The Fast Track to Success
FasTrax CEO Doug Nolan discusses how pet specialty retailers of all shapes and sizes can streamline their operations and improve sales using the company’s cutting-edge technology solutions.
Pet Business: What is FasTrax Solutions? What is the company’s focus?
Doug Nolan: We are a software and technical services company specializing in the development of solutions for retail, wholesale and marketing verticals. Our solutions are modularly designed as independent applications for user-specific operations while also seamlessly integrating with each other as a total enterprise package. This modular harmony eliminates not only the frustrations of learning and utilizing products from multiple companies, but also the technical hurdles that come with differing integrations and maintenance plans.
Reducing costly, time-consuming learning curves, as well as IT dependencies, are priorities in all facets of the retail industry, and streamlining and improving operational efficiency through unified implementations allows for business owners to focus on what is truly important—running their business.
Real-time inventory control is crucial to a retailer’s bottom line, especially when it comes to ordering, report analysis, price book management, loyalty and marketing campaigns, company/employee incentive campaigns, and store-to-store inventory movement. These also happen to be key features of our system.
Accurate Inventory—A sure way to increase sales and keep customers coming back is to ensure you have product on hand. Inventory control is also indispensable in identifying unwanted “partners.” More than 80 percent of retail shrinkage is due to internal theft. Our handheld solution not only pinpoints mis-picks from distributors, it also offers utilities for regular spot checks and cycle counts.
Ordering—Our system generates orders using proprietary algorithms utilizing historical inventory movement to ensure accurate order suggestions.
Sales Replenishment, Min/Max and Days of Inventory (our most popular) are just a few evaluation methods that utilize true data for the generation of specific results while still offering the ability to adjust for evolving trends and upcoming promotions.
Reports—We offer hundreds of reports, with hundreds of options for customization. Having accurate, robust reports promotes educated decisions for running stores without guesswork or countless hours with pen, paper and a calculator.
Pricebook—Mange items granularly or en masse using dynamic “tree-views,” which allow you to drill down into custom groups of items for applying changes singularly. Pricebook also allows users to create and manage pricing exceptions, manufacturer buydowns, promotions, system discounts. Since everything in FasTrax can be automated, frontload work and schedule changes when needed.
Loyalty—Another tool for revenue generation and customer retention is our loyalty abilities. Use it to simply create discounts for loyal customers on groups or individual items, or strategically plan and create campaigns for specific days and times at specific stores while allowing customers to earn rewards.
Commissions—Approach manufacturers and vendors to offer your employees spiffs (reward dollars) on each item sold with an incentive.
Create employee excitement via gamification by using the Scoreboard feature at the POS stations. Employees can track their progress and see their ranks compared to others in their store and company wide, as well as how their store ranks within the company.
Item Locator—If out of stocks do happen, don’t lose the sale. Employees can check the on-hand levels of products at the company’s other stores. They can even print address and contact information for the other store and message personnel to pull the product for the customer.
Knowing the POS is the heartbeat of retailers’ store functions, we constantly strive to enhance and streamline our systems to ensure we offer every ability for retailers to capitalize on their operations.
One example of available enhancements and product modularity is our UpLifts module. Combining both our commissions functionality and digital signage solution, not only can retailers alert shoppers to promotions via the customer-facing display with vibrant, rotating ads, they can also further evolve their cashiers into “sales clerks” via user-created sales dialogue. When applicable items are entered at the POS, dialogue windows open for the cashier to instruct them on what to say (the proper script) to deliver to the customer. This creates continuity among locations while ensuring customers are aware of potential promotions.
Pet Business: How does your team’s background make you uniquely suited for providing automation solutions?
Nolan: My partner Darren Schwartz and I have 60-plus combined years of retail, wholesale and technology knowledge while also owning and operating a successful chain of more than 50 retail locations in New York and Pennsylvania, as well as a distribution center.
Being in the trenches with our customers ensures we understand each and every pain our retailers and wholesalers experience daily, monthly and yearly.
FasTrax was started over 10 years ago with the purchase of a POS provider we were already using ourselves. With a large wish list of enhancements, we started on our journey to find what we needed because there was no single company that really understood what retailers required.
Our solutions are developed directly based on the needs found in our own retail chain and requests from our customers, as well as industry requirements for each new vertical we enter. Even though we perform requested proprietary development for customers, we have made it our challenge to ensure general enhancement requests—if good for the industry—are developed and deployed to all customers.
Pet Business: How does FasTrax Warehouse Software Solution work?
Nolan: FasTrax Warehouse integrates seamlessly with our POS/retail solution in a few ways. Order generations can evaluate inventory quantities at stores to assist in the order creation process, as well as eliminate “blind ordering” oftentimes performed by store or warehouse personnel. This same evaluation can be utilized for the transfer of products between stores in lieu of additional product delivery.
Since we support EDI (electronic invoicing), orders and receiving invoices can be communicated immediately between stores and warehouses to eliminate paper waste, as well as human error, assisting with retail and warehouse automations.
PB: Tell us about FasTrax’s digital signage. How does it enhance a retail setting?
Nolan: Most customers go to a store with a plan of what they are purchasing, and are often glued to their phones when in the store. Digital Signage creates the proverbial “jingly keys” for stimulating peripheral vision and creating interest to see the next ad or picture. Static signs do not attract the attention of customers as effectively as beautiful, dynamic, animated screens. In addition, static signs are costly, could arrive in a variety of conditions and take up valuable space.
Building brand awareness is a visual process that manufacturers have practiced for years through packaging and commercials. Use those same methods to educate your customers on product pricing, product promotions, events you host or cross-marketing campaigns. Product education with this medium also enables customers to learn about products at their own pace without depending on staff to be everywhere at once.
No marketing or design knowledge or staff? No problem. We have also built and included a design tool that is extremely user friendly while offering the ability to create professional advertisements.