If you’ve bought a guitar, pack of strings or paid for a lesson in the past month at Fondren Guitars, chances are Patrick Harkins broke out an iPad® as part of the process. The nearly seven year-old vintage guitar shop on Fondren Place may be the first retailer in the historic business district to take his point of sale system into the 21st century.
Harkins has installed the NCR Silver™, a complete marketing and point-of-sale solution that runs on your iPad, iPhone® or iPod touch®. Harkins calls the cloud based system a perfect fit. “It’s a really cool, clean and stream lined process and way to do business that makes it better for the shop,” he explained.
Before, shop inventory, sales reports and reminders to reach out to customers relied on pencil and paper. Harkins said, “What we are selling is kind of old school – and I like old school – but for our business, I was ready to step it up.”
The NCR Silver system keeps a complete and categorized record of sales so that the shop knows who bought what – and exactly when. “People call and ask about the type of string they got last,” Harkins said. “Now, instead of guessing, I can look and say, “Yeah, you bought such and such, and, yeah, you’re probably due for a new pack again.”
The system has the ability, too, to send reminders to Harkins. “I can set it up to send to anyone whenever I want,” he said. “Say someone asks me to shoot a reminder in six months to get their guitar tuned up. I have the best of intentions, but this will automatically email them in the time frame we choose.”
For a busy husband, father of two and working musician, Harkins says organization and convenience was the key motivator behind the upgrade. “Before, I would spend hours trying to stay on top of things. Now I spend those hours finding ways to improve. I can look at reports at 2am on my phone from my house and plan my next day. I can be out of town and look on my phone to see where I am in sales or who has come in.”
The switchover to an iPad based sales system has shown Harkins a few things. “I realized we have a lot of good customers. I can see that someone has been in five times this month. I can see what sells well and what doesn’t. It removes the guess work.”
A month in, Harkins said it’s been great for him – and fun for customers. “You should see the reaction I get from them and I flip an iPad around and have them sign it with their finger.”