tl;dr: We will be making a new integrated point-of-sale system live this week, and it will offer many benefits to both I’m Board staff and our customers! The Victory Points program has been ported over without any changes, your points and store credit is intact, and we retain all the data from the old system in case there are questions. You now have the recommended option to provide us with your (never, ever shared) email address for greater integration and benefits.
As many of our regular customers know, we’ve been working on an improved point-of-sale system (which incorporates the basic cash register functions as well as inventory and customer benefit data) for quite a while. When we opened the Sun Prairie store, the vendor of our current system promised full interactivity between the stores, with shared sales, inventory, and customer data. Unfortunately, their promises were unfounded, and it did not look like the promised capabilities would be coming any time in the near future. So, shortly after we opened the Sun Prairie store, we started exploring options for a new integrated system. Meanwhile, we created several manual processes to ensure customer victory points and store credit information were as integrated as possible between the two stores. Thank you very much for your patience during this time.
To be considered, any potential new system required several must-have features. The ones that affected our customers were:
- Our current Victory Points loyalty program had to port over and function in the exact same way. Our VP program is extremely popular, and a vital part of our day-to-day operations. As such this was both our number one requirement and our number one road block to finding a new system. The VP program was literally our only deal maker and breaker.
- Existing customer data, including account information, victory points, and store credit, had to seamlessly integrate and interact between stores. One centralized customer database that both stores “talked to” was a must.
- Inventory had to be visible between stores, so we could check stocks without a phone call.
After a great deal of searching, we finally found a viable solution. I won’t go into specifics of the software here, but it checked all of the above boxes and several more that would be a benefit to internal operations. This was in September of 2019.
As any small retailer who has changed systems can tell you, this kind of transition is never easy, or quick. Along with trying to get our data seamlessly transferred, tested, and verified, the holiday season hit. It was a long process. But we’re very happy to say that everything is now working perfectly, and we are very excited about the new capabilities.
What does this mean to you, the customer?
Firstly, we do ask for a bit of patience. While we are confident that all customer data ported over successfully, we do still have all of the original data from both stores. If you feel there is a discrepancy, please let the associate know and we will make notes and get it taken care of. It may not be an immediate fix depending on who needs to be consulted, but we will do our best to expedite any issues.
Also, please note that our staff will be working with and getting used to an entirely new system. While our new system is *much* easier and more efficient to use, it is nevertheless different. I am sure that somewhere, hiding in a corner, is a situation where we will need to figure out “how that works now.” Please understand that some tasks may take a bit longer as everyone gears up, and thank you for your patience.
Secondly, email addresses. If you are in our Victory Points program (and if you are reading this you probably are), you know that the only information we’ve ever required is your first and last name. No phones and no emails. That is still the case. We have required email addresses for things like Subscriptions and selling Used Games, but we have never required emails to simply be in our program. That is still the case.
However, our Victory Points program is now handled by a robust plugin that is very email-centric. So much so, that if we did not already have your email address in our system (and for most customers we did not) we had to create a unique “fake” addresses for each customer in the system in order to make the VP program actually work. This was a strike against the software when we were considering it, but the fact that it could emulate our current program so well, as well as some other added benefits, outweighed this disadvantage.
You may now choose to optionally provide an actual email address to associate with your account. We will never sell or share your email addresses and they will be kept strictly confidential.
There are benefits to providing your email address:
- We now have the capability to email you a receipt during checkout, instead of using a paper receipt.
- If we need to go in and manually adjust your points totals, a unique email address will greatly help verify that we are going to the proper account. This is especially true if you have a relatively common name.
- If you sell Used Games, an actual email will improve our efforts to contact and credit you. For Used Game sellers, moving forward we will be automatically adding your email from the Used Game Submission Form to your account, but you will not be opted-in to any other emailing.
- Likewise, customers who take advantage of our Subscription service will have their email automatically added to their accounts, but again will not be opted-in to any other emailing.
- In the future we may be creating special email-only promotions to our customers who have both provided their address and opted-in to receive these emails. If you do not specifically opt-in, you will not be emailed these promotions.
- While at the moment we cannot promise this feature, in the future we may be able to add a tool for you to log in and check your Victory Points total at any time.
So there you go! It’s been a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes, but in the end it’s going to be a much more robust and useful system for everyone. Thanks again for your patience (both customers and staff) while we make the final push and get through the last steps. If you have any questions, feel free to email us and we will answer as soon as possible.