creating a brand-centric shopping experience and exploring new distribution channels were key ingredients to channeling success. Also key: staying the course and sticking to what they do best, outstanding retail customer service!
The first step was not so much a decision, but a company paradigm shift (in 2005), to stop fighting the point-of-sale and start embracing it! A relative new comer to point-of-sale software Retail Pro, implemented by Value Added Reseller JD Associates in 2005, Mexicali was slow to embrace their investment. Integrating the company with point-of-sale software was a big step for Mexicali and initially, it did not appear convenient for a company that at the time was not all that technically savvy. Not to mention the daunting task of a non-barcoded unique inventory with well over 10,000 active product styles. A vertically integrated company that sources all of its products through regular buying trips around the world, Mexicali Blues is not your average inventory. There are no stateside vendor relationships that can be utilized to restock a product when something is a hot seller, meaning that although a POS system may not have seemed convenient at first glance, the payoffs of improved inventory control and hence efficient report utilization would allow Mexicali to forecast future buying scientifically, making retail point-of-sale software integral to the company's best buying practices.
2009's advantageous use of reporting was mainly due the groundwork laid in prior years to create a workable track record and an accurate inventory. This allowed for reports to be confidently integrated into all facets of decision-making. In 2008 Mexicali hit its groove creating a simple proprietary reporting method that was able to identify early consumer trends towards necessity-based purchases and lower price points. The 2009 product mix played to these report findings while still keeping the diverse product mix Mexicali is known for: bazaar-type over-the-top opulence at a variety of price points. Along with opulence, staff at each location, embody an extension of the global marketplace, meeting each customer and offering them a unique shopping experience complete with background knowledge of where products are from or how they are crafted. Although reporting may have alluded to customers wanting to pay less, Mexicali employees never stopped adding value through customer service, setting the tone for all four stores to be a welcome reprieve from a hard economic time with affordable and one-of-a-kind shopping options.
Gaining momentum, Mexicali Blues increased its store presence leading into 2009 by opening an additional location in what's known as the retail mecca of Maine--Freeport. The decision to open a store in Freeport was rooted in a determination to substantiate the Mexicali brand by breaking the boutique-store mold of the prior three stores and moving into a larger retail playing field in close proximity to national brands. So far this decision has been a good one for Mexicali. Freeport's sales were strong enough in 2008 to justify adding another 1200 sq ft in 2009, thus solidifying a presence in Maine's retail capital.
The brick-and-mortar expansion in Freeport was quickly followed by a complete web overhaul in 2009 involving the integration of J. D. Associates' Retail Pro into Mexicali's ecommerce business through a partnership with UniteU. For a number of years Mexicali Blues had been managing a separate inventory, and business for the web was conducted without Retail Pro. The new Retail Pro and UniteU-driven http://www.mexicaliblues.com/relieved the company of site development and let them focus on sales as well as vying for a more multi-channel consumer.
Now with four retail locations and a growing web presence, Mexicali Blues is poised for whatever may come next, and much of their success is attributed to effectively utilizing Retail Pro's quantitative reporting in all aspects of their unique retail business.
ABOUT THE VALUE ADDED RESELLER
J.D. Associates is one of the largest distributors of retail POS software in North America. With Retail Pro, Microsoft RMS and QuickBooks Point of Sale in the company portfolio, J.D. Associates offers retail POS software solutions for specialty retailers. They can be reached at