Driving Innovation in Retail Software with Michele Salerno of Celerant

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with Michele Salerno of Celerant. Join the conversation as she discusses the growth and challenges faced by retailers, emphasizing the importance of adaptable software solutions. Learn how Celerant’s innovative platforms, Cumulus Retail and Stratus Enterprise, cater to varying business needs, offering customizable options and dedicated support. Stay ahead in the dynamic retail landscape with insights from industry experts.

Insights In This Episode

  • Celerant’s support extends beyond firearms, showcasing their versatility across all retail sectors.
  • The tech-savvy marketing approach Michele employs highlights the importance of innovation in business strategy.
  • From point-of-sale conversations to advanced integrations, Celerant’s journey reflects the industry’s evolution.
  • Adapting to changing industry demands, Celerant’s partnership with AltruPay offers new payment processing options.
  • Embracing technology is crucial for retailers to stay competitive in today’s evolving market landscape.
  • The shift towards customizable marketing solutions underscores the importance of tech-driven strategies.

About Tactical Business

Tactical Business is the weekly business show for the firearms industry. The podcast features in-depth interviews with the entrepreneurs, professionals and technologists who are enabling the next generation of firearms businesses to innovate and grow.

Episode Transcript

Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Show. I’m your host, Virginia Beach based firearms entrepreneur and copywriter Wade Skalsky. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the firearms industry. We’ll speak with successful firearms industry entrepreneurs about their experiences building their companies, leaders and legislators who are shaping the industry, and tech executives whose innovations will reshape the future of the firearms industry. Let’s get after it. Welcome to the Tactical Business Podcast. My name is Wade Skalsky, your host. And today we’re going to be talking with Michele Salerno of Celerant Technologies. Michele, how are you doing today?

Michele: Wait, I’m doing great. How’s the going about you?

Wade: Excited to talk to you. But before we get into sort of some of the more exciting news and current events of what’s happening with you now, why don’t you give us a little bit of some background about how you came to work with Celerant and basically some backstory? We can go from there.

Michele: Happy to. I live in new Jersey. I used to live in New York, and our company Celerant used to be headquartered in New York. We moved to new Jersey this past year. I personally am with Celerant now for almost 19 years. Not quite sure how that’s possible since I still say I’m 28, but it is. I started at Celerant and actually ran out of college, and so my entire adult life has been with Celerant and the company. We’re about to celebrate our 25th anniversary, so it’s been quite a ride. We’ve supported the Hunt Camp fish space for the last 20 of our 25 years and back. 18, 19 years ago is when we got hooked up with the NSSF and became a preferred software provider for their members there. And we still are, of course, today. So we are excited to support the industry and very much a part of this industry. And I’ve grown a ton while working here at Celerantfor those 19 years. And of course, we as a company have evolved a ton as well.

Wade: And that’s that’s very unusual for someone to spend that long with one company. And so that’s an exciting perspective. How have things changed in the industry from when you started to now? That’s got to be such an interesting historical arc.

Michele: It really is on all fronts, on a personal level, on a business level. And then we don’t just serve the firearms industry. Of course, that’s one of our really large segments that we support, but we serve all retail industries. So there’s a lot of variables there and a lot of growth that’s happened over the last 19 years that I’ve experienced across all fronts. But for the firearms industry especially, it’s been really exciting for me. I’m obviously a marketing geek, hence my role. I lead the marketing team here at Celerant, but I’m also a technology geek. Obviously, we develop retail software, and being in this industry for so long, I can remember back 15, almost 20 years ago where just getting dealers to talk about point of sale was a really big conversation and a difficult one. Then talking about electronic and and moving that bound book from paper from the closet to the software back then was the big conversation, and then it evolved into back then partnering with AQ sport and doing all of this awesome data integration and the KL project, and then hooking up with all these distributors. And of course, now it’s evolved. And now a lot of the things I mentioned are just expected and just common conversation. And now it’s a matter of, okay, well, what can we do more and how many more distributors? And we’ve got dealers who are pulling online feeds and drop ship. Those concepts are pretty standard. And if you’re not doing that, then you’re probably falling behind. So it’s been really interesting, especially in the firearm space, to experience all of it and really help. I feel as a company, we really at Celerant and have helped evolve the industry and have led the way in a lot of ways with obviously a lot of industry partners as well. But it’s definitely been an exciting ride and I will say this, I love all the industries we serve, but I really love the hunt catfish space. And why.

