When you step into the swanky shop floor of Tail Lovers Company, the first thing you notice is a multitude of pictures of dogs in Yoga poses, looking serene, confident and most importantly, happy. As a customer, this is the moment when you think, “Yeah, my dog is going to like being pampered by the products here!”
Perhaps the idea of using the Yoga Dogs posters is a natural extension of partner Sandeep’s first love, and his earlier profession – he was a photographer who moved to Bangalore, India from New Zealand.
In a new city, he found companionship in his dog, Pudding, taking him on long walks and exploring the new city together. But when the time came to pamper his dog with some treats or even just a good dog shampoo, he realized that there were no stores around that catered specifically to pets and their needs.
In 2008, Sandeep and his partner Ridhima started Paws – The Pet Store as a place for dog lovers and their furry friends to get some much needed TLC (pun intended) while shopping for the best pet care brands from across the world.
Tail Lovers Company Is More Than Just A Store
At TLC, when you ask for pet food, you aren’t simply pointed to a shelf and asked to choose from a variety of Pedigree packs. For the people who own the place and work here, TLC is about getting to know each customer, furry or otherwise.
The folks here actually remember every pet that walks into their store. They know what products your pooch loved the last time around. They know what to recommend for each animal’s specific needs- from a long shiny coat to doggy treats and nutrition advice. Most importantly, they know that pets are family.
This approach to running a store is what keeps customers coming back- from custom-made leashes, bowls and beds to products from renowned pet-care brands such as Kong and Flexi Leash, Sandeep and Ridhima stock their stores with only those products that they personally believe will add value to customers.
A Day In The Retail Store
TLC knows that when it comes to pets and their needs, there’s no room for a day off. They’re open all seven days a week, and the more the pet lovers who walk in, the happier they are. When Paws started out, they barely had two or three walk-in customers. Today, they usually see about a hundred customers visit their stores every day.
Their choice of store locations ensures that the store space is more than enough for several four legged animals to occupy at any given point in time. The helpful retail staff is attentive and knowledgeable- a huge plus point, considering there is so much variety in the pet food and grooming market.
Sandeep and Ridhima usually camp out on the top floor of one of their Bangalore stores, so they’re always there to help when a relatively new pet-parent walks in.
The Challenges Of A Growing Business
That we live in a very fast-paced world is no myth. With less time on hand each day for social interactions and India as a country moving into a more nuclear setup, several people find solace in their pets. Gone are the days of getting dogs home as guards- now, they’re part of the family.
To cater to this ever increasing demand for pet products across cities, TLC hopes to have about twenty stores open and running by the end of 2017’s first half. As any retailer knows, this is an ambitious target in a geographically vast and diverse country, both in terms of the front-end, and managing inventory at the back. Sandeep agrees that when they had just one store open, they knew in their heads exactly how many items and under what categories they had. As the number of stores is increasing, it is harder to keep track of inventory across all stores at the same time.
Then there is the issue of going online. Any retailer who wants to grow cannot pretend that online retail doesn’t exist. However, it comes with its own challenges- aspects such as the price of having an online store, shipping and delivery all being to eat into a portion of the margins. Also, when you begin to sell both online and in physical stores, how do you keep track of inventory? How do you decide which channel is bringing in the highest sales?
In this scenario, is it even possible to expand even further?
Primaseller’s Role In TLC’s Growth
Primaseller is all about focused problem solving. The software gives any retailer a complete look at their revenues and inventory.
Separate sections for online orders, points of sale and B2B orders lets sellers break their business down into the components where their sales happen. With the new Reports feature, one can sort orders based on a host of parameters including, but not limited to, channels, time period, payment methods and products sold.
The Purchase Orders feature lets sellers place a comprehensive order for products from their vendor in a manner that is easy to keep track of, both for themselves and the vendor. The Accounting feature is integrated with both Tally and Quickbooks, so all invoices can directly be synced with any one of these accounting software.
