Boutique Ciconia

Montreal, QC

In the charming neighborhood of Laurier East in Montreal, Canada, you can find chic independent boutiques and cafes, including upscale children’s store Ciconia.It was started by two fathers, and friends for over a decade, Olivier Monfet and François Laurin.


As young retail entrepreneurs, the most rewarding part of being a store owner is the ability to provide people with solutions. For them, service is key, and their point of sale is part of their formula to offer shoppers the best experience possible.

“Lightspeed gives our staff functions that often allow them to act like managers without having to employ a full-time a manager.” says Olivier

Olivier and Frank became partners many years ago when they saw an opportunity to take over a small pet supplies store. When they noticed that the neighborhood was slowly evolving to become more family-oriented, they seized the chance to buy a space next door and opened Boutique Ciconia in 2011. Lightspeed was their first choice of POS, and it has since allowed them to expand their business is many ways.


“We bought Lightspeed as our super-reliable point-of-sale, with the added bonus of an integrated web store,” explains Olivier. “Now that we’re ready to really expand our online business, we don’t have to start from scratch and build it up on our own–its all right here.”
“Our employees can see what happened with each customer because of all the notes we add to invoices, and the ability to see what’s on order for any given client. If someone comes to the store to return something or to pick something up, our sales associates can quickly understand the situation and provide great service, even if they didn’t originally start the file with them.

“Our employees can see what happened with each customer because of all the notes we add to invoices, and the ability to see what’s on order for any given client. If someone comes to the store to return something or to pick something up, our sales associates can quickly understand the situation and provide great service, even if they didn’t originally start the file with them."


A virtual manager

Ciconia is a two-floor, neighborhood-oriented boutique selling clothes and other items for children aged 0-7. They employ 7 part-time employees, most of whom are university students. Lightspeed enables everyone to get up to speed every time they log in, even if they’ve been away from the store for a few days.

Besides empowering employees with accessible information about clients, orders, and sales, Lightspeed gives Ciconia’s owners a quick snapshot of the store’s performance every day.

“What I love about the Dashboard is our employees see a simple version, but it provides us with a much more detailed picture of everything. For example, we can see who is the best seller, sales by hour, and more. This helps us plan our staffing levels for any given time,” says Olivier

“We need the ability to turn the store around very quickly if business is slow. We use reports in Lightspeed to help us calculate profitability per square foot of space. We know when to heavily discount items that aren’t moving, and this system helps us identify these.”

“We need the ability to turn the store around very quickly if business is slow. We use reports in Lightspeed to help us calculate profitability per square foot of space. We know when to heavily discount items that aren’t moving, and this system helps us identify these.”


Right inventory at the right time

Special orders make up 10-15% of sales for Ciconia. “Special orders with Lightspeed are really easy. The system enables us to put through our orders to vendors without mistakes. The way the system is configured allows us to submit these orders with a simple click.” Easy ordering is also useful for their babyshower business. “We’ve set it up so that we can hold the ordered baby shower items in the warehouse.”

For baby shower items especially, being able to put products aside in the warehouse is a huge plus. “All the functions that we use for our baby shower business–being able to show that products are in the warehouse or a separate place downstairs in storage waiting for pickup–make our lives so much easier.”

Knowing how much to order, and when, is one of the trickiest aspects of running a retail business. “Sometimes, your store hits a plateau and you want to give it a boost. In just seconds, we can see which products are moving too slowly, and which ones have a high sell-through. We can’t always afford to buy tons of inventory, so we have to be strategic with which items we buy more of. We wouldn’t be able to get these numbers so easily without Lightspeed.”
For many small stores, a few months of low sales could mean disaster. The owners at Ciconia monitor product performance carefully to ensure the highest rotation of inventory possible.

“We need the ability to turn the store around very quickly if business is slow. We use reports in Lightspeed to help us calculate profitability per square foot of space. We know when to heavily discount items that aren’t moving, and this system helps us identify these.”

Ciconia is a favorite place to visit for those with small children, or for shoppers looking for a friendly store to browse. As Olivier likes to point out, “Our biggest joy is giving amazing service to people in the community. It’s why people come back.”

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