How Churchmouse Yarns unified their online store with their existing brick-and-mortar to delight customers
Nestled on beautiful Bainbridge Island, just a short ferry ride away from busy Seattle, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas was created by Kit Hutchin, a former Manager in Direct Sales at Nordstrom. In 2000, Kit moved away from the corporate world and opened Churchmouse with her husband, John Koval. They’ve since catered to local and international customers alike.
Churchmouse Yarns & Teas has their very own design team and has a reach of hundreds of yarn shops sold around the world, including Rowan Yarns from Liberty of London.
As impressive as that is, the Churchmouse mission in creating a welcoming and communal place for knitters and non-knitters alike has truly won the hearts of our team here at Stitch.
Challenges Churchmouse faced
As a small company with a broad reach, Erika Bellah, Inventory Manager at Churchmouse, found herself spending hours each day configuring how to sell their bundled projects in a way that didn’t impact inventory accuracy. What customers especially love about Churchmouse is the ability to purchase a proprietary pattern and yarn that goes along with that pattern. If a customer left something in their ecommerce cart for a long period of time, that inventory–left unpurchased–would deduct from what’s available for sale.
“It was a pretty manual and lengthy process before Stitch. In our storefront, all inventory had to be hand-counted, and it was definitely harder to keep track of things on a daily basis.” – Erika Bellah, Inventory Manager at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas
The manual process also created delays in what Erika and the team were able to finish on any given day. They were forced to pick-and-choose what got done, and it was difficult for her to focus on growing the business when spending much of her time reconciling and counting inventory.
After launching their online store, Churchmouse was tasked with unifying their Shopify POS storefront locations with their online store to create a seamless customer experience. Stock discrepancies between two sales channels at times resulted in disappointed customers and a lengthy reconciliation process–two things Churchmouse certainly wants to avoid!
A quick implementation
Churchmouse decided on Stitch after a lengthy search over many years and knew they’d have to transfer all of their products and product information over. Undoubtedly, there were some technical pieces that needed attention throughout this process, and Jenny Lawson, a Stitch Customer Implementation Manager, was able to smooth everything out overnight.
“Jenny did a really great job. She worked tirelessly to make sure it all worked successfully and that we finally got the information in the right places. She worked into the night at her hotel and came back the next day saying everything was ready to go. In terms of adding Shopify POS to the picture, it was a simple click-of-a-button.” – Erika Bellah, Inventory Manager at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas
Creating an integrated retail and online customer experience
Last September, Churchmouse decided to use Shopify POS to align their online presence with their storefront in order to create a more unified customer experience. Before doing so, they decided to implement Stitch to track and allocate inventory which made it easier for customers to navigate the site and figure out what they wanted.
Unifying online and brick-and-mortar stores also gave Churchmouse the ability to surprise and delight customers with items they originally thought were no longer available for sale:
“The process is better for me on the back-end, and it gives our sales associates a chance to transfer the online inventory to the store’s, leaving the customer satisfied.” – Erika Bellah, Inventory Manager at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas
While chatting with Erika and Owner, John, they mentioned how excited they are to be able to take on more projects this year. Already they were able to test their point-of-sale on a retreat back in March.
“We set up a pop-up shop warehouse, transferred inventory, checked and double checked, and it was all there! That was our first chance to actually use the POS and all the sales went through pulling correctly out of Stitch.” – Erika Bellah, Inventory Manager at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas
Since nothing was funky and Erika didn’t have to hand-count inventory and hand-write sales tickets, they are both excited to continue to experiment with more pop-up shops this fall and next year.
With all systems in place, Erika has a bit more time to spend growing the business by way of reliable reporting. By determining popular items and slow-sellers, Erika can now understand what products need re-ordering, and when.
Churchmouse is now able to save hours each day restocking and recounting product in the store and online, which can be put toward finding new and exciting yarns, growing the business, and delighting more customers.
We’re excited that Churchmouse is able to continue on their growth journey, experimenting with new ideas along the way. If you’re looking to take on a new knitting project or happen to be in the Seattle area, drop by to discover a new hobby! You can also visit Churchmouse online at www.churchmouseyarns.com.
“We can react a lot faster to things, especially after setting up low-stock alerts. That’s been super helpful because we’re able to easily determine what needs to be re-ordered from which vendors, or if there is additional product in-store.”
Erika Bellah, Inventory Manager at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas | Churchmouse Yarns & Teas