Simplifying Retail is the First Step to Success
by Brian Bullock | December 27, 2023
Over the years, we’ve come to learn that stores looking into new point-of-sale technology all have something in common – they are often looking to simplify operations, better understand inventory opportunities, and want reliable customer support. Paladin was designed to do just this. Paladin provides a framework for store owners to ensure best practices for retail operations. Paladin gives store owners access to their store data at their fingertips and empowers them to be more responsive and confident about buying decisions.
Paladin Point of Sale and Inventory Management was developed and built to simplify every aspect of retail and offers independent stores the ability to leverage their sales data to help their business run better. Here are just a few examples of how Paladin has helped stores improve their efficiency and increase their profits.
Simplify setup, training and use
Folks are surprised to learn how easy it is to get up and running with Paladin Point of Sale. We’ve been doing this so long that we make it look easy. The simplicity of all those processes is how Paladin was designed and developed.
The software is designed to get users the information they need and to the screens they use faster and easier than similar systems. That makes it simple to learn, teach and use.
Sam Olson experienced that first-hand when he was re-starting Buffalo Hardware in Buffalo, South Dakota. Sam and his parents purchased the store and rebuilt it from the bottom up and Paladin was the point-of-sale system he chose for it. It now is the foundation for a business enterprise that contains four stores.
“We had to overcome an employee fear level – we had some with no computer skills at all. With the touchscreens, having the simplicity of Paladin and the ability to point and click – it seems just about anybody can run it, which was big,” he explains.
Shane Wells had a similar experience in Amory, Mississippi. Amory Hardware was Shane’s second store. He also owned Nettleton Hardware in neighboring Nettleton. They are both Paladin stores now.
“Paladin did a really good job getting us going. We practically didn’t have to do anything. It was really seamless when we started up,” Shane says, adding that its ease of use has also facilitated his stores’ success. “We wanted something easy to learn. My wife has a full-time job, but she can come by and pick it up in a couple of minutes. My 9-year-old son has checked some customers out before, too. He physically scanned some products and checked them out. It was pretty neat.”
Ease of use not only simplifies training new employees, it allows employees to quickly become efficient which speeds up customer checkout and improves customer service and satisfaction.
“A system with a user-friendly interface makes it easy for anyone, even those apprehensive about using a computer, to become productive after minimal training,” says Dan Nesmith, founder and president of Paladin Data Corporation, a leading provider of retail technology solutions.
Simplify ordering and inventory management
Managing inventory is the most crucial aspect of retail that any store owner or manager does. If a store doesn’t have the right products in stock, at the right prices, at the right time, customers won’t shop there. Paladin’s extensive inventory management tools help keep stores properly stocked and simplify the process.
Paladin’s Suggested Order™ uses proprietary algorithms and sales data to simplify ordering. Using Suggested Order™ has allowed Ross Martin’s Caledonia Village Ace Hardware to earn Ace Pinnacle status as a top-performing store two years in a row.
“Our store uses Suggested Ordering 100%. Ace considers 95% really good and we’re always above that,” he says.
Likewise, Ben Honeycutt, owner of Oak Knolls Hardware and Home Center in Orcutt, California, says Paladin’s inventory management gives him a real-time look at how his store is performing and played a big role in his success in his first foray into retail.
The PaladinNsight™ Non-Performing Assets and Investment Review tools helped him clean out inventory that wasn’t selling and replace it with items that do. He says he utilizes Paladin’s Suggested Order™ reports to speed up ordering and keep a tight rein on his inventory. Overall, Ben says he is impressed with the way Paladin makes his job easier.
“I worked for SpaceX for six and a half years and my job was to find ways to save time and cut costs. That’s what I did. Paladin does this stuff for my store automatically,” he says.
David Billman, whose family has owned Clinton Hardware in southern Maryland since 1963, says Paladin has helped him improve his product offering, increase his sales, and spend less time doing it.
“I have higher customer counts and higher sales. I know it’s happening because it’s right there (on the PaladinNsight™ dashboard) in front of me every morning,” he explains. “With my old system, you had to be a computer genius to do anything in it. With the system I have now, Paladin, I have full confidence in it keeping my store stocked, but not over-stocked. I love it.”
Simplify business management
Along with being easy to use and simplifying time-consuming retail tasks, a retail solution must be able to manage an entire business and grow with that business.
Jim Byrum, who now owns and operates seven hardware stores in small towns across central Michigan, started with a single store. He now runs them all on Paladin Point of Sale.
“Over the last 20, 30 years there’s been a real loss of small-town hardware stores, and the lack of modern technology, I think, is one of the reasons. The demand for technology by retailers for a number of reasons and the need for speed at the point of sale has changed so much over the past few years, I don’t know how stores operate without it.”
Jim runs all his stores independently and all but Gregory Hardware are under the Byrum Ace Hardware brand. He uses Paladin in all his stores and uses Paladin Pilot to remotely keep track of his stores without having to visit them.
The stores that are spread out over about 80 miles manage their own inventory, although they do combine large seasonal purchases such as spring fertilizers, seed and soil. They also utilize Paladin’s mobile apps and electronic tablets to make inventory management and customer service easier.
Simplify customer service and management
When Ben Honeycutt made the move from aerospace to retail, he stepped into a market that has all the hardware big box stores nearby. That competition made him focus on his customer service and Paladin helped out there, too.
Paladin helps him track his customers. He signs nearly all of them up for Best Rewards to gain added insight into their purchasing habits. That information lets him automatically email monthly statements to his credit customers through Paladin. He also sends them more than monthly statements.
“I look at my customer listings and rankings. I find out who my best customers are. Last year, we bought some nice gifts and sent them out at the holidays,” he explains. “I find the time to learn as much as I can about Paladin. I use pretty much every button this thing has.”
The results have been impressive. His store made $1.1 million in sales in his first six months as owner and topped $2 million the following year. He has nine employees and has been so successful that his business already needs a larger space.
Most stores already operate on management platforms or point-of-sale systems that, if properly used, can simplify most retail operations. So, just learning how to fully optimize their capabilities is an effortless way to ensure a business’s future success.
Sam Olson chose Paladin to simplify Buffalo Hardware’s retail processes. It did that and more. The store’s sales tripled in Sam’s first year as owner and in 2019 the store notched over $2 million in sales.
He now uses the system to run three more businesses he purchased or founded.
“My goal was to make sure we had a system that would take us into the future. We had to have the technology to help us succeed. You don’t change systems every year, so we made sure we made the right decision. Paladin just gives us the data we need,” he explains.