By Erin Harris, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine
The Bean, a coffee and tea shop with three locations in New York City (a fourth will open in early 2012), has a clientele that mirrors the diversity of the Big Apple itself. Patrons include college students, high school students, actors, and more. Isaac Escava, owner of The Bean, is very proud of the coffee shop's eclectic atmosphere, and he spends the majority of his time focusing on his business. So, in June of this year, when Escava chose to rip and replace The Bean's entire POS and back office system, he had a clear choice for the hardware — the iPad.
Escava was faced with a situation not uncommon to many small business owners. The Bean experiences high turnover, and therefore, Escava found the process of training new associates on the existing cumbersome POS system both time consuming and tedious. And, like most small-business owners, Escava checks inventory and sales data daily, often multiple times. An unreliable and latent remote connection often prevented Escava from viewing sales and inventory data efficiently. Reporting was a big pain point for Escava, as it took him up to 30 minutes to download one sales report. "I check sales and inventory data religiously," explains Escava. "However, when I attempted to log on remotely, the connection was often unreliable, and it took too long to connect. Also, if my associates happened to be in the back office, they could see the data that was on the screen. I didn't want the associates to view any sensitive data. And, finally, if a manager needed to use the back office computer while I was logged on remotely, I would get kicked off."