Cowboy boot store uses tech to improve business

A point-of-sale system like Square on steroids

A New York City cowboy boot business may be selling classic styles, but it's been improving its sales by using technology and analytics on an iPad app.

By tracking inventory and sales trends, identifying higher-margin items and enabling email campaigns sent to customers, Space Cowboy, which sells Western-style boots and hats, has saved time and improved its business, both online and off, using the Bindo point-of-sale system, said store co-owner Jaylin Ramer in an interview with CNBC.

Point-of-sales registers are nothing new. And smartphone or tablet attachment and payment processing device Square might be more widely known than Bindo. But that competitor has opened up the market for simplified, mobile payment systems, said David Bozin, VP of growth development at Bindo.

What makes Bindo different is that it uses analytics that show inventory and sales trends and where they can be improved, Ramer said.

Boots on display at the Space Cowboy Boots store in New York.
Althea Chang | CNBC

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"The major things that any business has to think about, the most time consuming, is inventory," Bozin told CNBC.

"If we have one boot, except it comes in 20 different sizes, how do you track that?" Bozin said. Well, the simpler the better, especially when it comes to saving time.

But with most businesses, success comes with sales.

"It really helps me to see where I should be purchasing more and where I'm over-buying," Ramer said.

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Bindo identified custom boots in particular, as opposed to manufactured brand-name boots, as higher-margin items, and as a result, they've been more promoted and sold to improve the store's overall margins, according to Ramer.

Ramer also stores customer information including an email address, phone number, the item purchased and a photo of a customer, which she refers to when sending out promotional emails, she said. And those email campaigns have led to a 5 percent increase in sales from repeat customers, according to Space Cowboy.

And so far, year over year, the store has seen average margins improve by about 25 percent, according to the company.

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Custom boots can come at a hefty price tag, up to $2,000 or more, but shoppers go to the store for an experience, one that can be hours long, and the Bindo system, which takes and stores pictures of the shopper and the store, adds to the experience, Ramer said.

"They're like, 'This is fun.' They forget that they're paying like hundreds of dollars for a boot. They're just like 'Wow.' I'm like, 'Don't look at the price,' " Ramer said, laughing.

But the Bindo system doesn't come cheap. For a store selling up to 1,000 items, it'll cost $79 to $89 a month, and a somewhat larger store would have to pay $149 a month for the first register, plus an additional $49 a month for a few additional registers, Bozin said. Even larger stores would have a more customized deal, Bozen said.

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