A trip to the breathtaking island of Bali inspired Jimi and Zoe Paul to create women’s resort wear brand Mister Zimi a decade ago. The couple began selling dresses, swimwear and jumpsuits in lively patterns via a Shopify online store and a pop-up shop in Melbourne, Australia.
Business boomed, giving Jimi and Zoe the confidence to open their first permanent store. Now, Mister Zimi operates five permanent stores across Australia. “We see retail stores as a staging point for expanding into new markets, and securing customers who will shop with us online after visiting our store,” Jimi says.
While launching its first major online sale, Mister Zimi encountered an API issue with Lightspeed POS that resulted in inaccurate inventory availability, frustrated customers, and tons of admin work.
Following a disastrous issue during its first ever warehouse sale, Mister Zimi replatformed its four stores from Lightspeed to Shopify POS and has since enjoyed:
- Accurate, reliable inventory reporting
- A unified view of its customers
- Streamlined store operations
The challenge: unreliable integrations and misleading inventory data
Mister Zimi opened its first stores with Lightspeed POS because it integrated with their Shopify online store. Unfortunately, the POS’ inventory management couldn’t keep up with online sales when they needed it to.
“We had a pretty cataclysmic event during our online warehouse sale,” says Felix Ilett, Head of Sales for Mister Zimi. “There was a significant amount of people shopping on our site, and Lightspeed's API refresh rate couldn’t keep up with the online transaction volume. That caused our website to display incorrect inventory availability, which resulted in us overselling certain items.”
The team had to spend countless hours figuring out which inventory they had oversold, issuing refunds, and managing damaged customer relationships.
Our customers’ confidence means everything to us. The whole experience made us realize we wanted our inventory management to function entirely within Shopify, rather than using disparate systems connected by an unreliable API.
The solution: unified sales channels and reporting with Shopify POS
Switching to Shopify POS was an obvious choice and a simple process.
“Onboarding to Shopify POS was done in a matter of a few days,” Felix says. “We already knew our way around Shopify admin from running our online store, so setting up store locations was a very intuitive, straight-forward process.”
With Shopify POS, the Mister Zimi team appreciates having a singular view of business performance.
“Having POS data integrated with our ecommerce dashboards is awesome,” Felix says. “Not having to cross-reference data from different systems or create spreadsheets to get a unified view of business performance has been great for our team.”
And, now the company has inventory management software they can rely on.
“Inventory is easier to manage when stock levels are balanced in real-time as you sell online and in-person,” Felix explains.
We can sell with confidence knowing the inventory availability we show customers online is accurate, and the inventory levels our staff see in the POS system is, as well.
Mister Zimi’s other tech solutions work seamlessly with the company’s new POS.
“Shopify is the core of our tech stack,” Jimi says. “Our CRM and the other programs we use plug into Shopify really well. The POS is easy to use and delivers what we need it to without ever causing any trouble. It has everything a direct-to-consumer business needs to expand into physical retail.”
“Plus, we know Shopify is always working to improve its products and add new functionalities to help us bridge the gap between digital and physical channels,” says Felix. “It just made a lot of sense for us to switch over and run our entire operations in Shopify.”
The results: reliable data and a standout customer experience
Since migrating to Shopify POS, Mister Zimi runs more efficiently and delights shoppers both on- and offline.
“Running everything from one back office is the biggest win for us,” Jimi says.
With transactions, inventory, and customer data on one platform, Jimi and his team have gained a greater understanding of the business, its customers, and how to improve the omnichannel customer journey.
“Our inventory and reporting is all pulling from the same sales data in real-time. Inventory and reports are the backbone of our business, so to me, the fact that I can trust the numbers I see in reports is a clear-cut reason why Shopify helps us be a stronger omnichannel business,” he says.
And, with its ecommerce and five retail stores running on Shopify, Mister Zimi’s staff are equipped with data to help give each shopper more personalized service, resulting in greater brand advocacy.
“The service our customers get in-store are really important brand moments,” Jimi says. “We don’t have sales targets for our staff—we don’t want them to feel pressured to sell. For us, what’s important is that our customers walk out happy and that we serve them in their best interest rather than our own. That’s what builds trust and ultimately fosters long-lasting relationships with our customers.”
“Our retail data helps us improve our online store, and our online store’s data helps us improve our in-person shopping experience,” Felix says. “Our customers appreciate the seamless experience from online to in-store and vice versa.”
Unified customer data helps us learn quicker, fuel retention strategies, and build the best customer experience possible everywhere we sell. When you’re working with customers face-to-face, having the context of which channels they use and what they’ve bought helps serve them better.
Jimi agrees and says, “we’ve found that approach has ultimately resulted in customers coming back to shop with us online, making repeat purchases sooner, and recommending our resortwear to friends.”
And equipped with Shopify POS' omnichannel selling features like email carts, Mister Zimi’s staff can support customers however they prefer to shop, while increasing store revenue.
“With email carts, if customers see a silhouette in store that fits great, but they want a print we don’t have in-store, we can send them a preloaded cart via email so they purchase and have the item shipped to their home,” Felix says.
The brand’s new omnichannel approach has also helped reduce return rates.
“Our return rate on purchases made at our stores is quite low; less than 10%,” Felix says. “I think that’s a result of customers being able to see how the product fits and get a clearer idea of what they’re buying. Our retail store acts as a touchpoint for people who browse our products online to visit and make more informed decisions for what to buy.”
Thinking ahead: building omnichannel capabilities and expanding into new markets
So, what’s next for Mister Zimi’s resort wear empire? Continued focus on its omnichannel strategy and expanding into new markets.
“Our in-store experience supports the online experience by giving customers a tangible sense of what our brand is about,” Jimi says. “Creating that alignment between brand and consumer is one of the advantages of physical retail. It helps us connect with customers in new markets and build that relationship.”
“We envision ecommerce continuing to be our primary sales channel, but we plan to continue using physical stores to help us expand into new markets both in Australia and the US,” he says.
Using Shopify to unify both online and in-person selling, Mister Zimi has a strong foundation for expansion. The brand can focus on growth rather than their tech stack.