World Cup Edition: Montclair Soccer Stop
Welcome to the latest addition to the Bindo Blog, our Merchant of the Week section. We will be featuring some great merchants and asking them about the retail landscape and how they are using Bindo to improve their business.
In lieu of the World Cup, we’d like to kick off (no pun intended!) this week’s retailer with Jeffrey Hastie from Montclair Soccer Stop. The shop sits in the heart of the New York City suburb of Montclair, NJ. It is a very charming store that is packed floor to ceiling with soccer apparel, gear, and equipment. We asked Jeffrey how he went from IT consulting to retail and who he’s picking in the World Cup that kicks-off today!
Bindo: What were you doing before you got involved with Montclair Soccer Stop?
Jeffrey Hastie: I was an IT consultant and an IT executive. I worked for news organizations and banks prior to doing my own consulting, and then I bought the store 2 years ago.
Bindo: Why did you go from high tech to retail?
JH: I just have a real passion for soccer, my kids play, and I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and be an entrepreneur, so I combined the two.
Bindo: What are the current trends and pressures in retail right now?
JH: The challenge for any retailer, it’s all about customer service and interacting with customers. There’s so many avenues and opportunities for folks to buy things right now, and as retailers know the biggest issue is dealing with online sites. The question is, “How do you compete against the online sites?” and it really comes down to really focusing on customer service, being a part of the community, and being engaged. It is important to make your store the place to come because you can provide that service that no one else can provide – definitely the service that online sites cannot provide.
Bindo: Right, as much as the online giants have grown, people still like to come and have that in-store experience. I wouldn’t buy a cleat without coming into the store to try it on, and you guys can provide that kind of expertise when testing things out.
JH: A lot of times with us, it’s parents coming in and buying stuff for their kids and they might not know that much about soccer because it’s not the number one sport in the U.S. They like to come in and talk to people that are more knowledgeable about the sport than they are, instead of going online where they don’t get that kind of interaction. It’s helpful from that perspective, and if we can provide them with that differentiating service when they’re first starting out, we keep them as customer’s throughout their career.
Bindo: You were previously using a version of QuickBooks POS. Now that you have switched over to Bindo’s mobile Point-of-Sale, that is cloud based, have you noticed any added flexibility?
JH: The main flexibility is something that we utilized this past weekend, and that’s the ability to be on site someplace to actually sell our products and services without having to input all of the inventory we are taking with us is making a huge difference. Since Bindo is cloud based and mobile, we can just be on site at a tournament or event and not worry about making sure that we have all of our inventory in that local device to sell. It’s the perfect POS for our soccer store.
Bindo: So you guys bring about 10% of your inventory to an event, but you can sell what you bring to the event and also sell what you did not bring to the event as well?
JH: Exactly. So what’s nice is that we can sell inventory at an event, scan it on site, and there is not reconciliation of products when we return to the store. It’s all reconciled in the cloud.
Bindo: What is a typical reaction from a customer when they’re checking out an iPad for the first time?
JH: They think its cool! Especially when they sign for their credit card with their finger. I like how useful the emailing of the receipt is for people. Keeping track of customer records and archiving their receipts is awesome, because when people come back and do returns, they can just pull it up on their phones, which is great. It makes it a lot easier to keep track of inventory and customers
Bindo: How’s the buzz been around the World Cup?
JH: It’s been really good. This is my first year owning the store doing the World Cup, so I’m excited to see how it goes. We’ve got a lot of ideas of things we want to do during The World Cup: a lot of promotions and a lot of events, so we’ve kind of geared up. We’ve merchandised our store so the entire front of the store is just World Cup material, international jerseys, shorts, and the whole nine yards. We want to use it as a launching point to start engaging customers beyond the store through things like social media.
Bindo: Who is your pick to win the World Cup?
JH: Well, it’s hard to go against Brazil at home. Brazil’s actually pretty good, especially since they’ve changed styles. They’re not about flash anymore, they’re about playing as a team. Team defense, and team attack, so that’s good to watch. Other than that, I’d go out on a limb, and go for a dark horse, and say Belgium. Belgium looks like a really good team. They’ve got no pressure on them, so they can play freely.
Bindo: I like those picks, Brazil is going to be really tough to beat on their home turf, but there’s going to be so much pressure on them.
JH: Yeah, it could be like the Russian hockey team.
Bindo: The Belgians are a smart pick, I mean, they’re super athletic, they’re young, but they’ve got a lot of world class players on their team.
JH: Yeah it should be good, should be a lot of fun. They’ve got no pressure on them, so they can play freely.
Have anything to say to Montclair Soccer? Please do tell us in the comments!