- Louisa Collins, Purchasing Coordinator and IT Support at iiaa
34,000 salon and spa owners, beauty press, students and investors—from the simplistic beauty minimalists to naturalists to eclectic colourists with flawless skin, and ultra-modern divergents of Mondrian-esque hues embodied in tiny masterpieces on each perfectly polished nail.
In the whirlwind of the United Kingdom’s Professional Beauty Exhibition 2015 in London, the International Institute for Anti-Ageing (iiaa) stands apart from the excited rush—cool, collected, clinical. They are the scientists of the industry.
Behind the science of beauty is the careful and smart B2B operation. To the salon world, iiaa is a wholesale product distributor. They supply the triune secret of advanced biological technology in the form of supplements, skincare products, and make up, and they train skincare professionals and new therapists from Beauty College. They are renowned for the quality of their products. Salons and customers alike are eager to be supplied with their award-winning formula for beauty.
Iiaa’s goal is to educate those who stock their product but they wanted to be educated themselves as well, to learn about the people who love and benefit from their products. Because they have traditionally been distributors only, they have little face-to-face with their end users. This year’s exhibition afforded iiaa a unique opportunity to learn more about their customers and begin their journey as a retailer.
Whereas they have been lively participants in Professional Beauty tradeshows for years, this is the first year in which they leveraged retail software that allowed them to do much more than just accept payments and dole out change. iiaa took on the purely mobile, modular retail management platform, Retail Pro Prism, running on several HP Elite pads, to replace their old POS system—“The Big Calculator. I don’t know what else to call it!,” Louisa Collins, iiaa’s Purchasing Coordinator and IT Support, quipped in our interview. What they saw as critical in Retail Pro Prism’s offer is “the simplicity of the tender screen, its functionality, and the reports.”
Retail Pro Business Partner, Datascan, completed the Prism deployment long before the exhibition, but on the day of the event, Louisa realized she didn’t know how to connect Prism to the server. “Dave, one of the tech guys from Datascan drove four hours to help me at the exhibition, and he stayed to help in case anything else came up. He was on-call with us the whole time,” Louisa remembers. “At one point, we were so busy, we even had him run transactions for us!” Retail Pro service was unlike any other.
That level of dedicated support is what Retail Pro is known for in its channel support network. “Their support was fantastic. I haven’t dealt with a company that put so much effort into making sure the customer was taken care of. We thought we were just a small company taking on their till.”
In choosing a retail management software, image was a critical factor to iiaa. One of the things that caught their eye with Retail Pro Prism was its modern look. “Prism matched what our brand looks like: clinical, sleek!” Louisa said. iiaa customized Prism’s user interface with their logo and have customized their printed documents as well.
With their previous POS, receipts consisted of a slip of paper with just the date and the amount of product sold. The receipts they are printing with Retail Pro Prism are completely branded and detailed. “Our customers told us, ‘It’s such a professional look now!’”
Louisa loves Retail Pro Prism’s scanning and touchscreen capabilities. “It’s so efficient…just brilliant!” she said. Her colleagues feel just as strongly: “Oh my god, this is a dream!” The touch screen buttons on the interface give quick access to products, so transaction times decrease, and Prism’s flexible design allows them to customize the interface to be as simple or detailed as they need.
Voiding transactions is simple as well. “We used to have to print a receipt and write void on it,” Louisa remembers, “but now we can just void it without any trouble. And we can put through products that we couldn’t before for a new client deposit or opening order.” This is especially important at large events like the Professional Beauty exhibition, where there is a chaos of customers trying to visit as many stands as possible to take advantage of all the goods available.