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LavaBlast and Boomerang Kids: When helping local families meets the Cloud

clock November 14, 2011 20:17 by author JKealey

(From left to right): Jason Kealey (President LavaBlast Software Inc.), Honourable Christian Paradis (Minister of Industry), Bogdan Ciobanu (Director General NRC-IRAP), Lynne Plante (Directrice NRC-IRAP), Heather Meek (co-owner, Boomerang Kids Consignment Shops) LavaBlast, a leading provider of cloud-based franchise management solutions, announced today the deployment of its flagship product, FranchiseBlast, to the first of four Boomerang Kids locations. This state of the art software solution enables Boomerang Kids to grow their consignment franchise nationwide while allowing local families to shop smarter.

"Using the FranchiseBlast system will allow employees to focus more on helping local families," said Heather Meek, owner of Boomerang Kids. "We are expanding our franchise throughout Canada and we want to ensure the success of our current and future franchisees. FranchiseBlast will allow us to offer a complete easy-to-use system that helps store owners, employees and their customers. And now, I can even manage my business on my iPad!"

The FranchiseBlast deployment consists of an integrated suite of local and cloud-based tools that allow Boomerang Kids to automate the management recipes they’ve perfected throughout the years and replicate them in a franchise environment. FranchiseBlast will boost Boomerang Kids’ efficiency and customer service with:

  • Point of Sale (POS) stations to allow employees manage and sell all items under consignment.
  • In-store interactive kiosks and web-based tools to making it possible for parents to review their account and item statuses
  • A cloud-based franchise management solution giving both franchisees and franchisors immediate insight into the franchise’s operations.

"We are excited to be powering the expansion of a local franchise. Boomerang Kids has a solid management team and now has the tools to support its upcoming rapid growth." said Jason Kealey, President of LavaBlast. "This collaboration strengthens our position in the Franchise Management market and has allowed us to bring on new team members and scale up our operations."

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About Boomerang Kids:

At Boomerang Kids, families can help the planet and their wallet through reuse and recycling of kids clothing and equipment. Parents bring the items into the store and Boomerang Kids will take care of verifying quality, selling and, best of all, sharing profits. The concept is extremely popular and independent of the economic climate. From their four initial locations in the Ottawa region, Boomerang Kids is now expanding Canada-wide via franchising.

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About LavaBlast Software Inc.:

LavaBlast produces state of the art software solutions for the franchise industry and has played an integral part in the growth of numerous franchises, both in Canada and globally. By migrating to FranchiseBlast, franchisors reap the benefits of a turn-key software solution for their franchisees and LavaBlast’s deep software engineering skills to adapt their franchise in a rapidly changing technological environment.

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About our flagship product, FranchiseBlast:

FranchiseBlast empowers you to run a successful franchise business with easy-to-use operational software. Manage day-to-day issues with franchisees, see everything happening in real-time and increase the level of control you have over your franchise business.

Download this press release (PDF format).



Have a unique selling proposition

clock October 1, 2007 16:37 by author EtienneT

If you are in the retail industry, chances are that you probably already know that you have to have a unique selling proposition to offer your clients.  But hey, what’s a unique selling proposition?  In the book Reality in Advertising, author Rosser Reeves defines a unique selling proposition (USP) as:

1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the customer: "buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."
2. The proposition itself must be unique - something that competitors do not, or will not, offer.
3. The proposition must be strong enough to pull new customers to the product. 

A franchisor needs to have something that will make its stores shine apart from the competition. As an example, let us discuss Teddy Mountain, one of our first clients here at LavaBlast. Teddy Mountain is a stuff-your-own teddy bear type of store. Stuffed animals have been around for years and are available it countless locations.  Some stores offer dirt cheap stuffed animals while others brand the bear with a particular tourist attraction such as the Eiffel Tower. Retailers in the stuff-your-own teddy bear industry sell more than just a physical teddy bear, they sell an experience and their selling proposition revolves around this custom-creation experience.

Teddy Mountain wanted to offer something more personal to the client to complement the experience.  They decided to offer birth certificates for each teddy bear they sell.  Simple idea, but this creates a strong bond between a child and their new teddy bear.  A picture of the child with their new friend would be taken and would be printed at the counter when the teddy bear was paid for.  One could think that this simple concept is insufficient to pull new customers to the product, yet in-store behavior has proven otherwise. Children are drawn towards the camera feed presented on the kiosk and often want to purchase a bear simply to get their picture taken.

The picture here shows the in-store kiosk being used by some children.  This kiosk has two screens with two webcams and prints in the color laser printer at the cash register.  The kiosk must be simple to operate because it is used mainly by children.   This is fairly simple software and other stores also produce certificates, but the kiosk appearance (touch screen interface, webcam, three-dimensional fixtures done by Studio Y Creations) adds to the child’s in-store experience and puts Teddy Mountain in a unique position.  Because we’ve integrated the certificate with the point of sale, the employees don’t have much overhead to deal with.  Coming up in the near future are many new features on the website that link the in-store experience with the online one, refining the brand’s uniqueness.

Teddy Mountain operates in an industry which is dominated by a giant and software alone cannot be the only unique selling proposition. Teddy Mountain experience is enriched by large-scale three-dimensional fixtures that attract children from the mall inside the store. These fixtures put a little bit of magic in the shopping experience and illuminate child birthday parties. There are other refinements that define Teddy Mountain; having a clear unique selling proposition is key to increasing sales but also to attract new franchise prospects. However, since our goal is to illustrate how LavaBlast is a piece of the puzzle, as opposed to selling you a franchise, we won’t go into more detail.



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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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