Wade: Is that? Why is that one of the top tiers that you like the best?

Michele: It’s just the people. It’s just the relationships. It’s that the shot show every year. I know a lot of people in the industry. It’s a challenging week, a painful week, but I love it. I look forward to the shot show every year, the NSW event every fall. Just the relationships, I think with our dealers, but also with our partners and just the industry across the board. Yeah, I.

Wade: Find it’s a very collaborative industry and yes, there are certain businesses that are competing with other businesses. But and you do have some people that take that to a different level. But for the most part, I have found that businesses are willing to help each other. And and it’s a much more of a collaborative industry than some of the other industries that I’ve been involved with. One of the trends that you talk about for sure is a lot of firearms businesses start in someone’s garage with a legal pad, and this is how we keep our books, and this is how we’ve always kept our books. And that can be a challenge. But there has definitely been an evolution within the industry as well as people are catching up. And I think that’s a great thing to observe and to have a hand in. So I know there’s some big news that’s coming up right now with you guys and the partnership. And why don’t you walk us through what’s that, what that is and what that means, and we can start to unpack that a little bit. Yeah.

Michele: For sure. One thing I’ll add though, just talking about starting in the garage, we have dealers being with me personally, being with someone for as many years as I have been. We have dealers who have started exactly that way using our software. They called us up. They called me up because back then I was a sales coordinator and they were selling out of their garage and they started using our software. And now here we are. They’re still with us 19 years later, and they’re no longer selling out of their garage and just. Being able to support that and help facilitate that growth has just been rewarding for sure. Getting to the announcement and the exciting part that we’re really here to talk about, we at Celerant have partnered with AltruPay, and so we are excited to offer this new payment processing option to our retailers. We’re all about really giving choices and letting them decide what works best for their business. There were several reasons why we brought this new partner into our list of options, and we’re excited to just move forward and have another option for our dealers to to use for processing payments.

Wade: Yeah, and I think it’s important to have as many options as possible because the firearms industry comes in waves of regulation. And so the more options you have and the more nimble that you can be. Sometimes I think it’s it just brings easier to plan for the future than if you’re very limited in your choices. And so I think the more the merrier is always a good option. I think with regards to processing. Now, what are the challenges that you see in terms of that’s going to help people tackle in terms of it’s just more a more robust options, or is there anything specific with regards to your guys’s technology that people may not be aware of?

Michele: Yeah. So I’ll say one thing about your point about options. I know there’s a lot of different software providers in the industry who might not like to give those options, right, for whatever the reason might be. But we at Celerant are very much of the approach where we want to provide options for everything, not just credit card processing, but everything. And a lot of our development, a lot of what we put into our software is dealer driven. So we listen to our dealers and they come to us and tell us what they want and what they need, and that’s frankly how we end up with a lot of the partnerships that we have because they’re requested by our shared dealers. And so we’ll bring it on and then have a new option. In this particular case, we really had a need as a company to be able to support retailers who might have different risk levels. Maybe they need to support CBD sales or different agricultural sales or things of that nature where some of our other processing partners that we have wouldn’t support that vertical. So we needed to open up our options to have more flexibility and to be able to support our retailers who have the industry’s changing, they’re evolving themselves, and they’re widening their product lines, and they’re selling many things today that they might not have been selling three or 4 or 5 years ago. And so we need to really be able to support that growth and have payment options that can facilitate all of those sales.

Wade: Yeah. And I love that you guys are responsive in that way because I think in software there’s two different sort of philosophies. And one of them is we’re going to create we’re going to we’re going to have a feature creep. And so and then you’re just going to have to deal with the feature creep that’s on you as the consumer. Or we’re going to listen to what you need, and we’re going to actually limit our changes and try to keep within actually what you need and not try to go the whole bells and whistles route. And I can tell you that I have experienced both frustration from the feature creep on one platform that I have, and then been very happy on other platforms that have been more attentive to what I actually need.

