Opening a quilt store requires a significant financial investment. Real estate, inventory, marketing, and personnel costs quickly add up. New entrepreneurs often overlook the expense of having the necessary software to run an efficient store. Here are the primary applications you must have to make your quilt shop successful.
Inventory management is necessary to ensure the profitability of your business. Inventory control helps you understand the amount of fabric you have left on a bolt after it has been cut. These systems also help you manage the quantity and location of accessories, such as rotary cutters, cutting mats, and notions. Applications are now merging inventory management with retail point of service systems. Programs, such as LikeSew, provide a comprehensive quilt store POS solution. It manages inventory control and sales transactions. LikeSew includes features such as:
- Customer loyalty management
- Promotional text message distribution
- Online review support
- E-commerce optimization
- Comprehensive sales and inventory reports
Accounting software helps you pay bills, invoice customers, and prepare taxes. If you plan to do your accounting, you can select an application appropriate for your skill level. However, if you are contracting with a freelance bookkeeper or accountant, invest in the same system they use. If you use two different applications, exporting data to another application can lead to data loss.
Tracking employee work times gives you an electronic record of your team’s work hours. Combined with your accounting application, it can make payroll easier. Having sufficient employees on the sales floor is critical to customer service. Monitoring the hours your team works allows you to make strategic scheduling decisions. It also ensures that your shop is covered when employees are on break or lunch.
Every company needs dependable and fast internet service. You will likely want a wired service if it is available in your area. If your shop does not have access to wired internet capabilities, you will need satellite or wireless internet access. Select an Internet Service provider that provides quality, reliable service. Other metrics to consider are:
- Response time
- Available Bandwidth
- Customer Service
When selecting your telephone service, you have two options – PBX or Voice over Internet Protocol. Both services give you access to multiple phone lines, voice mail, and call routing. The primary difference is that PBX service is provided over a traditional telephone line, and VoIP uses the internet to deliver your telephony service. Your internet provider can typically help you set up a VoIP system. VoIP gives you more flexibility because you can sync your cell phone to your phone system, giving you access to your phone even when your shop is closed. However, it also requires dependable internet service.
Digital Photo Software
If you share photos on your website or social media, a comprehensive photo editing package is necessary to show off your products, patterns, and samples. Many quilt shop owners attract customers to their stores by posting tutorial videos on their social media channels. Photo and video editing allows you to make professional-looking images to share with your customers. Don’t forget to invest in a three-point lighting kit to produce the best-looking videos.
If you haven’t considered designing quilt patterns, now is the time to consider this option. Selling your quilt patterns increases your profit margins, as you do not pay royalty fees to other artists. Quilt design software electronically places your designs with different fabric colors or patterns. Your customers will also appreciate the unique designs that you offer. You can make fabric suggestions based on your inventory, or customers can personalize their creations with fabrics of their choice.
Camera and Projector
Workshops not only generate income from registration fees but also from impulse purchases. Have a high-quality video camera with a macro lens for hands-on tutorials. You can then use a projector to share your images on the screen in real-time. This makes it easier for your participants to see exactly what you are doing.
Putting these tools in place before you open your quilt shop helps align your business for success. While it is necessary to monitor your initial expenses, working with limited applications and then transitioning to upgraded systems can be more costly in the long run.