The retail landscape has proven incredibly volatile this last year with business owners facing rolling lockdowns and physical store closures.
Operating solely through one sales channel was no longer enough, with customers needing to shop online in order to purchase goods.
When Micro beers approach AirPOS about moving online, we jumped at the chance to help.
We caught up with long time AirPOS customer Sean Looney of Micro Beers who asked AirPOS to help him get started with multichannel sales using Shopify.
Who is Sean Looney and what is Micro Beers?
Micro Beers is a Taproom and bottle shop operated in East Sheen, London by local drinks expert Sean Looney.
The Bottle shop offers a wide array of small-batch beers, organic wines and spirits, as well as hosting 4 rotating taps of the best beer available for those wanting to sit in or for growler fills.
They have built a strong community of loyal customers who go back for their “amazing collection of beer” and the knowledge that the team has on the subject.
When the pandemic hit, being a brick and mortar store the team needed to look for other revenue streams with e-commerce.
Thankfully AirPOS integrated e-commerce provided them with the perfect platform to start selling online, quickly and easily.
How long have they been using AirPOS, how did they hear about the system?
Sean and the team have been using AirPOS since they first opened in 2016 and have been using it to manage their busy operations.
“We knew someone nearby who had a shop using it, they recommended you guys and we’ve been using it ever since and have gone on to recommend you to others too”.
How do they use AirPOS?
Sean and the team have been using AirPOS in their physical store for around 5 years.
Pre COVID they would have a regular inflow of customers daily to browse, buy and find out more about the products they have on offer.
Micro Beers also have taps within the shop creating a unique experience for customers to come into the store, see the different products on offer but also relax and have a drink of one of their special beers.
AirPOS has been the ideal solution for Micro Beers.
The team is often juggling many different tasks at once in the store and the ease of the system has meant they can serve customers smoothly, manage sales and inventory easily.
Sean also highlights that in the past number of years they have relied heavily on the reporting function of AirPOS being in a business that stocks a huge variety of products that are constantly changing.
It’s vital for their team to know what are the best sellers etc in order to help them with future purchasing decisions.
The integration of Xero and AirPOS has simplified reporting and accounting for Micro Beers saving hours of administrative tasks.
For payments they were also able to integrate fully with Zettle, giving them quick and contactless payment options.
Why did Micro Beers decide to make the move into e-commerce?
Sean admitted that initially “he was never fully sold on the idea of e-commerce”, his market is highly competitive and it would be difficult to compete with the larger sellers who also didn’t have to cover London rates.
When the Global pandemic hit Sean was worried he would have to close his business but upon being confirmed as an essential business he chose to be proactive and open his ecommerce store.
The Micro Beers AirPOS ecommerce store, although simple, was an easy way to allow the business to continue selling, offering local deliveries and a click and collect service at a time when retail was halted.
Micro Beers have built a strong following and by having a simple ecommerce store they were able to showcase new products to customers from wherever they were and stay connected with their community.
Sean discussed with us that the AirPOS e-commerce store helped to save their business and sell online at a time when there was no chance of any physical trade and rolling lockdowns.
Micro Beers grows with the AirPOS Shopify Integration
Although their AirPOS ecommerce store was sufficient, allowing them to sell online.
As their brand grew online they wanted to integrate with an ecommerce platform that provided greater flexibility and could process a larger volume of sales.
Obviously being with AirPOS for a number of years, loving the system, Sean mentioned that he didn’t want to have to move to another EPOS provider.
Luckily Micro Beers were able to find an answer to this problem without the headache of a complicated transition between platforms.
The AirPOS Shopify integration enabled them to build an ecommerce site that met their growing needs and also integrated with their in-store operations and inventory.
Particularly for a business that offers a huge variety of products but in limited quantities, keeping on top of their stock is a number one priority.
Through an integrated ecommerce and EPOS solution, the team can sell both in-store and online without the fear of overselling.
Having an integrated system has simplified reporting for the team enabling them to keep on top of their business from wherever they are via cloud reporting.
Micro Beers are one of the first Beta’s of the new AirPOS Shopify integration and although still getting to grips with the systems Sean advocated for the support available to him, finding that there was always someone available 7 days a week to answer questions.
Would you recommend AirPOS to other retailers and small businesses?
When asked whether Sean would recommend AirPOS he responded with a very definitive Yes.
He mentioned that he had recommended the system to a number of other businesses throughout the years and found it was ideally situated for small retailers like him.
He simply stated “Great service, affordable, happy to answer questions and take on suggestions.
The system offers integrations with Xero for my reporting and accounts, Zettle for my payments and now Shopify for e-commerce integration.”
As mentioned a factor that stands out to Sean is the level of support available with AirPOS. “There is always someone available to help and are always open to suggestions.”
What is the future of Micro Beers? What do they have coming up in the next year?
Micro Beers have been very fortunate over the course of the past year with the unprecedented demand in their ecommerce store, initially believing it would simply serve the appetite of some of their regulars.
The team’s main focus now is navigating through the remainder of the pandemic, keeping safe and continuing the supply of their variety of drinks to their loyal customers.
Although Sean admitted he had been hesitant to move online, he has seen first-hand the success it has created for his business.
Post-COVID Micro Beers want to continue building its e-commerce platform using it as a second shop and using it to gradually expand the business.
Although focused on building a successful and popular e-commerce site, the team at Micro Beers are excited to open their doors once again, particularly for their in-store drinks facility.
Unlike ever before they will be able to make sales both in-store and online simultaneously without having to worry about stock levels or confusing reports.
This has opened up a wide range of opportunities for the craft bottle business, all made possible through AirPOS and Shopify.