Boomerang Kids opened as a small consignment store in Ottawa over 19 years ago and has now transformed into an aggressively growing nine-unit franchise with stores in Ontario and Quebec.
Admittedly the resale industry overall hasn’t been a hotbed of technology innovation. We committed to stand out from the pack by revolutionizing resale through technology innovation, growing our business into both a national and international franchise operation.
Over the past five years, shopping resale has become mainstream. In much the same way that reusing or recycling households items and furniture has led the “upcycling” trend in home decor, consigning children’s, baby and maternity items has become a popular way for families to save money and reuse. In short, shopping consignment for the family is now something that is considered smart and the fact that resale is the fastest growing sector of retail is evidence of that.
In order to maximize the potential for Boomerang Kids, we needed to transform ourselves from a traditional bricks and mortar retailer into an organization that emphasized our online shopping experience as much as our in-store experience. After being the first resale franchise to launch self-serve kiosks and an online account system for consignors, offering ecommerce was a clear next step.
We decided to make this leap for three reasons. First, we couldn’t ignore the growth in the percentage of retail sales happening online. For example, Forrester Research estimates that by 2015, the percentage of retail sales happening online will hit 10% for the first time.
Secondly, the online channel influences offline sales. Forrester also estimates that up to 44% of retail sales will be impacted by online channels by 2016. Lastly, our target market shops online and launching online shopping was going to be a great way for Boomerang Kids to serve existing and new customers. Our research showed that many of our customers had tested sites like Craigslist and Kijiji but weren’t happy having strangers come to their house or having to deal with flaky buyers and sellers that never showed up, returned calls, or tried to reduce prices at the last minute.
It took us over nine months and nearly $200,000 to launch ecommerce on BoomerangKids.com. We received funding support from the federal government’s Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program and developed an ecommerce infrastructure that integrated our point of sale system and ecommerce sales including professional-looking photographs of every consigned. Each store posts over up to 500 new unique stock keeping units daily. Toronto-based Demac Media custom built a Magento integration for us that is able to handle the unique SKUs—something that would be a nightmare for most other ecommerce platforms.
We’re in the process of launching ecommerce in all of our stores. Our Westboro and Orleans stores are online now with over 4,000 new and resale items available. So far, we’re hearing from our customers that they love being able to see what’s available online so they can purchase and pick up their order in the store. Other customers love that they can shop our stores from the comfort and security of their own homes.
It wasn’t easy getting to where we are today, but we’re on the verge of realizing the tremendous benefits of what ecommerce can do for Boomerang Kids.