In 2012, Channel 9’s The Block’s social media manager Emma Garland and publicist Sarah Armstrong launched an online store to help viewers in their quest to get their hands-on products seen in the show’s room reveals.
In 2014, The Block challenged contestants to set up and run their own pop-up shop, with profits propping up their renovation budgets.
Vend was the point-of-sale that sold the goods.
It was simple to set up and easy for contestants to use.
It worked so smoothly that Vend was the first call Emma and Sarah made when they decided to open another pop-up shop on Fitzroy St, St Kilda during the filming of 2018’s season of The Block in The Gatwick hotel.
The Block Shop first opened as an online store in 2012 and instantly became a massive success for customers and suppliers alike.
A pop-up shop was then opened in 2014 in Prahran, as part of a challenge for the show’s contestants.
For the 2018 season, the store has been opened opposite The Gatwick Hotel, where The Block 2018 is currently being filmed and is also helping to regenerate a once tired and run-down stretch of street.
Now open at 79-81 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda the store employs three full-time staff and three part-time, in addition to contestants who may work in the store during the season.
The Block Shop is open to the public Tuesdays (11am-5pm) and Saturdays (10am-4pm) plus by appointment for their interior design service.
Throughout the production of The Block 2018 the shop was open to contestants six days a week.
Back in 2014 producers of The Block were asked to research the best way of setting up a retail space ahead of the show’s challenge.
In just two weeks they needed to get a pop-up store with a café fully operational.
They searched online for a point-of-sale (POS) solution that was budget-friendly and fast to implement for a short-term temporary store.
Also important was finding a POS that could integrate with an accounting package and EFTPOS facilities.
The producers discovered Vend while searching online and saw they had an office in Melbourne.
After an initial meeting, iPads and cash terminals were set up, all inventory was loaded, and the system was integrated with cloud-based accounting partner Xero, and Tyro for EFTPOS, ready for selling – all complete
The Block Shop manager Sarah Armstrong said: “We have been impressed from the start with Vend’s affordability, fast installation, customisable software and premium support.”
Vend’s cloud-based POS enables the team to gain insights on what are the most popular items and to anticipate the required stock levels.
“Vend is super easy to set-up and for contestants to use, and the software makes it easy to handle returns and refunds,” explains Sarah.
During the show, contestants buy from The Block Shop at special rates.
“There can be a fair bit of back-and-forth buying and then returning homeware items that may or may not fit their renovations and budgets, so it’s handy to be able to process all of this smoothly in Vend,” she says.
“It’s been so easy and enjoyable to open our various pop-up shops with Vend, that we hope to open a permanent location in the future,” explains Sarah.
The team are also currently investigating how to offer additional features for customers such as making use of Vend’s cardless loyalty program.