Retail outlet businesses survive on thin margins and optimized processes. For VOWS Bridal Outlet, offering designer wedding gowns at 50-80% discounts from the retail price means the store must run as efficiently as possible to keep customers happy and inventory moving. The company’s business model has been to dig through factory attics, boutique back rooms, and department store warehouses across the world to purchase sought-after designer gowns.
Scheduling appointments via telephone was a roadblock to optimized efficiency – especially after the store was featured on the TLC TV hit “I Found the Gown.” Handling the increased volume of phone calls presented a challenge for VOWS owner Rick DeAngelo.
“I want my people selling dresses and making brides feel beautiful,” says DeAngelo, “not answering phones and doing paperwork.”
Rick found his answer — as in the past — in an Intuit QuickBase application. Leveraging the expertise of The Data Collaborative, Inc., Rick was able to build an application that allows customers to book, confirm, and track their own appointments via the web. The result is happier customers, employees, and owners.
Here Come the Brides
Efficiently booking appointment times is key to the company’s success, since each customer needs individualized attention from an experienced staff member. The popularity of “I Found the Gown” meant employees were spending too much time on the phone scheduling (and rescheduling) appointment times and not enough time working with customers.
Rick DeAngelo has always been an early adopter of productivity software. He was among the first to use File Maker Pro and Excel spreadsheets, and was also an early adopter of Intuit QuickBase after seeing its potential to store vast quantities of customer, inventory, invoicing, and other types of data. A quick study, Rick has built many of the QuickBase applications used at VOWS, and integrated them into the everyday functions of the company.
So when it came to solving the challenge posed by the crush of phone inquiries, Rick looked into ways Intuit QuickBase could automate and streamline even more of the store’s appointment activities. Realizing the challenge was greater than in some past applications, Rick brought in The Data Collaborative to build an easy-to-navigate web application that would allow customers to book their own appointments. Everything needed to be scheduled, tracked, and confirmed via the web. In short, he wanted no more telephone time.
That’s exactly the QuickBase application Data Collaborative built for him. Now brides – and their attendants, mothers, friends and other interested parties – can log onto the website any time and quickly schedule an appointment.
With our help, Rick is now even able to use QuickBase at the Point of Sale. The sale price and date go right into QuickBase, so indicators like ROI and monthly sales figures are available instantly, and from anywhere.
To make a profit, inventory needs to turn over quickly. Rick wants to add new inventory to the QuickBase database as soon as possible — even where there is no cell coverage. So we’re working with him to use Data Collaborative’s new Moby Quick offline mobile data entry for QuickBase to speed up that process.
With Moby Quick, he and Leslie — his wife and business partner — will be able to enter new inventory they’ve purchased right from the warehouse (or wherever) directly into their mobile devices —regardless of whether they’re connected to a cell network, wifi or neither. As soon as they’re back online, this newly entered data will sync with the main QuickBase application. This means the new inventory is available for resale even before they get back to the shop and to all those brides!