Case Study: Franchisee Sees Better Customer Retention With iPad POS

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Merchant: The Oilerie
Location: Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Platforms: NCR Silver, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
Bottom Line: Integrated POS solutions give merchants a streamlined way to collect data that can fuel customer retention strategies.

Social media plays an integral role in most local merchants’ marketing strategies, but Oilerie’s Lori Hackman says business owners have to do more than just post occasionally on Facebook or Twitter to get people engaged and motivated to come into their stores.

“We’re still figuring out what works as far as channels of advertising, but emails to your own customers are a wonderful opportunity to communicate to people who already like your store and your products,” Hackman says.

Hackman is among the newest franchisees of Oilerie, an olive oil retailer that was founded in 2003 and gained in popularity after being featured on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2014. Hackman saw the company’s owner during his TV appearance and sent in an application to purchase a franchise soon after.

“I would be changing careers if I bought a franchise, and they had a good system in place along with great training, so it was a good fit for me,” she says.

Hackman’s new store in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, opened earlier this year. Although launching a new business is never without its hiccups, she says becoming a part of an existing company—as opposed to launching her own business from scratch—has made the transition easier. For example, Oilerie uses the iPad point-of-sale system NCR Silver across all of its stores, and Hackman has been able to quickly get a handle on how she can use the technology for email marketing, inventory management, and even employee management, in addition to processing transactions.

“I can run reports and send to [Oilerie’s founder] in a matter of seconds,” she says. “The system also provides me with up-to-date insight into inventory, and makes me feel like I can always quickly see what’s going on, even if I’m not at the store.”

NCR’s support team set up Hackman’s entire back office system, and now that email marketing has started taking a more central role in Oilerie’s marketing strategy, Hackman has started using her POS system for that, too. She collects customer email addresses during the in-store checkout process and automatically adds them to her subscriber lists, a process she describes as “streamlined.” She also uses email receipts and a bulk email features for promotional and event emails.

“Creating test emails and previews is easy, and I think customers really benefit by receiving the awareness and promo emails I’ve been sending them,” Hackman says.

As a franchisee, Hackman is dependent on Oilerie to determine which POS system she’ll be using. However, she still maintains control over much of the marketing and messaging at her local store.

“I do make the decisions on what emails to send out, and the look and feel of email receipts and loyalty messages,” she says.

Hackman say the ability to take customer information on the iPad during transactions has been “huge” for customer retention. Customers are also impressed by the “sleeker technology.”

“I can use this to customize my communications with my customer base and better personalize their experience,” Hackman says.

In addition to email marketing, Hackman is working on building a presence for her local store on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. She’s also been talking to TV, newspaper, magazine, and radio stations about possibly running some local ads, along with billboards and in-the-mail signage, however those strategies will cost additional money and plans are still up in the air.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.