February 23, 2024

To pet owners, there’s nothing more important than the health of their furry friend. Unfortunately, much of the pet food on the market contains highly processed ingredients. 

The good news is: Polkadog has been innovating creative and sustainable premium dog and cat treats for over 20 years, including best sellers like hand-rolled cod skins and peanut butter Wonder Nuggets.

With eight stores in the Boston area and 20 years in business, Polkadog has many regulars. “Our stores are kind of like Cheers: Everybody knows you and your dog’s name,” says Bill Barnes, Polkadog’s Director of Operations.

The brand’s popularity has been great for business but has also meant that its stores get extremely busy. With limited square footage, avoiding bottlenecks at the checkout counter became a top priority for staff. 

To serve customers efficiently and avoid congestion, Polkadog chose to pair its traditional checkout counter with POS Go—Shopify’s all-in-one mobile point-of-sale terminal. Since adopting POS Go, Polkadog has enjoyed:

  • 17% lift in store orders over the holidays
  • Two times faster checkout that keeps wait times and lineups to a minimum
  • Using customer profiles to foster stronger customer relationships 

Challenge: Limited store space and bottlenecks at the checkout counter 

Sales associate Jasmine Ambroise was intimately familiar with the paradox of Polkadog’s popularity. “Our stores have a small footprint, and we usually get groups coming in instead of solo customers,” she says. “We can go from having two or three shoppers to check out to 12 really fast. It can get hectic.”

In the blink of an eye, there could be a line going out the door, which was especially problematic during the holidays .“The holiday season at Polkadog is a wonderful time, but chaotic, and it’s really important to keep traffic flowing,” Bill explains. “It can get so busy and our stores are small, so our service and checkout needs to be efficient.”

Whenever he’d see a line get out of hand, Bill was afraid the store was losing customers, thinking, “I would not wait in this line, and I’m sure there are plenty of other people like me.”

Customers who waited in these lines often had subpar experiences, according to Jasmine. “Multiple things can happen when there’s a bottleneck,” she says. “Customers can get annoyed and leave without buying. Some dogs aren’t great with other dogs, or they’re extremely food motivated. If they see another dog getting a treat, they get riled up. Cutting down the line would prevent that from happening while ensuring customers can transact hassle-free.”

We needed POS hardware that would complement our countertop setup and help us proactively clear congestion before it got out of hand.

Bill Barnes, Director of Operations, Polkadog

Solution: Doubling its store checkout speed with Shopify POS Go

Polkadog was using the Shopify POS Retail Kit for its stationary checkout. When Shopify unveiled POS Go—which Bill describes as “taking everything you need in a POS and putting it in your hand”—Bill says it was a no-brainer to adopt the technology. “It was what we’d been waiting for,” he says. “We needed to be able to get away from our checkout counter and be on the floor.”

Equipped with POS Go and the interface they were accustomed to, Polkadog’s store staff could get started with mobile transactions right away. “The onboarding process was basically just pushing a button. Everyone was familiar with Shopify’s POS software already, so they were good to go within a few minutes,” Bill says. 

The device’s built-in barcode scanner has been useful for quickly checking product pricing for shoppers. “We sell about 2,000 different products in our stores and pricing signage isn’t always perfect,” Bill says. “Customers want to know how much they’re paying for something. Being able to scan any item in the store and quickly pull up pricing and other information is huge. It’s way faster than a manual look up.”

With POS Go, Jasmine and her fellow store associates can check customers out from anywhere in the store in just a few taps. “I love being able to associate a customer’s order with their loyalty account, scan products to add them to an order, and accept payments with one device. It’s so simple, and everything I need to properly serve customers is ready when I need it,” she says.

POS Go has helped us double our store checkout speed. It’s intuitive for staff to use, has everything we need to serve and transact built-in, and its battery lasts all day.

Bill Barnes, Director of Operations, Polkadog

Results: Keeping congestion to a minimum during peak periods 

Now that Polkadog’s staff are equipped with POS Go, it’s their first line of defense when they see customers queuing up. “POS Go is the first thing I grab when I see a line start to form,” Jasmine says. “Within two seconds of turning the device on, I’m able to start ringing people up.”

With faster checkout speeds, Polkadog can sell more during peak selling periods. “POS Go changed our business this past holiday season,” Bill says. “We saw 17% lift in orders across a majority of our stores. One store even saw a 24% increase, which we attribute to POS Go helping us serve shoppers much faster.”

In addition to serving customers faster, sales associates like Jasmine can now also serve customers from anywhere. “With the POS Go, I’m not stuck behind the counter. There are times where a customer can’t necessarily come into the store—they have a baby carriage or a dog that doesn’t do well with other dogs. We’ll grab them what they need and ring them up outside with POS Go,” she says.

Thanks to POS Go’s customer profiles, store associates can make interactions with customers feel more personalized, even if it’s their first time interacting with them. “We want customers to feel like they have a personal assistant helping find the right products and ensure their dog is happy and healthy,” Bill says. “We have customers come in all the time who don’t remember what they bought and want you to tell them. When that happens, staff can look up their purchase history and remind them what they bought in a few seconds.” 

When customers are ready to check out, they can pay any way they’d like on the POS Go, whether it’s with debit or credit, a gift card, or their smartphone. “Oftentimes, customers are in the middle of walking their dog and only have their phone. It’s great to be able to accept different payment methods and convert those interactions,” Bill says.

With POS Go, our customer experience has never been better. When they visit Polkadog, they can expect premium service and an efficient checkout every time—even during our busiest periods.

Bill Barnes, Director of Operations, Polkadog

Sell everywhere your customers are with POS Go

Join Polkadog and other brands using Shopify POS Go to banish lineups in their stores once and for all. Say goodbye to juggling multiple devices. Say hello to POS Go.

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