Michele: Yeah, and I’ll say with that, it’s a really good point. And frankly, it’s one of our big differentiators is the fact that we have our annual client conferences, we have focus groups going back to relationships. We really do develop relationships with our retailers and listen and evolve our software to meet those needs. Now there’s pros and cons to everything, and you as a retailer, need to understand both and make sure that you’re making the right decision for your business. So if you’re looking for a system that’s not going to be constantly changing and evolving and giving you new features and new integrations and just new stuff, then you’re going to have a system that does exactly that, and likely it’s not going to change much. So you’ll learn how to use it, you’ll get your business going, and then that’s it. Versus a system like ours where we’re always evolving. There’s multiple versions each year. Every version is going to give you new third party integrations, new options to do things differently, new features, and just lots of new stuff to help you run your business and evolve. With that, though, comes changes. The retailers tend to not like, change or have time to learn how to evolve their business, but with the benefit of having all those new features, also comes the expectation that you’re going to need to learn potentially, if you want to take advantage of those features, learn how to use them, and the software is going to be changing, and there’s just different things that go along with that as well. So it really it boils down to what type of system you’re looking for and understanding and having realistic expectations of what that might mean.

Wade: And when we first started talking, you hit the nail on the head with regards to how the industry has evolved. And so you used to be able to get away with doing everything on a legal pad and and having your sticky notes all over the place, and you could probably actually do business then. But now as there’s more competition and there are more businesses that are coming in, it’s good to have a partner that can say, hey, we’re seeing this best practices throughout. Here’s how we’re responding to that, and you don’t have to figure that out. We’ll figure those things out for. For you. So let us give you the support. Let us give you the options. And here’s why we’re doing it. Is that a fair assessment of what you’re saying? Is am I hearing you correctly on that?

Michele: Yeah, 100%. And back in the day, uh, point of sale software really was just to ring up transactions and track inventory. Those were the two core functions of a POS system. And yes, those are the two core functions still today. But these days, your point of sale software should be helping your business do a lot more than just those two things. And if you’re using a POS system that’s meant for firearms, meant for your specific industry, there’s a lot of things that you probably don’t even realize you can take advantage of, which are going to help you not just track inventory and process sales and payment processing, but all of those other really cool things that you just don’t even realize are available that will help you save time, sell more, and just streamline how you and your team run your store every day.

Wade: Well, and I think to a lot of businesses are starting to realize is the lifetime value of a customer. So instead of dealing with something just as a transaction, okay, I have someone come into my store, I run this transaction and I don’t think about them again until if they unless they come back in again. Having a really robust software in place like yours allows companies to segment customers, allows them to target to retarget customers and say, okay, who are our best customers? Why are they’re our best customers? And how can I use that information to change what we’re doing to become more profitable? And the sooner that people understand that, the more the faster they’ll get on board to learning what it is that you guys do.

Michele: Right. And to that point, too, you’ve got your store, you’ve got your brick and mortar and your point of sale software that runs that store. Then you’ve hopefully you have your e-commerce site too. Maybe you have a mobile app or maybe not yet. That’s okay. But you’ve got all these different sales channels, and at the end of the day, it really goes back to the technology that is supporting all of that. Because when you’re using a centralized system to manage all of those different channels, that’s when you can really save time and facilitate all that you’re talking about. Right? Like now we’re getting into digital marketing, and we’re talking about not just running sales and tracking inventory, but we’re talking about who your top spending customers are, your best performing customers, knowing how long it’s been since they’ve shopped with you, you can just have faster access to all of that data. It’s going to monitor and collect that data from your store, from your website, from your mobile app. It’s going to integrate it all by that maybe unique email address. And like with our system, we also offer email marketing. So what that most dealers I would say are probably already sending emails. Everybody’s hopefully sending emails, but they’re probably just sending out, okay, this is on sale and they’re sending it to every single person in their database, maybe 50,000 or 100,000 or even more than that contacts in their database.

Michele: But think about when you’re using the right technology and you’re you’re doing some of the things we’re talking about. You can collect all that transactional data, and you can send automated emails like 1 to 1 emails based on specific triggers in the software. Right? Not mass emails that like spray and pray. No, we’re sending personalized emails that are meant for you. So, Wade, let’s say you come in my store, you buy something, I’m going to automatically send you an email suggesting other items that I know complement the item that you purchased. And I’m not doing anything except ringing you up in the store because I’ve rung you up in the point of sale that’s getting connected to the system, and then the automated email is going to automatically go out because it knows that you purchased that item and there’s upsell opportunity there, or you said top VIP customers or top spending customers, you can very easily have a segment, an email segment that will just send this email to my top spending customers, and then that goes out.

