Ben Gloria has always had a knack for collectibles. What started as a hobby shared with family and friends on Instagram ultimately became a booming business.
Gloria remembers: “People started asking me, ‘How did you find that?’ and ‘How much would you sell this for’?” Eventually, he opened an eCommerce store to handle the high volume of orders: Your Toy Link. The only problem? The growing success of his online business meant that inventory was piling up at home.
Eventually, Gloria settled on a location in The Village shopping center in Meridian, Idaho to supplement his online business, a move he called a “game changer.”
“We sell action figures, Funko Pops, trading cards, and a lot of Pokemon cards. Our biggest demographic are families and kids. We get a lot of kids coming in to spend their allowance, and the dads come in ready to spend as well. It’s a family stop where people can come in to just have fun.”
For these families, Gloria hosts a number of community events like Funko POP! Friday around those best-selling products.
“Every Friday morning we restock the floor with all the new Funko convention exclusives, store exclusives, and vaulted products that we’ve bought from our customers. It has become such an event that we have a line form outside the door, and you can guess what happens as soon as we open–everyone runs in, grabs the bobble heads they want, and then comes to the register basically at the same time,” Gloria explains.
And this is where the Clover Flex comes in handy.
“We have our main Station running, but we can also bring out the Flex to move people through the line more quickly,” Gloria explains. “The Flex is pretty impressive.” He continues: “We can also use it to continue sales as normal if we’re having WiFi issues. And during the summer, we do a lot of pop-ups and outreach for the store where we bring products to sell. We use the Flex for that as well.”
Gloria also hosts Pokemon Battle Academy events on Saturdays, a move that required him to register Your Toy Link as an official Battle Academy location and complete a rigorous application period and background check.
“We host Pokemon Battle Academy to help kids learn how to play, how to collect and also how to trade. A lot of parents have expressed concern that their kids are making unfair trades at school, so we try to teach them. The parents love that the kids can gather here and we can help oversee fair trades,” Gloria outlines. “Last Saturday, we had 40 people attending, and we had to use the Flex to help get some people out the door.”
Beyond the mobile capabilities of the Clover Flex, Gloria was drawn to Clover for its ability to manage complex inventory across multiple channels. His first POS provider couldn’t handle the increasing amount of products in the system–especially those with similar features.
“With Clover, we like that we can put multiple variants into the same barcode. When you scan a certain item, you can see its different price points,” Gloria outlines. “Then our employees can distinguish, ‘Oh yeah, this is the one that we sell for $24, not the one for $15.’”
As a buy-sell-trade store, You Toy Link also needed a POS to organize sales made on trade-ins and consignments.
“Another great thing about Clover is that if we do a trade-in, sometimes another customer wants to buy the item right away. We can make a quick custom item on the Clover, and then they can purchase it on the spot,” Gloria explains.
The ability to create custom items also comes in handy when Gloria buys products on consignment, like rare Pokemon cards.
“Recently someone brought us a rare, first-generation Charizard in great condition. Since it’s a risk for me to buy such a valuable product outright, I agree to sell it on consignment and take 30%. When scanning it into the Clover, I make sure to put it in the consignment category, and then run a bi-monthly report to see what sold and what we owe to each consigner,” details Gloria. “It’s pretty fun to see what people bring in, and even more fun to see it sell. Someone did actually buy that $500 Charizard.”
Gloria has found Clover to be instrumental in establishing a loyal customer base. Deciding to upgrade to Customer Engagement Plus has proved to be the business’s most effective marketing strategy.
“We used to do a lot of print ads, but the ROI just wasn’t there. So we turned our marketing focus toward our existing customers. The Rewards program has been amazing in bringing repeat customers back in. Shoppers say to me all the time, ‘I already saw it at Target, but I’ll wait ‘til you have it, so I can get my points.’ We keep growing because of that rewards program.”
Gloria also uses the Rewards app to keep his customers posted when new shipments come into the store.
“Once in a while, we’ll send out a text or email through Clover saying, ‘Hey, a massive shipment of Pokemon just arrived! Come and get it!’” Gloria shares.
All the data Gloria collects empowers him to make sound decisions on where to offer discounts and promotions that won’t hurt his bottom line.
“Any time I want to create a new discount, I’ll export all the sales to look at the margins and determine where we have some wiggle room,” illustrates Gloria. “It really helps when you’re making 1,000+ transactions a week.”
Check out more stories about retailers who use Clover to build and deepen customer relationships.