Homesavers is a fast-growing Irish retailer, with over 45 stores across the country and ambitious plans to open many more as they establish themselves as the destination store for variety, choice and value in homewares. They offer customers a diverse range of products, from FMCG brands and homewares, to health and beauty, and gifts.
With such an ambitious growth strategy and new stores opening weekly, they require a reliable payment solutions provider. Their previous provider proved unable to cope with their expansion demands. With a pressing need to deliver an integrated payment solutions package fully capable of supporting their business goals and ambitions, they moved to BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA) in 2018 and their problems vanished overnight. So we sat down with Anna Kurcon, Head of IT, and Shins Joseph, Head of Finance to talk about how BOIPA has proved to be such a success with Homesavers.
We opened with a conversation about the problems they had encountered with their previous card payment provider.
“To begin with, the set-up with our previous providers took 28 days to complete and the process itself proved very challenging. We are growing fast and with new stores opening up all the time, this set-up process was way too long and frustrating for us,” Shins said.
“We now have 48 stores, plus we have coffee shops opening as well and we’re opening more stores every month. We knew that our previous payment solutions and service model weren’t adequate for our expansion plans so that was why we sought an alternative provider.”
“We did our own market research and we were banking with Bank of Ireland at the time and our contacts within the bank initiated conversations about BOIPA solutions. The buying cycle itself took a few months with about 4 stakeholders on our side taking an active part in the consideration process,” Shins told us.
“When it came to our selection criteria, first and foremost we looked at the stability of the software. Account cancelations needed to be straightforward and we wanted a dedicated account manager, this was very important for us. And finally costs also needed to be satisfied. And BOIPA was also much lower in costs compared to our previous provider. In the market, I would say they are one of, if not the best, when it comes to costs.” Shins said.
We then moved the conversation onto their current experience of using BOIPA and Head of IT, Anna Kurcon, was very keen to tell us about the positive experiences she has with them which continues to this day. We started chatting about the integration process which is always complicated for large, multi-store companies.
“There is a lot involved when integrating new payment solutions, with all the APIs involved and log file checking, which is time consuming and complicated. But with BOIPA, they explained the process very well and they walked me through everything. Anytime something breaks I get onto James, our dedicated point of contact, and he walks me through the solution. BOIPA also have a team of field engineers if I need them and they are very, very good,” Anna said.
We’re currently integrating with another software system and the guys at BOIPA are very helpful and always available. The transitions for changing your POS can be complicated but that’s not the case with BOIPA. We have a full rollout schedule and I just know that there won’t be any problems.”
“I can tell you about a specific situation where we had an issue with our EPOS system following a software upgrade. All the card terminals in all the stores stopped working. Lots of stores and card terminals just stopped working – it was madness, a nightmare scenario. So I rang James and in the space of 2 hours, he had organised all the card terminal replacements which normally take days to process, and then had them delivered to all our stores throughout Ireland. We had all the card terminals in all the stores the very next day and we were back trading as normal. That just doesn’t happen elsewhere in my experience,” Anna said.
“I would describe the level of service from BOIPA as the white glove treatment. Sometimes the problems arise from our side as we’re opening so many stores and expanding so fast. It’s so busy, but thankfully the guys from BOIPA adapt to our way of doing things, for example, opening up a new account which would normally take a few days can get sorted with a phone call to our account manager. They very much respect my time and try to take as much hassle as possible away from us and as a result, everything runs smoothly.”
Anna’s experience of best in class responsiveness, flexibility and customer service has galvanised Homesavers’ level of trust with BOIPA over the three years they’ve worked together, setting BOIPA apart from their competitors. “Our stores often report problems they run into and I pick up the phone and James sorts it out. I don’t have to follow up or anything as I know that the issues will get resolved. I’m never left waiting on the line, their customer service is so accessible. It’s the best thing ever and like I say, they are the only supplier I have ever dealt with where I have never run into any problems that can’t be fixed straight away. They’re amazing and I would recommend BOIPA to everyone.”