Michele: Or maybe Wade you’re a top spending customer, but you haven’t been in my store in three months or my website in six months. Maybe I want to send you an email to encourage you to come back. Maybe you left things in the shopping cart. An automated email goes out encouraging you to come back tomorrow and complete the items that you forgot. There’s so much opportunity to get creative and do so many personalized emails like that. And it all goes back to having that centralized system, being able to pull all that data from all those different sales channels and easily and quickly send out these emails without having to. What’s the alternative? Right. You’ve got your point of sale. You’re going to run an export in Excel. You’ve got your website, you’re going to run an export, you’re going to take all those files, you’re going to upload it to MailChimp or whatever, and then you’re going to manually be manipulating all of this, exporting, uploading. It’s just a lot. But when you have that one system, you can do all of this so much more efficiently and you can really increase the marketing success by like six times. It’s not just processing sales, it’s just so much more.

Wade: This episode is brought to you by TacticalPay.com. Every few years, it seems large banks and national credit card processors suddenly decide that they no longer want to process payments for firearms and firearms related businesses, and so they drop these businesses with almost no notice, freezing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for months on end. If you want to ensure your partner with a payments provider that is dedicated to supporting the firearms industry, or you just want to find out if you could be paying less for your ACH, debit and credit card processing, visit TacticalPay.com. Again, that’s TacticalPay.com. What’s unique about the firearms industry is that it? It is a very broad industry in terms of the offerings. So you as a gun store, let’s say you may have all different types of guns, but for the most part, I find a majority of your gun. And I may be wrong on this, but a majority of gun owners stay in a certain little silo of your store. So, for example, if I’m a Glock person and I’m a diehard Glock person and you see all I buy is stuff for a Glock, I’m not really going to respond as much necessarily to like your sale on your sig sale, right. Or like whatever. But if anything, that if there’s anything at all, if I’m tagged as a Glock person and there’s anything at all coming up that has to do with that gun, then you can personalize those emails to those people. So you can do a big macro email to everybody and say, hey, we’re having a sale, whatever. Or you can also specifically target the people that you know, have already purchased that type of gun. And then, like you said, for accessories for that gun or new sales for like, hey, I know you have a Glock 17, Glock 19. And I think it’s very powerful and I think it’s a very untapped method of marketing. Yeah.

Michele: And to expand on that even further, if I’m sending you all you want to buy is Glock, right? If I’m hitting you over the head and sending you all this stuff that’s not Glock, you may actually unsubscribe because I’m just not honing in on what I know you like, and all the emails may piss you off or whatever and make you click on subscribe or worse, make you click spam. Whereas if I’m sending you, it’s not just based on triggers in the software, it’s not just based on actions. Meaning you came in and purchased something and so now you’re getting an email, and that email may be asking you to post an online review for the product. I know you bought. Like there’s all sorts of triggers, but another thing is not like trigger based. It’s based on brand preferences, exactly what you’re describing. So if we know that you like lock, we’re going to specifically send you those emails personalized meant for that based on brands, departments, whatever it might be that you like. And so it’s not only about increasing your open rates, your click thrus, of course, your conversions. That’s the end goal. But it’s also about minimizing the opt outs and the spam reports and all the other stuff that causes you to not have your emails perform.

Wade: I’m a writer too, so I love writing for marketing, and so we can probably geek out on real granular, get real granular. But I want to bring us back up, pull out a little bit. Let’s say that I am not in that developed business mode yet. And basically where I’m at is like, I do want to start out in my garage, I think, and you’ve already answered this, but I don’t have to start with all the bells and whistles. I can start with exactly what I need, but I don’t have to switch anything to grow. So. So is it fair to say for your guys’s software that the software will meet my business wherever it is? But then I never have to worry about getting another solution if I grow to scale or anything like that. Like your guys’s software can handle whatever growth that we can achieve, basically. Is that fair?

