Four months since our case study on A New Beginning for Beales, we caught up with them to discuss the importance of having the right system in place to succeed online and scale up stores in the future.

Paul Masterson from Cupcake Marketing has been a key part of the redevelopment of Beales and spoke to us about the project’s challenges and successes over the past few months.

“Like most retailers, being in and out of lockdown has thrown spanners into the works for us as our core business is in our bricks and mortar store. That said, we’ve been ploughing resources into our online channel and I’m pleased to say that we are seeing exponential growth there. Our sales online have risen to account for nearly 40% of our turnover.

Finding the Right Retail System

“Beales online growth would simply not have been possible with our previous IT infrastructure. We have moved from disjointed EPoS and web systems to a truly integrated omnichannel approach.

“We are much more advanced with Swan’s Retail System [SRS], their Shopify integration and Cygnus EPoS, and we are going further than we ever could with our previous provider. Upgrading our old system would have been extremely expensive, whereas moving to SRS gave us everything we wanted in an easier-to-use way and at a fraction of the cost. It’s also more straightforward and much cheaper to scale up compared to other system providers.

“The integration of SRS with Shopify was created by Swan last year and we’ve had some teething challenges along the way, but nothing insurmountable. Working with the Swan team, we have built a whole new way of trading for Beales, so there were always going to be hurdles. But, the initial effort is absolutely worth the rewards.

“Now the hard work is done, we’ve got a progressive, scalable system and we have all learned a great deal about how to get the best out of Shopify and the Swan integration.

“We have complex EPoS requirements with multiple suppliers and channels of concessions, so off-the-shelf ShopifyPOS was not suitable for us. However, Swan’s Cygnus EPoS handles all this and integrates seamlessly with the rest of the system.”

Competing for Online Success

“Succeeding online means competing with the likes of Amazon and eBay, so pricing is everything. If we are 50p cheaper than competitors, then customers will choose us.

“It’s really interesting to see where our sales are coming from to demonstrate the importance of price. Most of our customers find us through Google Shopping or social media conversions, which suggests they are comparing prices across the board before making the purchase.

“Where our customers are located is also interesting. Beales has traditionally served market towns but we are seeing that 70% of our online sales are going to customers in major cities.”

“We are confident, now we have the right retail system in place, that we will be able to expand in the future.”

We are excited to see the future of Beales and will continuing working closely with them. Take a look at Beales online store.

Read more about Beales’ 8-week transformation last summer: A New Beginning for Beales.