Heartland Retails Director of HPOS Direct Retail Sales Daymion Phelps has spent most of her career in retail store automation. In this discussion, she provides valuable insights on how to gain quality, speed and accuracy to improve decision-making. Daymion also explains how to avoid what she refers to as Groundhog Day Retail and why change—particularly around POS and loyalty—should be on every retailer’s list of success strategies
Hello, everybody. Welcome to the next edition of Market Movers. I'm Erin Raese with Annex Cloud, and I'm here today with Daymion Phelps, who is Director of Enterprise Sales at Heartland Retail. Welcome Daymion.
Why don't we start out with you taking a few minutes to tell us about yourself and Heartland Retail.
First of all, thanks for having me here today, I'm very excited and it's great to be talking with you. So about me, I actually grew up in retail and so I always joke that I just went to the other side of the counter when I went into point of sale, because aside from a retail background, I spent the bulk of my career, actually, in retail store automation and that's included point of sale and retail management systems. But I spend equal amounts of time on the manufacturer or software side of the business, as well as the partner and distribution side. So I'm really excited with what I'm doing now, which is heading the sales for our growing enterprise retailers here at Heartland Retail.
Terrific. Thank you for sharing. Where are you in the organization going? And maybe tell us a little bit more about payments and POS and those things that you're working with.
Sure. So I'll just tell you a little bit about Heartland itself that may help to start. Heartland is a division of Global Payments. And so at Heartland, we offer a suite of solutions, SAS based that include systems for not only retailers, but restaurants as well. And those are point of sale solutions, as well as payments. The Heartland retail product, the product that I represent and our flagship offering for retailers is a cloud-based point of sale retail management solution that has a really unique story. And its story is that we were actually conceived by a retailer, disgruntled if you will with the current systems that were in the market at the time and so thus went and built his own retail product. Thus the beginnings of Heartland retail work conceived. So we're truly a retail solution built by retailers.
I love that.
Yeah. And so I think as a result of that and that unique inception is that we give retailers really modern tools to manage their business. We do it in a way that gives them ease, flexibility, and affordability. These tools, really includes I've said point of sale and stored a nation, but to be really clear there's in-store and multi commerce solutions that include point of sale, inventory, purchasing and receiving, of course, tracking, customer management and really, really strong reporting.
Great. Thank you. Thank you for all that. I didn't realize that it was as broad as that. With the inventory and such, is that taking the basket information and then being able to give it back and knowing not only everything that went out the door that day, but the down to the basket and what's in the basket?
Absolutely and I like the term basket too. So we think of inventory as a lifecycle. So we're really engaged at the point of which an inventory piece, I would say becomes a finished product if you will. So once that becomes a finished product and it's named, and it has attributes and variables around it, that's when we start to manage it. The management and tracking of that inventory can look anything like how is it sold? Where is it going? What does it get sold with? What happens when we change the pricing? What happens when we put a promotion around it too? And what happens to that inventory as it moves through each of those channels? And I think that's where you're going with the basket component too.
Yeah, it's interesting. Loyalty does a lot of great things, but I don't always see everybody utilizing the information and the data as well as they could. And one of those areas that I've kind of tried to talk to people about more and more is this whole inventory piece. When you're thinking about the retailers business, what's moving or what's not moving and being able to tap the people that have purchased those things before or a purchase a like item. And I don't think retailers always realized that they have like an army of people they can tap to go hit up in those kinds of situations.
I think you're totally right. And I think there's a key word that you said, and that is once retailers know. And so the speed to knowledge, unfortunately, is sometimes slower than it should be. The speed to knowledge, so in order to know I have to have data and I have to access it as a retailer as quickly as possible. And so that's where we come in because, good data in is good data out. So one that you have inventory that's properly named and recognized and tracked, makes for good data and then the speed at which you can recognize what's happening to that makes for good decisions. And so I think where the breakdown often is, is the knowledge. So you're right, if only we knew but sometimes we don't know because we're not presented with the data and the facts in a way that's fast enough and accurate enough. And really that's where systems come in like ours.
Good thing that we integrate with you guys and we can make our joint clients happier.
Exactly. Then we give it to you to make the customers happy.
Together, which is great. And on that note, as we think about your customer experience, I think when people think about POS, your point of sale, there's a lot that's happening with the customer at that point in time. And a lot of systems today are still kind of an electronic cash register a few years ago. And they don't necessarily have a way to identify people or have this kind of information. But you have a different perspective on that and the things that you guys offer help would that experience, right?
