The Entertainer is the UK’s largest independent toy retailer. Founded by husband and wife team Gary and Catherine Grant in 1981 it now has over 130 stores nationwide. Over the past five years the chain has doubled in size and gone from strength to strength, winning a Retail Week speciality retailer award and being ranked in the Sunday Times “100 Best Companies To Work For” list in 2014.
Always looking for ways to improve and grow the business, the Grants have pushed to expand their operations online and shorten delivery times by introducing a 30 minute click and collect service to keep up to date with changing consumer retail preferences.
The Entertainer has been able to hold its own on the high street despite fierce competition from specialist stores as well as grocers. Part of the reason for this has been their ability to listen to its customers and continually differentiate by expanding into new channels. In recent years it has linked offline and online channels with robust click & collect services.
To support this push, The Entertainer’s Head of IT Services, Ian Pulsford, wanted to empower staff to offer a more tailored service to customers by providing them with tablets connected wirelessly to payment devices. They could then roam the store, helping both click & collect customers and others find and purchase items there and then or even order out-of-stock items for future delivery or pickup. To help deliver this payment strategy The Entertainer went looking for a partner it could trust with a nationwide reach, and a fast, secure and highly reliable service platform.
Secure, speedy, reliable
The Entertainer has a strong relationship with Worldpay as its payment acquirer, so Pulsford knew Worldpay was a brand he could trust. He also knew Worldpay Total’s omni channel payment solution and infrastructure could meet his demand for a PCI-compliant but also speedy and stable platform.
“At The Entertainer, protecting our customers’ data is paramount to us so robust PCI compliance was an essential requirement for any provider”, says Pulsford.
Worldpay Total is an end-to end payment platform, and allows The Entertainer to accept payments across all of their channels: face-to face, online, mobile, kiosk and phone. Transactions from each channel are managed in one place and The Entertainer has just one contract and supplier for all card payments, saving admin time.
“Worldpay is a trusted brand and the whole solution was exactly what we were looking for at the time,” says Pulsford. We also know the service stands up to large volumes of sales - especially during peak times - which is important to us.
Crucially for The Entertainer, there’s the added benefit of Worldpay Total Mobile. This mobile solution allows The Entertainer’s staff to accept payments away from the till using a mobile payment device that is paired to a tablet. This minimises queues and also transforms the shopping journey into a more personalised experience by allowing staff to assist customers and browse stock via the internet.
Worldpay Total Mobile has also enabled Store Managers to add extra tills at peak times. This has not only led to a boost in trade but has been particularly important in the eight weeks running up to Christmas when the firm does half of its business – leading to shorter queues and happier customers.
With Worldpay Total, we can also add additional tills for peak times. It’s allowed us to increase our sales as we can process customers more quickly. From shop floor to back office Worldpay Total and Worldpay Total Mobile have helped The Entertainer achieve the holy trinity of transforming the shopping experience for customers whilst driving profits and generating back office efficiencies. Not only have Chip and PIN machines remained as reliable as ever, the firm has even been able to increase sales by processing customers more quickly with contactless. Since contactless has been integrated The Entertainer has seen 20% of sales through the method.
The company’s vision of enabling staff to get out from behind the counter and chat to customers has also been achieved. As Pulsford explains, “Now that staff are able to demonstrate the retailer’s full range of products via their hand-held tablet devices, this has led to many more fruitful conversations with customers, especially those buying gifts for loved ones at Christmas time”.
Indeed, during the Christmas period, the volume of transactions taken on mobile devices during December 2015 increased by over 320% compared with the previous month.
Click & collect has been transformed into an entirely paperless service – thus saving on admin and reporting time – allowing back-office functions to be streamlined.
Another benefit of the new system for the back-office has been that employees can now monitor their KPIs. The ability to point value out to customers by printing product price labels in-store has enhanced the impact of the offer in stores. As Pulsford summarises, “There’s been a definite financial benefit to using Worldpay Total”.
Employees were so comfortable using the new, intuitive system that they even jumped in before receiving official training. Having a tablet to hand has also given staff the confidence to answer all the difficult questions customers might have.
The entire store estate now use the same Worldpay platform, creating even more efficiencies.
Previously stock levels were not visible to store staff in real time. Now employees can see and manage all the click and collect orders, do visual merchandising using the tablets, and check the storerooms and warehouses to find a product that has sold out in a particular store,” says Pulsford.
Supporting good causes
The Entertainer has always been a forward-thinking business when it comes to giving back to the community. The company gives 10% of its profits annually to charities and more than 50% of staff across the entire company give to charitable causes through payroll giving in an industry-leading scheme. Many of those donations are then matched by the company. Worldpay, due to its integration expertise and technology was able to support The Entertainer’s CSR programme by allowing them to offer Pennies - an in-store digital payment donation service which allows customers to round-up their purchases and donate the change to charity, the monies collected from these very generous customer donations going to a variety of Children’s hospitals across the UK.
“As a privately owned company with a strong charity bias, we make use of Pennies,” Pulsford explains. “Worldpay also supports the Pennies infrastructure on chip and PIN which has made it easy for us to enable customers to make their donations. Having a payment partner who supported Pennies was incredibly important.”
As for the future, The Entertainer is considering switching on additional contactless services to offer customers even more payment choices such as mobile payments. The company is exploring linking up customer e-commerce and in-store spending data to improve visibility and feed into CRM systems, something which is child’s play with Worldpay Total and we look forward to supporting The Entertainer in the next phase of its growth.