For a growing company like TLC that has ambitious expansion plans, it made sense to use Primaseller. The compelling factor for them to continue using it was the sheer number of issues at the grassroots level that the software managed to address.
Billing was chaotic. There was a separate billing system for online orders and at points of sale. Sometimes, manual bills were created to make checking out faster for the customer. As a result, some invoices were digital, some were printed and some were written by hand, making accounting impossible when the time came.
What Primaseller Changed
The problem of using different billing systems for different selling channels was eliminated altogether. Primaseller is integrated with Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and Magento among others, and is expected to keep adding to the list of names. Moreover, Primaseller works as a billing system in physical stores as well as for B2B sales.
Hence, not only is the manual component of billing and inventory updation eliminated altogether, TLC could now do it across as many channels as they needed to.
Keeping track of inventory, even post sales, was a huge problem. Dedicated staff were required to count products across locations and keep updating them periodically. If this didn’t happen smoothly, the risk of running out of stock was always present. Moreover, raising a restocking request was arbitrary.
What Primaseller Changed
At its heart, Primaseller is all about effective inventory management– that seemingly elusive ideal case scenario wherein you never have to worry about having too much or too little stock.
Firstly, Primaseller eliminated the need for manual counting of stock repeatedly. This exercise only needed to be done once, when they set up the software. After this, every time a sale is made on any channel, the inventory level for products sold is readjusted.
Also, when TLC raises a purchase order request and their vendor delivers it, the stock level is moved up based on how many products you’ve received. For all of their multiple facilities from where products are sold or shipped, inventory is specifically adjusted for whichever facility is doing the shipping or receiving of goods.
With automated inventory management, TLC has now managed to eliminate the issue of manual counting and using spreadsheets to keep track of inventory, thus saving immensely in terms of time and resources.
As business owners, Sandeep and Ridhima have a lot on their plate, from immense customer satisfaction to the bottom line. Sales need to reflect trends across product categories so they can choose what products to stock and what to stop selling. They need to know each customer who walks into their stores and what their preferred products are. They need to know how well their brand is doing across channels.
What Primaseller Changed
Primaseller’s dashboard solved a major headache for Sandeep – knowing what is happening in his business in an instant. It gives him a good look at his sales in the past week and month, as well as the current day.
The dashboard then presents summaries of sales made across each of their channels, along with the status of each online and B2B order. If you want to delve deeper, all you have to do is use the tabs on the left hand side to get a perspective on everything, from your customer information to trends, sales and accounting.
With Primaseller, TLC found that all of their products were always accounted for, at each step of the way, until the time they were delivered to a customer. With sales trends now at the tip of their fingers, expansion became a real possibility.
We’re Keeping Up!
As a growing business, Primaseller knows that ambitions and plans can only grow exponentially, as is the case with TLC too. The focus is always on keeping up with the business growth of people who sign up to use the software, and the constant addition of new features is centered around you.
At TLC, they’re looking forward to leverage a few features that are in the pipeline and will be launched very soon!
- While multiple currencies are supported on Primaseller, Currency conversion is one feature we are working extra hard on, so that selling internationally becomes a lot more hassle-free. Now, when you ship internationally, you won’t have to worry about rate conversions because the software is going to do that for you.
- The new Reports feature is getting even better, with more options for you to sort and sift through data and make business sense out of it.
- Primaseller is also looking to add a lot of features on the inventory handling front, so stay tuned for updates!
On a store visit to one of TLC’s earliest stores in Bangalore, we instantly fall in love with their animals-in-residence, including a four-legged one and a winged one who loves watching over people.
One customer walks in with a request for a custom collar for their pet Beagle, Popeye. As they browse through and reach the billing counter with their cart, the look of contentment on their face is testimony of what a great job Tail Lovers Company is doing.
As TLC’s partners in retail management, having eased out the process of doing business for them, we can’t help but feel a deep sense of pride.