SOLE ENVY IMPROVES BUYING POWER, GETS POS, AND GOES PAPERLESS WITH FISHBOWL WAREHOUSE®
If you like fun, trendy, chic, and well priced shoes, then you’ll like Sole Envy. Sole Envy is a new retail shoe store catering to women. Founded by Laura Felt, the new retail outlet at a large regional mall sells all kinds of name brand shoes. As a start-up retailer with plans to grow in the Intermountain West, Felt, who had extensive retail experience before starting Sole Envy, wanted to start an environmentally sound business with easy streamlined business processes and point-of-sale (POS) designed for all of her employees to use and one that would allow her to manage the business off site.
Business Challenges & Needs
“I’m not an accountant,” said Felt. “I’m a retailer. I don’t have time to learn all the accounting terms and procedures – that’s what our accountant does. I want to know what our margins are for each sale as well as have the ability to gain reports on our sales for the day and an easy way to conduct transactions with our customers.”
Sole Envy needed an inventory management system that could help her and her store manager keep track of all the shoe orders as well as the number of sales. Something that simplified the process of entering in purchase orders instead of requiring them to “clump” purchases manually into inventory.
The biggest challenge she faced was developing a workable system to track her inventory while also allowing her to quickly see which shoes were selling the best. To make it more challenging each brand of shoe comes in different colors, and different sizes. This posed a difficult challenge in keeping inventory on hand to meet the requirements of each customer.
With seven employees, Felt also needed a system that was easy to use. She didn’t want to have to go through a long learning curve after teaching them how to conduct transactions. Her store manager needed to be able to run the reports necessary to ensure they were keeping up on their inventory of shoes as well as enter purchases into the system. It was important for them to have the shoes that were in demand on hand, while not having too much inventory that wasn’t popular among her customers.
Her QuickBooks system provided everything she needed for accounts payable, payroll, accounts receivable, general ledger and other accounting requirements. Her inventory management system needed to be easy-to-use, available to her entire staff, provide a powerful POS interface, and allow for expansion to other locations – all integrating easily with QuickBooks. everything she needed for accounts payable, payroll, accounts receivable, general ledger and other accounting requirements. Her inventory management system needed to be easy-to-use, available to her entire staff, provide a powerful POS interface, and allow for expansion to other locations – all integrating easily with QuickBooks.
Additionally, Felt wanted to make her store processes as environmentally sound as possible.
As Felt opened Sole Envy, she went with Fishbowl Warehouse management software.
“Fishbowl integrated seamlessly into QuickBooks,” said Felt. “All of our transactions conducted through the Fishbowl POS module posted directly to the accounting system.”
Fishbowl’s POS module allowed each of Felt’s employees to “see what they were allowed to see” related to their jobs.
“It was very easy to train them on the system — they basically just needed to enter in the name of the shoe and Fishbowl would do the rest by printing out the receipt and opening the register and completing the transaction. Behind the scenes it was keeping track of everything for us,” said Felt.
The system gives additional viewable levels to the store manager. She uses Fishbowl’s purchase order module to receive inventory into the system as it arrives from the supplier.
“Our store is different from most retailers. Each shoe is entered as an individual part because of the different sizes and colors all the shoes come in — Fishbowl helps us keep this straight. Instead of walking into the store, looking around and guessing how we are doing, we know exactly what is selling, and what is in inventory. Our Z Report, tells us all of this each night when we close as well as how much cash we need to take out for our bank deposit.”
By following the shoe inventory down to the color, size and number in stock, Sole Envy is able to increase its buying power since they know what brands and styles of shoes are selling best, what sizes they need to keep in stock, and even what colors sell best.
“I’m a detail nut,” said Felt. “I have to know everything there is to know in my business. I love the fact that I can get a report on just about everything I need directly from Fishbowl.”
Felt’s favorite report is the Gross Margin by Sale report. The report generated from Fishbowl allows her to see gross margin for each sale. This allows her to see how her sales are doing at any given time and helps in pricing shoes in the store.
Fishbowl Warehouse gives Felt the detailed information she needs to make smart decisions right at her fingertips. Specifically, Fishbowl:
- Increases Sole Envy’s buying power. Since the company knows exactly which shoes are selling the best they are able to leverage their buying power with suppliers to get the best prices. It also allows them to know which shoes are not great sellers.
- Shows margins for each sale. Because of the seamless integration with QuickBooks and its ability to shows costs of good, Fishbowl can provide the detail Felt craves. She can get a detailed report of the margins for each shoe sale Sole Envy makes.
- In addition to product margin, the inventory management system allows Felt to know all details regarding her inven- tory including stock on hand, stock on order, returns, revenue per employee, and others.
- Fishbowl Warehouse provides quick and easy POS features that all employees can use including reports they need to generate for their specific jobs.
Fishbowl allows Felt to run an environmentally friendly business. “Fishbowl allows us to completely eliminate paperwork. Everything we need to run the business and manage our inventory is done on the computer. We email our reports. If we want or need to, we can print out reports, but for the most part we don’t have to. I like that.”
With Fishbowl Warehouse, Sole Envy has been able to start and build a successful retail business even during an economic downturn in only nine months. Not only that, it has allowed Felt and her team to make the decisions necessary to make better buying decisions for profitable shoe lines and helping to eliminate waste of unwanted products.