United Herzlia Schools joins other innovative ISASA members with its own online shop

| September 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

BY TRACY KLASS

United Herzlia Schools is a multi-campus, co-educational institution, with 10 schools providing education services ranging from day care to matric across five campuses around the Western Cape peninsula.

In 2003, a decision was made to run a centralised uniform shop from the Highlands Estate campus. In 2014, Herzlia decided to update its entire uniform and move away from the old multiform of golfers, navy chinos and Quantec skorts. The design and production involved extensive consultation and collaboration with all stakeholders including pupils, teachers and parents. The new uniform is a blend of “old school” trousers, skirts, shirts and blazers with a modern look. The school trousers are a tapered cotton chino and the girls wear a divided tartan skirt. The tartan fabric was custom-designed for Herzlia. We also introduced a smart school shirt for boys and a fitted shirt for girls, while the juniors (grades 1-6) remain in golfers.

Enter the Herzlia online shop

The new uniform created an opportunity for Herzlia to think even more creatively on behalf of Herzlia parents and students. In 2015, the school set up an online uniform shop. The process was extremely painless as all the product codes, cost prices and selling prices were already on Sage Pastel Evolution. It was a simple matter of photographing each item, loading it onto the school uniform website and matching the prices and codes to the items. Then we were up and running! Sage Pastel Evolution has a very secure payment gateway solution to handle the online payments. In January 2016, the uniform shop was ready to go “live”. Our tech-savvy parents are thrilled to have access to online uniform shopping. They tell us they prefer receiving electronic newsletters and alerts on their phones, rather than reams of printed information.

A new era

The online shop has revolutionised service delivery for our parents.

The advantages are numerous:
1. We no longer have the responsibility of holding credit card details.
2. If a card is declined, it is not our responsibility.
3. The stock is displayed, so parents can see immediately if something is out of stock or how many of each item are available.
4. Parents can shop on mobile devices.
5. Shopping can take place 24/7.
6. A minimal amount of cash is held in the shop (which still physically exists for the benefit of all parents).

With the introduction of the new uniform, Herzlia increased its stockholding and turnover threefold. However, the online e-education Independent Education • Spring 17 59 shop reduced the turnaround time of orders so substantially that it was unnecessary for us to employ additional staff for the store (the shop was is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.) We process the order that the customer has sent through and a picking slip and invoice is generated. Orders are then printed, packed and delivered to the outlying campuses, while the pupils from the Middle and High schools come down to the shop and collect their orders. Goods sold to pupils at the three primary schools are delivered by our drivers directly to the primary school secretaries three times a week. The secretaries are then responsible for ensuring that the pupils get the parcels to take home. We do not permit the collection of parcels from our security hut.

“Newbies” get kitted out online

Every year, like all other schools, we have to kit out our new Grade 1s. In the past, parents filled in an order form and gave us their credit card details, made an electronic funds transfer (EFT) or attached a cheque. Often, credit card details were incorrect and wrong sizes were ordered, which resulted in us having to call parents to get the correct information. All these problems have been eradicated by the online shop. This year, the process was absolutely painless. The shop sent a representative to our four pre-primary campuses with a range of sample sizes for fitting, and each parent was directed to the SHOP NOW button on the Herzlia website. We were able to pack up the orders quickly, because the time-consuming process of physically entering each order was negated.

Feedback fabulous

The introduction of an online shop is a win-win situation for both the school and the parents. As things stand now, our online orders have grown to the extent that they equal the shop turnover, and in some months even exceed the shop sales. The flexibility of the system allows us to introduce new items when required. The uniform evolution and online shopping service is an ongoing process and we rely on feedback from parents. In response to this feedback, we have introduced a number of new items at the click of a button.

Ethical procedures

The uniform shop has a stockholding of between R1.2 and R1.8 million, depending on the time of the year, and turns over stock once a year. Our uniforms are sourced from a variety of South African suppliers, using locally produced fabrics where possible, and each year they are invited to submit prices for the various items of clothing. It is very important that our suppliers are extremely reliable and deliver a high-quality item, on time and at the agreed price. We constantly check the quotes received to ensure that we are buying at an optimal price, as our uniform shop is not a profit centre but a service for our pupils and parents, and is subject to an annual audit as part of our financial statements. As part of the audit process, we undertake a complete stocktake three times per year. We are also VAT registered. Check out our website at www.herzlia.com and see for yourselves how our online shop works

Tracy Klass is manager: marketing and communications for United Herzlia Schools. If other schools wish to open their own online shops, she is happy to share the Herzlia experience in more detail. Contact her at telephone: +27 (21) 286 3502.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: e-Education

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