How elph ceramics' Unified its Customer Database and Lifted Retention Rates to 30% with Shopify POS

elph ceramics store

In 2016, sisters Sophie and Eloise opened elph ceramics in Paddington, Sydney. They housed ceramics by 20 other budding designers and had a small studio at the back of their store. Eighteen months ago, they decided to expand their own product range, grow manufacturing, and redesign elph ceramics’ product range. 

But as their business grew, Sophie and Eloise needed to find a better way to manage inventory across both of elph ceramics’ physical store locations as well as its online store, while offering its customers a flawless experience wherever they chose to shop. 

Since choosing Shopify POS to run its brick and mortar stores, elph ceramics has enjoyed: 

  • A 25% lift in its customer database
  • A 30% increase in its customer retention rate 
  • Saving countless hours that would have otherwise been spent managing inventory using different systems 
  • Onboarding retail staff faster thanks to Shopify POS' easy-to-understand interface

The challenge: fractured customer data and cumbersome inventory management 

When Sophie began working at elph ceramics full-time two years ago, her goal was to completely refresh how they managed inventory both for its online and physical stores, and to ensure that shoppers had a frictionless experience on whichever channel they chose to shop. 

Since elph ceramics were using accounting software as their POS system, however, inventory levels would not update automatically when sales, returns, or exchanges were processed. 

Moreover, they used cumbersome workarounds to capture customers’ contact information for their mailing list. This prevented elph ceramics from building loyalty and lifting repeat purchases with email marketing

The solution: running their business from one back office 

With elph ceramics online store already running on Shopify, Sophie and Eloise made the decision to run their brick and mortar stores with Shopify POS. By running their entire business from one back office, finding products, managing inventory, and updating product information across each of their sales channels became much easier. 

elph ceramics inventory management

In fact, since unifying their sales channels with Shopify, elph ceramics drastically lowered the amount of time they spent managing inventory each daytime which they reinvested into customer retention strategies and pursuing business growth. 

"The biggest thing for us is how Shopify POS fits into our growth strategy as a small business. Since using Shopify, we’ve freed up a lot of time we would have otherwise spent on operations. That’s time we can now use to implement some of the strategies we have while assuring the day-to-day operations run smoothly" says Sophie. 

The amount of times I count inventory is close to never. I still do them, but before I had to count stock at the end of each day to know how much we sold, reconcile inventory, and update stock quantities customers saw on our website. With Shopify POS, our stock levels sync automatically.

Sophie Rankine, Co-Founder, elph ceramics

The results: simplified store operations and business growth 

“Before unifying elph ceramics’ online and physical stores with Shopify, capturing customer data was a nightmare,” explains Sophie. Now, creating customer profiles can be done in just a few clicks during checkout.

elph ceramics and Shopify POS tap & chip reader

And with both its inventory and customer information living in the same back office, Sophie and Eloise can send personalized emails and incentivize repeat purchases with confidence. 

“Since all our data is centralized, we never have to worry about whether the inventory levels we see on our backend or in our POS system are accurate. We know shoppers are seeing accurate inventory quantities when they shop online, too,” says Sophie. 

“This has helped our email marketing significantly. Now, we can send emails to shoppers and draw attention to our products with confidence. We know we have enough inventory to support demand for the products we market, and that we aren’t sending three of the same email to one person as a result of disconnected customer profiles.” 

Since choosing Shopify POS, elph ceramics has grown its customer database by 25% and lifted its retention rate to nearly 30%.

elph ceramics omnichannel

Shopify POS was the missing piece of the puzzle, taking the business from being a retail store, to a business which can sell and grow globally. In fact, Sophie and Eloise are pursuing expanding their business and hiring more staff to support their growth. 

“Teaching new staff how to use Shopify POS is really easy. It makes onboarding new staff less stressful since it’s so simple to look up products and prices, check in-store pickups, and process sales,” says Sophie.

Sophie particularly appreciates how simple it is to transfer products from one store to another. “I can see what’s available in store, which products are being transferred between our stores in real-time,” explains Sophie. “This makes it easy for us to do pre-orders and prepare for the seasonal events that are big sales periods for us like Mother’s Day and Christmas.” 

Shopify POS is really easy to use and learn. I only have to spend about 20 minutes teaching our new hires how to use the system.

Sophie Rankine, Co-Founder, elph ceramics

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