Sure, we do. I think you mentioned that, I think part of what you said is, is folks are inhibited by their current systems, which may be a client based system or a cash register. And the way I think of that is, in retail there are a lot of pipes laid and retailers especially we see quite a few because if think of a system as a pipe, we see a lot of systems and therefore a lot of fights. A lot of times they're closed and really a closed pipe becomes a silo. So there's a lot of information, but it's simply not shared across an organization in order to make those decisions quickly, like I said before, and with speed and accuracy. So it becomes daunting to just put in another closed pipe when retailers think about potentially replacing that cash register or looking at a change in system, because what if it just becomes another silo part of a company. And I think that's there's a lot of those, and of course there's reluctance.
But I think what we offer at Heartland Retail and I think what we exhibit in our partnership with you is that we are a platform and a platform enables building blocks. And so if you think of a point of sale, if you look at a point of sale as an open component, an open pipe if you will, that can talk to other pieces of software within a retail organization and communicate effectively and with accurate data in real time, then that changes your perception of putting something in and makes you more open to it. So take our integration, if we can bring in tracking of customer data and then share it with you from an Annex Cloud perspective. And then you turned that into how to really recognize your customer the same time, every time that really changes the messaging around point of sale and in-store systems from cash register to really powerful piece of equipment.
Yeah. So let's explore that a little bit more. So if I'm a retailer that basically just has a cash register, and I want something more dynamic because I understand that people are coming in and I can't maybe train my reps like Starbucks has, where they just are fabulous and know you every time you walk in and what your order is. Does your system allow a feed of information so that once you've identified yourself, I know what you purchased or which coffee you prefer?
Absolutely. I call it groundhog day in retail. So that's when I constantly, as a shopper which I am, when I constantly have to reintroduce myself to you as the retailer and say, "Hey, remember you like me. I spend money with you. I buy a lot." And so to keep having to do that is frustrating, especially when I do all those things for the retailer. And so, yes, we certainly provide those tools that allow a retailer to recognize me, the shopper, no matter how I interact with you, the retailer, the same way every time. Okay. So that we get rid of the groundhog day effect in retail.
And I love that. I would think your job is pretty easy going out there and telling retailers like, "Hey, look at how cool is it is and what we can do and really engage with your customers this way." Although I suspect that that's probably not how the conversations are going. How do you see us being able to help them understand the kind of impact that this could make?
That's a good question. And yes, it could be seen as easy, maybe in another conversation I will share some of the analogies that retailers have given me as to how they feel about putting a new system in but not for this one. I think that right now especially there are a lot of changes in retail, of course, and so retailers have to pick and choose where they're choosing to focus their time and where they're choosing to make changes in the business. And I think that there's a great unburdening that's going on, meaning that as we look to the future of retail, we have to lose what's holding us back as a retailer, so that's the unburdening. And so for one retailer that may be cost cutting measures across the board, for another that may be looking at their digital versus physical infrastructure. It's different for every retailer. But I do think that, to answer your question, what the most important part to realize, especially with Heartland, is that we are we're a very flexible cloud-based system. Not to get too far into it but I say flexible in terms of devices. So we were born out of the notion that you shouldn't be tethered to a particular device. Rather if you have a browser, you can access Heartland Retail. And then our peripherals too, are very flexible. The barriers to entry for a Heartland Retail client are really, really very, very low, very shallow. So I can say that, and I can say that we make it as easy as possible.
Good. Yeah, that's great. As you were saying that in my mind wandered a bit to you, how are retailers, as they're going through this process and changing out of a POS system is not going to be something that they're going to see as a really easy thing and they're going to wake up and go, gosh, let's go do this today. But I imagine through conversations with you, sometime between the conversation with you and maybe it's 90 days after it's been implemented, they've had at least one like aha moment, or maybe multiple. Do you have any examples or any stories you could share from that perspective?
Yes. There are multiples. Gosh, I have a few stories. So I think if I pinpoint on one, there was there's one where I had followed up a post-implementation with a retailer, and it was asking about what the impact was of the system. And this particular retailer said, let me share my screen. I said, okay. And so he logged into his instance from home of Heartland Retail and said, look at what I can see. And he had his reporting that was built exactly for the KPIs that he needs to see on a regular basis, which were different from someone else in the organization. And he accessed them right away on the fly, on a phone call with me and they were meaningful to him and to him only. Now I say to him only because that means that we're giving data to a particular user in the way in which that user wants to see it, which is meaningful. That's the meaningful component. Data is not meaningful for the sake of being data. What I want to see is different than what you want to see.
