AK Rikks, Giant Store with an Even Bigger Heart
AK Rikks was first opened in 1986, centered on men’s suits with inventory tracking and bookkeeping done by hand and became a Grand Rapids staple amongst locals. In September of 2012 they opened the doors of their 28,000sq foot location to house both their men’s and now women’s attire and accessories. The expansion of AK Rikks into a space that could compete in size with the average department store was a bold move, spurred by the existing Grand Rapids “culture of travel”. Locals have long been accustomed to traveling to Chicago or even New York due to the lack of a strong shopping scene in Grand Rapids; no Lord and Taylor, one Macy’s and no Nordstrom.
The AK Rikks manager, Jim Murray, refers to it as the “culture of travel” and AK Rikks dares to challenge that idea and help Grand Rapids celebrate the same things that can be celebrated in New York and Chicago – massive windows, culture, and, most obviously, important fashion brands. A major hurdle in their expansion was bringing in a retail management / point of sale system that would fit their immediate needs and objectives in the years to come; they wanted to be backed by a company that was both new and fresh but seasoned and well-experienced in the world of retail technology.
Jim cautions that taking on a new system is a major investment, not just financially but in time and energy but that the proof is in the pudding. After the new store location opened in September 2012, they have experienced a 40% increase in sales. “I wanted to have customizable options, we are very customer centric. It’s not about sell-through but at the end of the day it is about the customers. Everything must be tracked and considered, including a record of who gets a thank you card.”
Jim wanted many features not found in an out-of-the-box system. “I would think up some crazy things [features] and Teamwork could play ball. We know our stats, SKUs that are moving, SKUs that are not moving, automatic stock SKUs for reordering. We use iPads almost exclusively and we are now mobile, which was vital with such a small staff in such a large space.” As a store that carries a multitude of brands, they were in turn able to review multiple point -of- sale options. “The trick is being able to identify the person’s exact needs… which One Step Retail Solutions does very well.”
“We wanted a system to make us more efficient and now that we are past that curve we can get more advanced. At this time next year [Teamwork] will save us even four more hours a week per person. At this point the people who use the system most already save at least four hours a week.” Thankfully, though the size of a department store… AK Rikks has remained a customer-friendly boutique to the core. Through technology, architecture and the AK Rikks brand they are shifting the shopping culture of Grand Rapids.