downtrending? Who is trending up? Our other system was just not as granular; jewelry for example, can be subcategorized. I can put more criteria in the system, which allows me to analyze each item,”Fields said. “We've been so successful because of the good computer information I can analyze. We are able to constantly reshape the store. If I hadn't changed it, year after year, based on the information I get from the Retail Pro solution, the store would be out of business.” And what about the idea of giving back to the community? Crafty Yankee sells a number of items where most, if not all, of the purchasing price is donated to charity. Sometimes, retirement is overrated.
To learn more about Crafty Yankee, visit http://www.CraftyYankee.com.
To learn more about the Certified Retail Pro Business Partner supporting Crafty Yankee, JD Associates, visit http://www.jdapos.com/
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