Shop rings up smiles, savings with new technology

Greater Wilmington Business Journal by Christina Haley June 24, 2011 Click here to read the article Coastal Cupcakes, self-proclaimed “Wilmington’s premier cupcakery,” has recently found an affordable new way to sell their treats with the latest technology. As of June 1, owners Kristen Beckmeyer and Meredith Sullivan made the switch from PCs and touch screens to the technology of Apple’s iPads to operate their point-of-sales system. “It was a business decision,” said Beckmeyer. Not only does the system provide an entertaining way for custumers to buy their edibles, it has also helped this business-savvy duo save space on the counter while cutting down the costs of having a regular PC system. “Its cheaper to replace an iPad than for the monitor or computer itself,” Beckmeyer said. Previously, the owner’s costs for a monitor, touch screens, keyboard, mouse, and hard-drive for their two stores, was $2000. A single refurbished iPad cost the company about $350 apiece, less expensive than any of the major components of the old system. “We had so much equipment to purchase but now we have managed to clean it up, no wires,” said Sullivan. The new technology, provided by POSLavu, consists of an iPad and a single application bought from POSLavu for an up-front license fee of $895. With the new system, one iPad has the power to clock-in and clock-out employees, maintain scheduling, keep up with inventory, ring up purchases and e-mail a receipt. It displays  picture icons for each piece of inventory as a way to navigate through the system and stores all data digitally in the cloud. “All wirelessly, just iPad to receipt printer,” Beckmeyer said. For $29.95 a month, the application updates its own software and provides technical support. All this happens in real time and Coastal Cupcakes’ iPad may communicate with any other iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Credit card swipes help manage payments made outside the store. If the owners have to make a delivery, their customers can pay for their order on Sullivan’s mobile phone. The company has also saved on buying paper for receipts. “About  80 percent of our customers choose not to have a receipt,” said Beckmeyer. At the end of each Coastal Cupcake purchase, the customer signs the receipt with their finger instead of a pen, and has the option of having a receipt sent to them via email. After the transaction, there is literally a “ring” that often leaves customers smiling. “The biggest problem with this was how to display it,” said Sullivan. The company had a specially-built case and wall mount for their iPad that turns to both sides of  the register. This allows for a costumer to sign the iPad after a purchase. However, POSLavu does offer iPad stands and cases online for a moderate price.