Birkacre Garden Centre

“better than I could have hoped for!”, Joe Ainscough, Owner


Birkacre Garden Centre became a user of RetailVista ERP and EPoS  in 2023. The reason they needed to look into a new ERP and EPoS solution was fairly straightforward; they needed a solution that would allow them to grow, a solution that could integrate with an incoming loyalty App and webshop from our partners Green Solutions, and allow them to easily send earned points to their customers as digital vouchers to encourage visits at particular times.

Birkacre Garden Centre operate 3 retail tills and also boasts a fantastic restaurant which operates 2 of our tills in fixed positions, and a 3rd till which is a roaming order placing tablet. All the tills in the restaurant are talking to kitchen and drinks printers in order for the kitchen staff to prepare and know which table the order belongs to.

Owner, Joe Ainscough has been really impressed with how our RetailVista ERP and EPoS solution was able to assist him easily with the January 2024 Christmas buying. Comments like this are exactly why we are here – to make your life running your business as easy and efficient as possible.

Thanks for the positive comments Joe and we look forward to supporting you through your ambitions in 2024 and beyond!

Read on for our full interview with Joe!

NedFox: Can you tell us a little about yourself and Birkacre Garden Centre Joe?

Birkacre Garden Centre was opened 40 years ago last September by my father Steve Ainscough. The business has grown steadily since its inception and what was once a small plant nursery, is now a large destination centre selling a wide range of plants, homewares, gifts, outdoor leisure products and garden furniture. Since completing our purpose built restaurant in 2019, our model has adapted to take advantage of the fact that this restaurant brings in custom, in all weathers and seasons. Specifically, we have put in a lot of effort to make sure that the offering in our retail space reflects the wants and needs of those who are visiting the restaurant, and because of this we have seen significant growth in our gift, homeware and Christmas departments. To this end, we will also be opening a purpose built food hall later this year.

I joined the business in 2018, and I have focussed a lot of my efforts on developing Birkacre as a destination centre. Having had some success in doing this, my attention is now turning towards how we can translate this increase in footfall and turnover into a more efficient and profitable operation. One important way of doing this is to embrace new technologies, which, whilst often require significant investment, generally produce results.

Joe: What prompted you to switch to RetailVista?

Our initial motivation to switch ERP and EPOS provider was to modernise our loyalty scheme, moving it away from a costly print and post based model and towards an app-based model. We spoke to a number of different EPOS providers that were capable of App integration. Having spoken at length with NedFox, the company behind RetailVista, we were confident that they were the best fit for our business. We were especially impressed with the RetailVista Mobile app which allows staff to check real-time stock levels and retail prices on the shop floor. This feature has indeed been of great benefit.

NF: Are there certain features of RetailVista you think really benefit the business?

J: In addition to RetailVista Mobile, there have been a number of RetailVista features that have been of great help. As a buyer, one feature that we have been really impressed with is the product statistics feature which allows you to instantaneously (whether on the app or on the main platform) view not only how much of a product has sold, but how much has sold across the year. This is really important to me because the rate of sales is much more relevant than the eventual number of sales when it comes to buying the stock in again for the year ahead. There is a big difference in a product that sold out in 2 days relative to a product that only just sold out in a given season, and yet both will appear as equivalent on a more traditional sales report. By giving our buyers the power to see how many of a given product were sold, and when they were sold in an easy to digest graph format, we are given the confidence to buy fast selling products at the correct volume, ultimately providing a healthy boost to our profitability as a business.

The other feature that stands out is the way RetailVista empowers our staff on the shop floor. Whereas once all EPOS functions had to go through our EPOS staff, our shop staff can now do many of these functions themselves, including changing retail prices, wastage and printing barcodes all using their own login on the handheld terminal.

NF: What were the ‘must haves’ in choosing a new EPoS solution for the business?

J: As mentioned above, our main motivation was to move to an ERP and EPOS provider that offered App integration. We also wanted to make sure that we were confident that whatever solution we went with was going to be stable and well supported; we cannot under any circumstance be in a position where our tills are not working. Finally, it was really important to us that we went with a provider who were willing to develop on their own product. Our previous ERP and EPOS provider was sold to us via a third party and when we wanted to get a change developed, there was no real chance of this.

NF: Would you recommend RetailVista to other garden centres?

J: Yes we would absolutely recommend RetailVista. I think when we first implemented the solution it was a bit of a shock as it was so different to our old EPOS, but having worked with RetailVista for 6 months now, I am still learning new and powerful tools that really do benefit our company.

Birkacre Garden Centre