Omnichannel Retail Advice

The best place for the latest retail news, stories, tips, and trends.

Chris Tanner

Having grown and sold two businesses, Chris is vastly experienced in the nature of small businesses and ecommerce, and has a business owner’s insight into the needs of an SME business. Chris studied at the University of Sheffield and has a MSc in Electronic Engineering; he started his first company at the age of 21. Being frustrated by a patchwork of traditional systems such as Sage, ACT! and OS-Commerce, but lacking the budget for the options available, Chris went on to develop Brightpearl. Chris keeps one eye on the wind and is always ready to kite-surf, although he mostly loves to work.

Recent Posts

Sage vs Brightpearl: A Battle of the Implementations

Written by Chris Tanner on 21 August 2017

Choosing new retail business management software is only the start of your journey to becoming a better retailer. Implementing it deeply into all aspects of your business is key to success. For a fully-integrated software platform to do its job properly, your whole team need to be using it. In this article, we’ll see how implementation of Sage ERP and Brightpearl differ.

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Catching the early birds | Preparing for profitable holiday sales

Written by Chris Tanner on 27 August 2014

In our last blog post we talked about the sales spike at the end of the year, and about getting your business systems in place ready for the Christmas and holiday shopping season. In this post, we’ll look at what you can do to maximise revenue from early buyers. The holiday season used to start at the end of November, but the start of of the season keeps getting earlier. Last year 6 out of 10 retailers started holiday promotions before the end of October[1]. Data from Google Consumer Surveys[2] also shows that 30% of buyers who are planning ahead will also begin their shopping before October is out. If you wait until the end of November to start your promotions, you’re likely to miss out on sales. The trick is to find the balance between taking advantage of the holiday season starting earlier than ever, whilst avoiding decreasing margins with discounting too early on. 

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Do you have my size in stock?

Written by Chris Tanner on 29 August 2012

Your inventory levels directly affect the sales you can make; if someone wants something fast, they will buy it from a retailer that has it in stock. Keeping everything in stock all the time is pretty much impossible, and not a great way to spend your cash. So how do you make sure that you don’t miss out on sales? In many cases, customers will hang on till you can get something in for them as long as you go the extra mile. Here's a way to go that extra mile.

Last weekend I thought it was about time that I replaced my worn out, well loved mountain bike shoes. I headed down to the local bike shop to see what was on offer. Much as I love buying online, I also love supporting the local stores, and of course for something like shoes, it’s good to try them on.

I spotted the ones I wanted; a pair of Bontrager RL in Black - on offer, too! However as is normal, the ones on the rack weren’t my size. I asked an attendant if they had a Size 42, Black in stock. “Sure, let me just go and have a look in the stock room”.

First of all I was surprised that his point of sale system wasn’t the first place he went to look. Maybe it was a bit complex and he didn’t know how to use it. Maybe he didn’t trust his inventory information. Maybe they didn’t even do inventory management.

Anyway, about ten minutes later (yes, I had read pretty much all the magazines on the shelf by then) he returned to say sorry, that they didn’t have any. That sucked. So I asked him when they were getting more in, or if any of their other stores had any. Blank face. “Erm, let me find out for you sir”. A short while later he returned to let me know that they normally get an order from Bontrager each Friday, but he didn’t know if there were any of the RL shoes on it. Things weren’t looking great for this store. I decided to move on and look elsewhere. One lost sale.

Let’s re-run this scenario in a different store, a store running Brightpearl Retail and Point of Sale. I’m at the shoe rack looking interested. An attendant comes up to me to ask if I need any help. “Yes please - can you tell me whether you’ve got any of the RL in size 42, black?”. He whips out his iPad and bluetooth barcode scanner, loads up the Brightpearl Point of Sale screen and quickly scans the label on the shelf into the product-lookup box.

Up comes a screen that tells us immediately that no, there aren’t any in store. The chap can easily see stock levels of all other sizes and colours on the same screen in an easy to read size/colour matrix. “Sorry sir we don’t, but we DO have the grey ones in size 42, will those do?”. I’m pretty keen on the black ones however. “Can you get some in?”.

He glances back at his screen and because he can see purchase order information, he can tell me that “actually sir, we have some more of the black ones coming in tomorrow. Would you like me to reserve a pair for you? I’ll give you a ten percent discount.”

Definitely. I’m due to go for a ride with some buddies tomorrow night. Using the iPad, he takes my details, including email address and phone number, and creates a new sale. He adds the shoes, and applies a 10% discount. Lovely. And he called me “Sir” - you don’t normally get that in a bike shop. Service still matters too!

He parks the sale. “We’ll send you an SMS and email when the shoes arrive sir”.

Awesome. Sure enough, the next morning I get a text message. “Your Order#383456 is ready for collection in the Bristol store”.

I pop down to pick up the shoes, and remember that I also needed a spare inner tube. The chap loads up my sale, adds the tube and I pay by card. When I get home I find an email receipt waiting with a load of extra offers and a link to the online store. Hmmn, tempting...

Now THAT’s the way to do retail. I’ll be buying from these guys again.

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Why placing purchase orders is so important

Written by Chris Tanner on 13 August 2012

Purchase order processing is something that a surprising number of small businesses don't do properly. Often it's seen as a hassle, or something for the accountant or bookkeeper. Not so! Purchase Order processing is an essential part of any retailer or wholesaler's day to day operations.

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10 reasons why accurate inventory is important

Written by Chris Tanner on 27 July 2012

Keeping accurate inventory levels is important. We all know that. But still, it’s all too common to see a business struggling to grow because they are spending too much time trying to get a handle on their stock levels, struggling to communicate stock levels to their customers or sales channels, and struggling to place and receive purchase orders in a timely fashion. Something’s not right.

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Royal Mail increases the cost of stamps - time to switch to SMS and email!

Written by Chris Tanner on 15 April 2012

As you'll no doubt be aware, the Royal Mail will be increasing the cost of stamps at the end of this month. A first class stamp will rise in price from 46 pence to 60p (+30%). A second-class stamp will go up from 36p to 50p (+39%). That's the largest price hike since 1975. As you can imagine, people are now flocking to bulk-buy stamps at the lower price - both retailers who want to be able to sell the lower price stock at the higher value in May, but also mail-order merchants for whom the price of stamps can often be a significant proportion of their business overheads.

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Magento leads the way in Ecommerce for 2012

Written by Chris Tanner on 10 April 2012

Yet again, Magento comes out top in a recent survey of ecommerce platforms. The report produced by Tom Robertshaw looks at 33,632 ecommerce sites in the Alexa Top 1 Million sites to see which software the store uses. 40 different systems are ranked, with Magento coming out as the clear leader with 20% of the surveyed market. 

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Information explosion in business

Written by Chris Tanner on 26 March 2012

The world’s information is doubling every two years. Think about that for a second. Every two years, we generate twice as much data as the previous two years. It’s not hard to believe when you look at the staggering growth of both business and social networking, mobile internet access, tablets and smartphones. 

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