in the pink Is in the Black With Custom-Made Cloud POS

You probably already know the story of how Lilly Pulitzer®'s bold, vibrant, "spill-proof" designs got their start: To disguise the inevitable juice stains that came from running her own juice stand in Palm Beach, Fla., Pulitzer had a sleeveless dress made from a colorfully printed cotton fabric. The rest is history.

That was around 1959. Fast forward to 1995, when a conversation with an old school friend gave Gordon and Sandra Russell an idea: to bring Lilly Pulitzer's brilliant designs directly to Nantucket island, where "resort living, happy times and wearing Lilly Pulitzer" already went hand in hand. They shared their thoughts with Lilly herself over dinner in Palm Beach. Thus was born in the pink, a chain of Lilly Pulitzer Premier Signature stores located throughout Massachusetts.

Lilly Pulitzer prints should make their wearers feel happy — and so should the customer experience. To do this, in the pink made the decision to get rid of its cash registers and counters, replacing them with mobile POS to transform its eight locations.

"We thought that by removing the physical cash register we could maximize merchandising and floor space, better serve customers and ultimately increase sales," says Emily Evans, district manager. The company chose Springboard Retail, a cloud POS and retail management platform — a solution that Gordon
Russell and co-founder Jay Stotz actually developed themselves in 2010 for in the pink when they were unable to find anything on the market that suited their needs. (Springboard was officially launched to the market in January 2014 at the NRF show.)

in the pink first piloted Springboard's mobile POS in its flagship Newbury Street location in Boston. After deconstructing its cash registers, the store reclaimed 48 square feet of its 1,250 feet for selling space and ease of movement. Mobile carts and a kiosk on wheels "allowed for a more fluid customer service," said Evans.

By removing the cash wrap, the retailer was able to acquire more selling real estate and improve merchandising strategies. "We run a high-pressure, highly seasonal business in many of our stores, with 75 percent of total business being transacted between Memorial Day and Labor Day," says Evans.

With Springboard's POS, sales instantly increased and have continued to climb. Approximately 41 days after implementing mobile POS in its Newbury Street location, in the pink saw sales increase by 60 percent. The typical increase for the same seasonal period year over year is 43 percent. Transaction volume and total units per transaction also improved.

"There's a lot of product and five fitting rooms squeezed into 1,250 square feet. We found that where the cash wrap was, on the right side as soon as a customer enters, was prime selling real estate," said Evans. Because of the excellent results from its flagship store, in the pink decided to roll the solution out to its other stores. The company started with its stores on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and immediately saw benefits in increased sales.

After rolling out mPOS in all stores, the company saw a 23 percent increase in same-store sales in 2014 compared to the same period a year prior.

In addition to increased sales, since demolishing the cash wraps, the stores have seen great improvement in terms of physical flow. The store is more comfortable and allows for greater efficiency, and customers linger longer because the space is not so tight, says Evans.

The mobile devices have enabled store associates to move more freely around the store themselves, while also giving them realtime access to customer history and store inventory across the chain, at their fingertips. This allows for more engaging and relevant conversations with customers, and the ability to quickly meet their needs. A sales associate can, for example, recommend an item based on the top categories of product the customer has purchased previously, or easily reserve a product at another location.

"Because the solution is web-based, an alert will pop up in the other store alerting that team to pull the product off the floor, capture the funds and ship the product to the customer. Similarly our team can quickly update customers about product that is on purchase order," says Evan. The iPads are also great for line busting, she says.

The platform's ability to offer emailed vs. printed receipts is another helpful feature — 93 percent of customers are opting for the former — saving time, money and trees.

— Jordan K. Speer

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