“Changing your POS software can be a pretty daunting concept but making the switch to Retail Express was actually really straight forward. Our in-store staff were able to pick up how to use the POS very easily as the system is so intuitive and the training materials were excellent. Our head office team were supported by a personal Success Manager at Retail Express so that we could migrate our data and roll out the new system as quickly and seamlessly as possible.”
– Dax Bykerk, Co-Founder
Return on Investment Summary
A Transformation From A Wholesaler to An Agile Omni-Channel Leader
BAKU was founded on the beaches of Sydney, through its original brand Bubbles Beach Co, in 1969.
1995 saw the introduction of the BAKU label and in 1999 the company changed hands to the next generation, brother and sister, Dax and Tamara Bykerk.
Dax and Tamara had ambitious plans for evolving their family business beyond a manufacturing and wholesaling model to also operating a retail presence. They believed this would allow their products to get maximum exposure and build a direct brand relationship with the end consumer.
Alongside running the day to day business operations, Dax and Tamara are also the dynamic design duo behind the brand. BAKU continues to make all its swimwear in Australia. Not only is this highly appealing to discerning shoppers looking for Australian-made products; it also allows the business to adapt its design and production in response to trends in the market and inventory replenishment requirements.
Growing to 21 retail stores and a high traffic eCommerce store, BAKU has come a long way under the leadership of Dax and Tamara and is now a flagship brand of the Australian swimwear market.
Building the Right Systems For A New Business Model & Growth
As BAKU increasingly expanded beyond its wholesaling roots into physical stores and eCommerce, it became more and more apparent that their old software systems were not configured to support the effective operation of this new retail component of their business.
They needed a software solution that would provide them with visibility and control over their multiple store locations, their online presence, and an intuitive Point of Sale system to handle transactions and customer data.
“We wanted to introduce a POS system that was cloud-based as we didn’t want to incur the expenses, hassles and data sync delay issues of having installed software sitting on servers in each store. We wanted to be able to see live, accurate data on stock levels, customers and transactions across every store, and for staff at each location to have a POS system that allowed them to provide an amazing experience for our customers.”
– Dax Bykerk, Co-Founder
“It was also essential that the new POS software integrate with our manufacturing and wholesale software ‘Niche’, and our Shopify Plus eCommerce platform so that all levels of our business operations were working in unison.” Dax added.
“After researching a range of options, we were really impressed with the solution presented by Retail Express. It offered the functionality, integration and cloud capabilities we were seeking at an affordable level of investment. It was the only solution that seemed to cater to our medium sized, growing retail business. There’s lot of basic cloud POS systems on the market but they clearly aren’t designed with multi-store or omni-channel in mind. The only other systems offering the capabilities we wanted were very expensive and overly-complex enterprise software applications - most of which weren’t even cloud-based.” says Dax.
With the decision made to proceed with Retail Express, BAKU benefited from the guided implementation and training services that are included as part of the solution.
Agile Inventory & Production Management
The first major advantage that BAKU saw as a result of introducing Retail Express – as well as an integrated RFID solution from Ramp - was regaining control over inventory management. These systems unveiled just how much inventory was moving between stores and provided new processes to help ensure the right stock levels were in the right locations at the right time.
“With swimwear we obviously have a lot of mix and match products and different sizes so it’s very easy for stores to become overstocked in some SKUs and understocked in others. Prior to using Retail Express and Ramp RFID technology, our stores were regularly transferring stock between each other in order to respond to demand. But that resulted in an uncontrollable system with lots of unnecessary and duplicated freight costs and staff time wasted. Now we have a clearer picture of how much each store has in stock and how much they are selling so we can adjust our production runs to directly replenish each store with the right stock.” says Dax.
BAKU’s visibility into their operations was even further enhanced with the introduction of Phocas – a business intelligence software solution that directly integrates with Retail Express.
“With Phocas now integrated into Retail Express, we have real-time insights into all facets of our operations. We can see all the key performance metrics relating to sales, inventory, customers and product range at a group, store or even individual salesperson level. With Retail Express, Niche, Shopify Plus and Phocas all integrated together we can quickly pull the necessary levers in our design, manufacturing, wholesale, retail or eCommerce operations to respond to any opportunities or risks we identify from our reports.”
– Dax Bykerk, Co-Founder
Doubling Online Sales Growth Via A Truly Omni-channel Customer Experience
By building out a Shopify Plus eCommerce presence that integrates directly with Retail Express, BAKU have been able to double their year-over-year online revenue as well as significantly increase in-store foot traffic and sales.
The integration has enabled them to introduce a wide-range of omni-channel best practices including:
Leveraging all their store inventory online to maximise customer choice and sales potential
Presenting live inventory levels for online orders to increase customer confidence and conversion rates
Displaying live Stock-in-Store and offering instant Click & Collect to satisfy customers demand for immediate access to goods and to drive in-store foot traffic
Shipping orders from any nearby store locations with optimum inventory cover to enable faster and more flexible home delivery
Providing customers with a unified in-store and online profile so when they login they can see all their order history across all channels
Over 40% of web orders are now shipped from a store rather than a central warehouse and BAKU are expecting this trend will continue to increase with consumer demand for faster home delivery.
Adaptable to Change
Dax has no doubt that BAKU’s integrated software ecosystem with Retail Express at the core was pivotal in their ability to navigate the most turbulent era that the retail sector has ever seen.
“I have no doubt we wouldn’t have navigated all of the challenges we’ve faced – especially those during the Covid pandemic – if we hadn’t focused on being agile and in control of our own manufacturing through to the in-store experience. Retail Express has been fundamental to running these agile operations. It has allowed us to become adaptable to change in a time where that is probably the most important capability for a retailer to survive and thrive.”
– Dax Bykerk, Co-Founder