So what he was showing me was, all the things that he needed to see about the performance of his company served up to him in real time, in a view that was quite frankly, clean, nice, a friendly UI, that he could make changes to and drill down into and filter. And so that I think was probably one of the most impactful and that's simply the power of our reporting.
I love that. And it actually made me think of something else and ties to what you said in the beginning that the solution was built by a retailer. I was on a call listening to people talk about emotional UX in technology development. And I was intrigued by it because of everything we talk about in loyalty, around emotional and connections and such, emotional UX with technology. And they were talking about how, as you're building out your technology, thinking about the user, making sure it's easy, you always want to make sure it's frictionless, but if you really, as you're mapping out the tech really thought about all of the different steps in that customer journey of how they're actually going to be interacting and using the technology. And I don't know how they're going well they must but how cool is that? And it really seems like your approach and how you guys went at this really dug into those users and were able to serve up experiences that are really catering to the different people.
I love that term, I didn't know that term, but I call it friendly. So we have a friendly system. I think that it is pleasing and it is accessible and it is meaningful. Some of the feedback too, and I didn't mention this, but it's along with what you said, we have had feedback, folks who understand technology and who come from other systems. I'm trying to think of the best way to describe this. A lot of systems are developed as a result of combining multiple systems and making one, if you will. And so if you think about that, if we put together this pie of products, there's going to be differences in the pie. And even as you try to make it all look the same there's going to be ragged edges along the way. And so I think that there's some ragged edges in other products, but ours is seamless because the pie was made by one baker. You see that, when you've come from a pie that's been multiple cooks in the kitchen, you see that too, right? But when you come to our system, you see that it's very, very seamless in the best ways. And so that creates this really unique, friendly user experience.
I love that. Thank you. Thank you for sharing it. We spent a good deal of time chatting about this, and thank you so much. As we look to wrap up, always love to wrap it up with like a big thought or what we can give back to others. So as we think to the future, what tips do you have for retailers as they evaluate these types of things?
Oh, gosh. I think tips, I think it's simple as make a list, really. And think about it with your team and also take the opportunity. We talked about how this may not be on everybody's list. The opportunity to change systems is an opportunity to look at your business. And when I say that, I'm saying, I'm talking about really specific things. Like how do you hierarchy your items? How can you change your classifications? How can you change the attributes to serve up data in a different way? And so when you look at it that way as a time to reprioritize, reclassify and reprogram, then I think the systems change becomes less daunting and more of an opportunity.
It's interesting. So some of the things I've been talking to people about, and just when you go into new organizations and trying to make an impact and trying to dig into your new role, because I do some conversations with folks in mentoring and such. And talking to them about you can go in and take a look at breaking it, don't just assume everything that's there it was created correctly. As you were saying that's almost how I felt. It's like being able to take a look at what you have and just don't assume it has to be done that way. How can I break this out to do things differently?
There's always a new way to look at and there's always a pair of fresh eyes to put upon it. And I think that's what that's the future is change too. And so we're here to support that.
So when you give you the advice of a list, it's a list of what you want to change or what you want to break or broken for the better.
It is. What could be broken for the better. I like it.
There we go. The parting message. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
My pleasure. Thank you so much.
Take care. Bye bye.
SVP of Marketing and Partnerships
Director HPOS Direct Retail Sales, Heartland Retail
Since 2010, Annex Cloud has provided industry leading loyalty solutions to more than 250 leading brands and retailers, including Jenni Kayne, Hewlett-Packard, Bed Bath & Beyond, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Olympus, Sugarfina, Mizuno, MacKenzie-Childs, VF Corp., with the ability to engage tens of millions of their customers one-to-one at scale.
The Annex Cloud platform provides fully integrated Customer Loyalty, Referral Marketing, and User Generated Content (UGC) solutions that seamlessly work together to optimize the customer journey and deliver a unified customer experience that is designed to accelerate revenue growth, retain valuable customers, increase average order values (AOV) and drive repeat order frequency.
Heartland Retail makes commerce more rewarding for retailers and more enjoyable for customers. Designed by a team of retailers to overcome their first-hand struggles to find a flexible, user-friendly, data-centric solution, Heartland Retail’s solutions give retailers the POS and Retail Management software they need to stay agile and thrive.
To learn more about Heartland Retail, visit heartlandretail.us