When Maria first came to us in August 2019, she had just started her new crafts business and needed an EPOS system to help her easily manage stock, make sales, and importantly a way to sell online that was connected to her main store.
With the pandemic hitting in early 2020, she soon pivoted her retail business to focus on ecommerce sales. With the release of AirPOS x Shopify, Maria has been able to connect her EPOS system and ecommerce systems with ease.
We reached out to Maria to find out more about her retail crafts shop, why she choose AirPOS, and how setting up an ecommerce store isn’t as hard as it sounds.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Maria McCarthy. I’m originally from Dublin, living in Tralee in Co Kerry for over 20 years. I have a background in fashion design and multimedia design.
I’ve been a craft maker all my life, knitting, crocheting, sewing and generally making things. My mother taught me to knit when I was a child and I’ve had a love for it ever since.
Tell us more about your business, Maria's Wool Shop
In early 2018, while running a dressmaking and clothes alteration business, the owner of my local wool shop retired, leaving a big hole for the local crafting community.
I saw an opportunity and began gradually incorporating knitting supplies into my business. I slowly gave up alterations, stopping them completely in March 2020 and the first lockdown hit. I focussed then entirely on building a retail business.
I sell wool (or yarn, depending on where you come from), patterns, books and embroidery supplies and the professional advice to go with it all. I’m based in the centre of the town of Tralee in Co. Kerry.
What challenges did you face when the pandemic hit last year?
I joined AirPOS in August 2019 because I needed an EPOS system for my shop and I wanted to have a website that would “talk” to it so I could keep track of stock and sales.
I put work on the website side of things on the long finger for months. When the pandemic hit I pulled about two weeks of almost all-nighters to get the website up and running, kicking myself for my procrastination because it was relatively simple in the end.
Once I got it off the ground it really helped to keep things afloat while I was closed. Web sales were steady and it served its purpose very well.
What were you looking for when you found AirPOS?
When I first signed up with AirPOS I had around 1500 items in my inventory, I have about double that now. I needed an EPOS system that would keep track of all that easily.
I had planned on launching a website from the start and needed that to be involved in the tracking. Having used AirPOS just as an EPOS system for the first 6 months or so I found it invaluable for organising and tracking stock.
When I did launch the website I found it a little basic with no design options. It was able to handle the stock well and most of my customers were fine using it. There were a few technical issues but all in all, it did the job.
It did become clear after the first few months that it needed a different “look” and my needs had outgrown its capabilities. In order to be more competitive, I wanted to be able to change the website’s functionality.
I thought about leaving and finding an EPOS system that would integrate with other ecommerce stores and was delighted to learn of the AirPOS and Shopify integration.
What POS System were you using before AirPOS?
Square, I think. It was free and did the EPOS job but not the integrated website job.
How long have you been using AirPOS? What are your favourite features?
I’ve been using AirPOS since August 2019.
The detailed reports feature is helpful for planning wholesale orders based on past sales.
Being able to edit item variants.
You’re using our new AirPOS & Shopify integration, how long did it take to set up and how has it helped your business?
It took about a month to do the basic setup.
I found a theme that I liked, recommended by a Shopify expert brought into one of AirPOS’s zoom Q & A sessions for beta testers.
The initial design phase did not take long and everything moved across smoothly. But I had a lot of categories to organise.
It needed to look uncluttered and be easy to navigate. It required a lot of organisation, so that took a while.
For example, on the AirPOS site, I could only have 1 image per item but I could have multiple images on Shopify.
I have over 2000 knitting patterns in stock so I needed to source and add an additional 2000 images to each so customers could not only see images of completed garments but also the requirements to make them.
Once all the initial legwork was done it definitely made things easier.
It’s easy to maintain and update. It’s easier for customers to find things. There are a number of alternative payment options for customers which helps.
I’m improving my SEO, but this is an ongoing job.
What would you say to retailers who are hesitating about selling online?
Go for it. It doesn’t cost much to set up and it’s important to have a web presence nowadays. I would highly recommend the Shopify integration with AirPOS.
There are more payment options, design features available and there is more scope for improving your SEO (Search engine optimisation, better known as being found online).
AirPOS customer service is friendly, helpful and above all, prompt.
Have a look at AirPOS businesses using their own website system and those using the Shopify integration and see if either would work for you before you commit.
Pick up the phone and chat with me if you like.
Do you have any tips or recommendations for retailers who want to start selling online?
If you’re a bit unsure, start off small and just sell a few things to see how it goes.
If you need help with design, get it, it’s worth it, a professional-looking website makes all the difference to your customers.
But learn how to maintain it yourself to keep your costs down, adding items to your inventory, uploading images, adding content, etc.
Unless you’re selling just a handful of things that you can keep track of it’s critical to have a system that talks to your website (that’s where AirPOS and Shopify’s integration is perfect).
You don’t want to sell something online and sell the same thing in-store before you’ve taken it off the shelf. You’ll also save yourself a lot of time in the long run if you’re not updating the available stock on your website manually every time you make a sale.
Want to get started with Ecommerce?
If you’re a retailer that’s been thinking about setting up an ecommerce site but don’t know where to start, or you’ve got an existing site that you want to connect to your EPOS system to make your life easier, speak with our team.
Our goal is to help retailers sell online with ease, so you can focus on running your business, and making more sales.