Marigold Clothing is a contemporary women’s clothing store located at Indianapolis, IN. They seek to bring their clientele choices they won’t find anywhere else. They are know for stocking fun, urban clothing for women of all ages and a friendly, helpful staff. They seek to get to know each individual customer and help find your personal style.
RICS Client Since
Linda Shikany has owned Marigold Clothing, a funky and artsy women’s boutique in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis, IN, for 25 years. After 19 years at one location, her store had outgrown the small space, so she found a location on the corner of two high-traffic streets and moved to expand. Before this change, however, she upgraded another major component of her business: her retail technology.
When Marigold opened for business, the company used a system that a friend had written. The business was and is currently driven by customer relationships, and as it grew, it became more difficult for Linda and her staff to keep track of everyone who came into the store. They needed an easy way to record customer purchase history, analyze this data, and use it to create profitable promotions to keep customers coming back into the store.
With a retail management degree and an extensive background in retail, Linda knew how to implement a successful business strategy. She needed her technology to operate as a natural extension of that strategy and to supplement her goals and requirements. She loved the accounting and buying components of the business, and needed a solution that would allow her to get the data she wanted, when she wanted it.
Reporting to the Rescue
In 1999, Linda evaluated four different software options and ultimately decided on RICS 7.7. She used this for years, then upgraded to the most recent version of RICS. She initially chose RICS because she loved the customer management capabilities, then upgraded for the real-time capabilities. An organized, number-driven person, she values the ability to “take a laptop to market, then come back and write the orders at night.” From there, she verifies the data to make a better, more specific order, and improve turns.
In order to best manage her customers, Linda uses the Top 250 Customers report in RICS to determine who spends the most. She then distributes promotional material, store information, and coupons accordingly. She mainly uses email, supported by snail mail, to deliver all this information one to three times per month, saying, “It’s our way of keeping our name in front of our customers.” She runs this report in November before the holiday season and sends the top customers a reward: a handwritten note and a gift card ranging from $20 to $250, depending on how much they’ve spent. When they come into the store to redeem the reward, they usually end up spending more than they amount rewarded, so it’s a beneficial situation for Linda as well.
Linda uses the Customer List report to figure out who has purchased an item from a certain vendor within the past year. Using this information, she has her staff call or email these people to let them know when new product arrives. To empower her staff and keep customers informed, a report showing the items that will be coming in the next month is always posted near the register. This way, when customers ask when new stock will be available, Marigold staff members can tell them exactly what will be coming in and when they can expect it.
Favorite RICS Reports
Top 25 Items – This report allows Marigold to pinpoint her most profitable items. RICS provides her with the flexibility to run this report by either dollar amount or quantity. Analyzing by quantity allows Marigold to capture low-priced items, like greeting cards, that are popular but not high dollar sellers.
Sales by Month (by Category) – Marigold uses this report so much that theymade it a dashboard within RICS for quick and easy access. They compares current data to the previous year’s numbers and checks it halfway through the month to see where they stack up.
Controlling the most expensive part of retail: Inventory
RICS enables Marigold to have meticulous inventory control and great loss prevention. Linda says, “What’s your biggest expense? Inventory. It’s important to monitor it closely.” Linda enhances data accuracy by assigning certain roles to specific members of the 14-person staff. One person at a time is responsible for data entry; one person is responsible for receiving inventory, all to ensure consistency. Putting accurate data into RICS yields great results: they’ve never had an inventory shortage greater than 1%, and the average is usually 0.25%.
She explains, “RICS really gives you the capability to increase profitability because you can closely monitor turns and other performance indicators.”
Within an increasingly competitive retail market, relationships have become Linda’s main competitive advantage. While showrooming is an issue for many independent stores, Linda’s customers do the opposite, she says: “Customers will come in the store and say, ‘I saw this online, but I want to buy it from you.’”
The Marigold staff also uses customer purchase history data to help customers choose better gifts. A loyal customer’s husband will often come in looking for a gift (and sometimes struggling with where to begin), and a staff member can easily pull up the history and say: “Your wife loves this line of shirts! Here’s what I recommend.”
Marigold Clothing has always fully embraced the “buy local” movement and culture. Linda says, “Being community-driven has always been a part of our mission statement. It’s not about the clothing; it’s about connecting with customers.” RICS enables her to strengthen this connection. “It’s hard to remember everything [about customer purchase history]. RICS allows us to build those relationships without having to remember all the details ourselves. It’s amazing what that can do to drive sales.”
Marigold Clothing in Indianapolis, IN
Baby and Gifts
Women's Clothing and Accessories