Tiffany Balk was driving home from a vacation in Canada and she was discussing with her husband what gift they should send to the lovely family they had stayed with.

Her husband suggested that they look at Cherry Republic, a store that specializes in boutique cherry-based products. Tiffany thought of the blueberry fields that surrounded her hometown and had a light bulb moment: why not do for Blueberries what Cherry Republic had done for Cherries?

Tiffany first imagined that this probably wasn’t that original an idea. After all, Michigan produces 44 percent of the blueberries on the U.S. market. However, a thorough research of the competitive landscape showed that not only were there no stores specializing in blueberries but there was a limited range of blueberry-based products on offer throughout the state. She knew she could expand that range and so, Blueberry Haven was born.

Blueberry Haven was one of our first iPad point of sale users back in the day and we were pretty excited to ask her what impact ShopKeep POS has made on her business.

So what made you choose ShopKeep POS?

Initially, it was recommended by the guy who does all our marketing. He was researching all the possible online tools we could use and we came across ShopKeep POS. The first thing I noticed was the wow factor, which people shouldn’t underestimate. The iPad just looks sleek and elegant and really reflects the clean design that I have tried to make happen in my store. When I looked a little closer, I was also attracted by the BackOffice reporting and just having easy access to all my sales numbers in one place. It has made things much easier to analyze and keep track of on a day-to-day basis.

So what’s been your favorite ShopKeep POS feature now that you’ve had a chance to use it?

I really enjoy the ability to check in with things on the road using the iPhone Dashboard app. If the store is getting busy and I’m out doing the school run or picking things up for the house, I can find out in real-time and take action. If transaction volume is significantly up then I will make sure to head back to the store as soon as possible to make sure everything is under control. I also get a lot of use out the Time Clock functionality that helps me keep track of my employees. I have several teenagers working for me who maybe aren’t used to the longest day’s work! I actually also have a 70+-year-old employee who confessed to being intimidated by modern technology. Within minutes of showing her the system, we had her up and running without a problem. It really is very easy to use. I suppose that’s more than one…

What’s been the biggest business challenge that ShopKeep POS has helped you overcome?

I love that ShopKeep lets me easily track sales of individual items and discontinue things if the demand isn’t there. It sounds simple but it can be hard to quantify if a product is selling enough to justify its place on the shelf. I place a lot of emphasis on trial and error to figure this out and ShopKeep has given me the ability to be really agile and data-led in how I look at things.

I maintain a core product offering to give customers a sense of reliability and then roll in new products regularly. By tracking sales per item I quite quickly get a sense of what is working and what isn’t. My biggest selling product is blueberry balsamic and garlic vinaigrette, which I probably wouldn’t have predicted. In fact, a blueberry and chocolate covered almond bar that I loved proved to be a terrible seller, which is something I really did not see coming!

What’s the biggest bit of advice you’d give to an aspiring retailer?

Find someone you trust who knows what they are doing and don’t be afraid to bug them for advice. I have a friend who works as an inventory manager for a large shoe vendor and I regularly seek advice on my strategy and get her to check over my numbers. That kind of support is invaluable.

Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate who uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.