- Flexible retail systems enable pop-up schoolwear shops to help manage the busy summer, extending the sales period to run from Easter to October
- Live sales and stocks from school sales and online orders provide accurate stock updates for management team through connected accounts system
- Wholesale module enables Simmonds to manage effective distribution of schoolwear products to over 50 schools
“We work with over 70 school customers and there is no doubt that Eurostop is central to our business. Eurostop’s systems are used by everyone throughout the company – from staff working in our stores in schools to our merchandisers and warehouse team.
The flexibility that Eurostop offers enables us to run extra pop-up shops in schools during the summer period, helping us manage an incredibly busy time. It’s better for the parents and schools and enables us to ensure we can meet demand.”
Karen Gore, General Manager, Simmonds
Retail technology for a thriving seasonal business
Established in 1837, Simmonds & Son is a family firm selling school uniforms with the aim to provide value for money and excellent service. The company supplies to over 70 schools in total. This includes over 50 wholesale school customers, selling in 19 in-school stores across the UK, a flagship store in Tunbridge Wells and a central distribution centre in Tonbridge.
With the success of a growing business, Simmonds found that the focus for sales in the summer months was becoming increasingly challenging, particularly meeting the last minute demand in the back to school rush in August. The company wanted to extend its ability to sell in the schools but starting earlier in the term, which would enable it to reorder stocks as necessary.
Simmonds is an established user of Eurostop retail systems – to manage stocks and sales online, in its main store, school shops, central warehouse, as well as to its school ‘wholesale’ customers. Simmonds are now also using Eurostop to support additional ‘pop-up’ shops in the schools, and to help alleviate the back to school rush.
Schools don’t necessarily have the space to hold large amounts of stock, or have dedicated real estate for a standalone shop. Simmonds are able to take advantage of the versatility of the Eurostop POS system, which enables them to setup in school ‘event shops’ for special promotions, or pop-up shops during the week. The system has offline capabilities for selling, still allowing automatic upload of sales via the inbuilt queuing mechanism, once the till is back online.
Simmonds also use Eurostop’s wholesale module to manage and control its range of stock as it supplies over 50 stores across the UK with uniform products.
Connected pop-up schoolwear shops help meet high demand during peak times
This has extended the sales period to run from Easter to October, helping to ease the main back to school rush which used to add pressure before the school year started. The Eurostop retail software and hardware is used by Simmonds management team at their head office, warehouse and pop-up shop staff in multiple locations across the UK. Daily sales from the event stores or pop-up shops synchronise with the head office system, enabling the management teams – both finance and merchandising – to view which items of stock are selling and where orders are needed to replenish. High volume website and wholesale orders are then fulfilled against live stocks and are despatched from the Tonbridge warehouse to Simmonds’ customers.
“We currently have 19 school shops and while they are all run on similar lines, each one is individually tailored to the requirements of the given school. The warehouse not only supports the demands of online selling but also traditional retailing through our Tunbridge Wells store and the shops operated within schools,” explained Karen.
“With the pop-up shops we are able to use Eurostop’s POS system to extend our shop further and enable parents to buy uniform earlier in the term, from Easter through to October, thus avoiding the pressured sales during August. It’s better for the parents and schools, and enables us to ensure we can really meet demand.”
Integration with finance systems keeps a finger on the pulse of the business
The Eurostop retail systems are integrated with Simmonds’ financial system, Sage Accounts, enabling Simmonds to run reports and keep a tight rein on sales and stock supplies to manage costs and profitability. The merchandising team is also able to download reports to see trends, including which lines are more popular and monitor sizes that are in demand.
“The benefit of the integrated system is that we can see what is selling well. Sometimes we find that the sizes of a cohort of children may vary – either bigger or smaller, and being able to start earlier now means that we have time to get more of the right stock in,”
Fast fulfilment of online orders supports growing demand
Integration with Simmonds’ recently updated website also ensures that online orders, a growing part of the business, are fulfilled quickly with all stock centrally managed. Annual stock takes are carried out using the Eurostop system in October and November, for the buying team to forecast and place orders by December for the following year.
“We have seen a lot more parents choosing to buy online for convenience and it is an area that we expect to grow.
Our ultimate aim is to be able to match Amazon and deliver within a few days. Eurostop will help us to achieve this with the connectivity that we have across our systems. We are continually using Eurostop’s system – there is no doubt that it is core to our business,”
About Simmonds & Son
S. Simmonds & Son was established in 1837 by Sarah Simmonds, at the age of sixteen years old, as a general clothing company undertaking alterations and making smocks from its premises in Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells. The company has been run by six successive generations, each with the ethos that customers are the most important part of its business, and is still a family run business today.
The company supplies to over 70 schools, with a shop in Tunbridge Wells, a central distribution centre in Tonbridge and 19 ‘mini-shops’ located in schools across the UK. In 2006 Simmonds launched its online shopping site for school uniforms, www.simmonds-ltd.com, recently upgraded in 2017.