There are many customers whom we look forward to working with year after year. They come back because they receive a great point of sale solution for their needs. Consistency and reliability are two very positive attributes in a sales environment. What sets Zumba apart is their desire to get the most out of the available technology.
Once a year, Zumba hosts a convention in Orlando, FL where they invite the certified Zumba instructors from all over the world. This is where Zumba teaches their new dances, gives seminars on business strategies for the fitness industry, provides opportunities for networking and makes sure everyone has fun. They also set up a complete retail store encompassing an entire convention hall. Here they offer a fresh line of Zumba branded workout gear. As is common with conventions, most attendees want to bring home a little something to remind them of the experience. Zumba is focused on making that experience positive in all aspects.
Being on-site for the last several years, I made some observations on what was being done in the checkout area, and where there was some room for technological advancements. The cash register system with cellular enabled credit card readers were great for speed, and provided online reporting, but upgrading to an iPad system with full retail capabilities would offer quite a few improvements. This year, we used iPads with the Vend POS app, and here were some things that were upgraded.
- Customer Tracking – The first thing I noticed was all attendees were wearing name badges with barcodes. Why not use the same badges for purchase tracking? Using a system that is able to assign a customer to a sale helps with several things.
- First, discounts based on customer type are applied automatically. There were three levels of customers, ZIN, ZES and Distributor. The cashiers don’t have to worry about missing a discount or accidentally giving a discount to someone that wasn’t authorized.
- Second, returns and exchanges can be easily verified. Certain items are non-returnable, and can be tagged as such. Verification is also used a theft deterrent. They would be unable to get money for something they didn’t pay for.
- Third, specific marketing data is collected. Management can analyze shopping patterns, and target customers with personalized offers.
- Live Updates – With over 50 terminals in place, adding or changing items on a cash register system was not ideal. A cloud based solution allowed for making changes online, and automatically updating all the terminals simultaneously. Quite the upgrade from making changes on one terminal, saving to an SD card, and visiting each machine to perform the update manually.
- Gift Card System – During the various sessions, attendees had a chance to win a select number of prizes, many of which were gift cards to be used in the convention store. With the register system, these cards needed to be treated like gift certificates. With the new system, it’s being tracked electronically.
- Real-Time Reports – Full-scale sales data presented in real time is just fun to watch. Not only the financial totals, but customer data, product sales, group data and inventory counts. Customers or employees who wanted to know if there were any of this shirt available in another size had that information at their fingertips. Triggers were set to alert the stock room when product levels were getting low on the sales floor.
- Credit Card Acceptance- Since people were coming from all over the world, there were always a few challenges getting cards to run. Upgrading to a chip and pin enabled system helped reduce the instances of travel-based fraud-prevention calls that needed to be placed to banks. There were times when customers tried to pay with a card outside of the four major accepted types in the US, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AmEx. If someone did need to make a quick trip to the cash machine, this system allowed a cashier to save an order, bring the merchandise to the customer service register, and have the customer service rep recall the order and finish the sale.
By and large, the switch to the new system was very well received by attendees, staff and management alike. Lines moved quickly, customers were happy, and everyone was left with a positive experience. At the end of the event, we were approached by Zumba’s Vice President of International Purchasing who exclaimed, “this (switching to the iPad system) was the best decision we made this year.” We are already looking forward to next year.