- Hey, what made you so happy ?
- No, nothing – I hung up the phone, shook my head and answered the question.
- Oh! Come on! Have you got a boyfriend? – Joyfully said my mother
- Haha! I wish it were a truth, Mom.
That’s the first time I can smile beamingly since we started work from home due to COV-19 social distancing.
As a POS Omnichannel solution provider, we understand that providing features that seem to be fit with client’s expectations are not enough but we have to tailor our system to client’s operation overall and streamline all processes in their businesses in the long-term that finally helps customers operate their activities more and more easily each day. MrPet is one of our long-term partners whom we also tried to optimize his business in the same way: from his expectation, we have gradually set up system to replace the old one.
Greg Penno – store owner who has been working with us directly to set up the system for this business is a very smart, intelligent and hard-working man and I’m so proud that I have had a chance to talk with him since the first days to set up a POS system for 9 stores and 11 stores nowadays.
Greg is not only the man who understands his employee’s pain but also the man who thoroughly comprehends the POS Omnichannel system. Because Magento is the most customizable platform, he usually suggests to us about his ideal ways to tailor the system to his business operation with the very detailed documents describing everything logically. Therefore, we can easily do customization based on his requests or quickly suggest an optimized approach for the problem he meets by digging more deeply in the root cause of his detailed sharing and using our expert’s 10-year Magento- experience and knowledge.
Everything seems to be very smooth in our cooperation when we can gradually develop customization to tailor to Greg’s roadmap while he’s more and more familiar with our solution and can assist us in giving requirements or even approach more specifically. Then COV-19 suddenly comes that changes a lot of things. The global economy has been struck seriously by Corona pandemic: a lot of stores are lock down, staffs are required to take a leave off respectively to guarantee that the required distance is maintained at least 6 feet (1.8m), nobody wants to leave their home to go shopping or unemployment everywhere that lead to substantial sales drop in most businesses. Being a necessity store, MrPets confronts another problem: his online sales has witnessed a dramatic increase, mostly for store pickup orders, estimated about as 10 times as the number of store-pickup orders before pandemic.
He, therefore, tried to design a very detailed process of taking advantage of the Magento backend to guide staff in fulfilling orders properly. However, with the cutdown of the number of staff working in a store square meter (to guarantee 6ft distancing) and a complex process in the backend, it’s still hard for MrPets’s store to fulfill such a large number of orders. Specifically, the hardest part might be editing orders: Magento does not allow editing orders to guarantee the accuracy of data. Although products are always available in all stores, they are not exactly available in the store the customer wants to go to pick up. Therefore, staff often call/email customers to announce the estimated available time or suggest the alternative products that finally lead to the change of order value. However, all orders in fulfillment steps are verified and invoiced orders (confirmed to be paid by card). If staff change products, order value is changed and staff has to take the extra fee or refund the remaining customers when this person comes to pick up in store. It does mean that POS has to allow this process to happen easily. Plus, the new order created after editing should have the same number order as the old one so staff and customers will not be confused. Meanwhile, the old order should be kept in the system for accounting purposes later. To solve the urgent problem with store pickup orders in stores, Greg truly wants us to immediately help in editing orders in POS quickly, taking advantage of PWA technology. It seems to be simple if editing order is the only thing we need to do.
However, as an experienced product consultant, I understand that this is only the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t figured out the best way with my team to optimize the workflow here while Greg was very rushed due to the shortage of staff in store who have to handle the increasing number of pickup orders now. I’m confused and worried too. I tried to organize several meetings with our team and experts but the problem cannot be solved. A lot of ideas are brought up but they cannot be arranged as a logical and smooth process. Plus, there were a few missing points that we cannot understand clearly that might lead to an incomprehensive solution in the long-term. Of course, we totally can customize based on the missing process then we can add them later because of the flexibility in customization of Magento, our ethics in doing business doesn’t allow us to approach this way. On the one hand, I tried to apologize to Greg in regards to 2-week-delay (this seems to be short but the longest since we worked with him) in delivering solutions. On the other hand, I tried to collect all people’s ideas, devour a lot of documents and ask a lot of other retailer experts, days and nights, working days or weekends, hoping to find an ideal approach here. When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it (Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist).
Then one day, it seems to be clear that I can design a suitable approach that can cover all scenarios for store-pickup. Taking advantage of the user-friendly interface of POS PWA and combining UX lessons picked up everywhere, I designed a rough process and mock-up which are quite suitable here. I tried to reach Sophie – an experienced business analyst who has very extensive and detailed knowledge of MrPet’s operation to ask for her feedback. Everything seemed to go on the right track. We both agreed that it should be presented to Greg to see his comments here. He was quite impressed with our approach and truly made lots of contributions by sharing his current process and detailed documents which are used to train staff. It was Friday night when we got a full process after presenting a rough solution but Sophie immediately worked on the new documents through the weekends, breaking down the tasks, preparing a meticulous diagram for our devs to easily work on. Although the team was quite busy these days with a lot of ongoing projects, we decided to arrange a meeting immediately on Monday to proceed with everything. With a clear process and mock-up that are prepared previously, our experts can easily suggest the solution, estimate the project, timeline and suggest a few optimizations to have a complete process for curbside pickup.
We totally believe that the initial delay is worth Greg’s waiting here. I arranged a meeting with Greg immediately to discuss the full solution with him:
- Wow! Wow! It’s amazing.
- Yeah! I truly believe it works. You know, I totally believe that my staffs will not be confused anymore by working on this PWA POS interface
- Wow! I have never thought about that. We totally can do this for the future process too.
Tons of WOW during our conversation brought me to cloud 9. (if you’re a fan of Avenger Endgame, let’s say, my feeling is something similar to Tony Stark’s feeling when listening to his cute daughter confessing her love: I love you 3000 😀 ). Although Greg is always a kind guy who compliments our software and appreciates our effort each time we deliver a feature optimizing his business successfully, I totally feel different this time. Our team’s effort is worth 3000 WOWs here. I just wished that I could invite all members of our team to join in the meeting to listen to Greg’s feelings when checking our presented solution.
Going from an idea to realization is not an easy but a very interesting path. We feel more and more trustful, determined and committed to our initial value since the first days we established the company: becoming a trusted partner in a life-time, assisting clients in bringing both parties to the higher level.
Now, it’s totally not flabbergasted why I just hung up the phone and my mom thought that I just had a conversation with my boyfriend, right? If each day I can bring such experience to clients, I believe that I even can sleep with a hanger in my mouth all the times 😀