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Published January 20, 2015
Volume 23, Number 1



Connecting with Customers through cloudseeder
 
cloudseeder
Kevin Lentz, CEO of cloudseeder, located on Willow Road in Hacienda


By Zoe Francis
NETWORK Writer



Small businesses now have affordable point-of-sale software to keep them on the cutting edge.
 
The cloud-based software offered by cloudseeder allows independent retailers to stay on top of their products and serve their customers with the same capability as any big company or online retailer.
 
“We track sales, purchase orders, inventory and customers,” founder and CEO Kevin Lentz explained. “It’s a retail management solution.”
 
Lentz knows of which he speaks. The entrepreneur was frustrated by the lack of point-of-sale solutions available for small businesses as he built his resale electronics, video games and movies business in his hometown of Chicago.
 
“I wasn’t happy with the point-of-sale software that I was able to find,” he said. “It didn’t do what I wanted it to do. Customers can do so much online, but the customers walking around my store couldn’t do any of that stuff.”
 
Lentz set out to create his own point-of-sale program that met the particular needs of an independent retailer. He ultimately walked away from his business to launch cloudseeder.
 
The company launched in 2011 with the product being sold in late 2012. This summer, Lentz uprooted his family from Chicago to relocate to the Bay Area. The startup is based at Innovate Pleasanton, a new think tank for fledgling tech firms.
 
“We really seek to empower independent store owners by allowing them to connect directly with their customers,” Lentz said. “We are the software that runs the register in the store. A cash register in the old definition basically just added tax and that was about it. We handle inventory and customer management.”
 
cloudseeder is the first point-of-sale solution that allows small retailers to integrate social media directly into their cash registers.
 
“We allow the retailer to post onto their Facebook business page without leaving the register,” he noted. “We look at the customers that may be walking around a brick-and-mortar store and realize they are always connected to the Internet.”
 
A customer may, for instance, get a discount at the register if they “like” the store on Facebook or post that they shopped at the store.
 
“We’re looking to put those two together – by taking that physical store presence and putting it onto Facebook to connect with that customer,” Lentz said. “We’re looking for a way for our retailers to connect to the shopper.”
 
The cloudseeder software also allows retailers to tap into the hot new trend of omni-channel retailing.
 
“That’s the concept that products are for sale in multiple channels at the same time,” he explained. “Our software facilitates that.”
 
The cute red sweater hanging on the rack could also be posted for sale at Amazon, eBay and on the retailer’s own website. If the sweater is sold through any of those channels, the retailer is notified so that stock can be immediately updated.
 
“If someone buys that red sweater, then our software goes online and changes all of the online listings to show that that sweater is not for sale anymore,” Lentz said. “The same thing happens in reverse – if the sweater is bought online, you’d better go pull it from the rack.”
 
cloudseeder is partnering with another Innovate Pleasanton startup, Pressadi, to offer retailers a brand-new revenue stream – advertisements at the bottom of store receipts.
 
“Independent retailers can take advantage of that space on the bottom of receipts and offer it up for advertising,” he said. “They have never had the opportunity to advertise and earn money that way. cloudseeder is the first point-of-sale to integrate with Pressadi.”
 
The key to the cutting-edge cloudseeder software its affordability at a mere $99 per month.
 
“Point-of-sale systems are expensive,” he noted. “They can cost upwards of $10,000. (This) is more of a rental concept. There is no large up-front expense. There’s no startup fee. No tech support fee. I’m not going to nickel and dime these guys. They need to know what they’re going to pay.”
 
cloudseeder is currently targeting the growing resale and consignment industry. Lentz’s goal is to garner 1,000 customers or $1 million in sales, then branch out into other industries.
 
“I want to make a difference for these people,” he said. “We want to give independent retailers – small guys, mom-and-pop stores – a way to connect to their shoppers because that gives them so much more power.”
 
Learn more about the latest in web-based point-of-sale software at cloudseeder.com.

 



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