Michele: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So most, most retailers come to us with their problem today. And their problem today is they need a new point of sale or they want to launch their very first e-commerce site. Or maybe they have an e-commerce site and they want to revamp it and give it a facelift. But you know, the stuff that I like to geek out on, as you said, is all the really cool marketing stuff that you can do when you’re ready to really excel that business. But primarily what they’re coming for us today for is point of sale electronic AMD and e-commerce. With our software, we actually offer two versions to the market the smaller dealers, the dealers just getting started. They’re going to opt for our system that’s called Cumulus Retail, and that’s our lighter, more cost effective. It’s our cheaper, easier system. Let’s just be real. But Cumulus is meant for those smaller dealers. And then we have Stratus Enterprise, which is our second system. And that’s meant for the larger dealers, the more advanced retails or the bigger retailers, multi stores, big custom, big volume online presence, Vance Outdoors, Jay’s Sporting Goods turners, they’re all using that. But a lot of the smaller dealers are obviously more of a fit for Cumulus. But the big differentiator, another big differentiator I will say, is that you can start small with Cumulus.

Michele: You can start as low as 125 a month, or if you wanted one of the firearm bundles, I think it’s like 160 a month or something like that. But you can start small and you can add on as you grow. So there are a lot of features from our enterprise system that don’t come standard in Cumulus, but you can add them on and maybe you’re going to pay another 10 or 20 bucks a month or something. But the important piece is you can add those on later and you can start really small. And then if and when you’re ever ready to upgrade to that enterprise site, because now not only have you opened a storefront, maybe now you want to open a multiple storefronts or really grow your online business, you can easily upgrade to Stratus, which is our enterprise software. You don’t need to learn a whole new system. There’s no data conversion. It’s the same system behind the scenes. Our Cumulus retail and our Stratus Enterprise are the same system. It’s just a matter of we turn on more bells and whistles, and you basically get access to most everything in Stratus standard. And a lot of that is not available in Cumulus. Or it could be available in some cases as an add on.

Michele: So you’ll pay a little bit more monthly in your SaaS, because obviously Cumulus and Stratus are at different price points. But that enterprise system, you’ve got a really easy upgrade path. One thing that has not. Changed in all the years that I’ve been doing this here at Celarent is retailers don’t like to change software providers, right. It’s not fun, it’s painful. And a lot of times it’s sometimes there’s misaligned expectations, but it’s not easy and it’s not something they want to do often. So it used to be every 5 to 7 years. These days it’s probably a little bit faster just because it’s SAS now. So it’s not the life cycle isn’t as long as it once was, but I would say a retailer does not want to switch systems every five years. Like it’s just not something they want to do. So you really want to find a company who can not just solve your problem for today, but also really help you grow to help excel and expand your business later, because you’re not going to want to change again. It’s not easy to change. Convert all that data, train your staff, learn a whole new system, not something you want to do. Too frequently.

Wade: I’ve actually experienced this. So in my previous life as a lawyer, I mean, I had a law firm and you don’t want to outgrow your software because if you’ve got some some proprietary software that you’re using from 20 years ago and you’re trying to switch to something different because it doesn’t stop getting supported or it just doesn’t serve your needs anymore, people don’t realize, like, the amount of data that you can generate in a very short amount of time and then transferring that data over without mistakes. Right. Because that’s a that’s costs you money. That’s a strategic decision first because you’re like, oh, it may be some people may be tempted to say, I don’t need to do that. That’s in the future. But I think it is a very important. And again, to say it this way is you want to make sure that you choose a software that can grow with you and that you won’t outgrow. And so from your guys’s perspective, like let’s talk about some of your enterprise clients, right? Like I don’t want specifics, but give me an idea of how big some of those companies are so that if someone’s sitting there thinking to themselves, well, how big I can get? Like, so how are some of the bigger companies that you’re dealing with? What kind of how can you help us out so people can rest assured? Oh yeah, I’m not going to get that big. Does that make sense? Yeah.

Michele: Well yeah exactly. And it’s relative. But it’s all perspective. Because when I say Stratus Enterprise some people may think, oh enterprise. That’s like 500 stores or some people may. I’ll tell you this, we have plenty of dealers who have one store and they’re using Stratus, not because they’re an enterprise per se, but they’re just a more advanced retailer. Right. So like Vance Vance Outdoor, I mean, I can I’ll give you a few Vance outdoors. They just opened their fifth store. And by the way, Vance is with us for as long as I’m with Celarent, which is like 18 years. But anyway, they’re opening their fifth store, so they have five stores. But prior to that, they had four. But they also have two e-commerce sites and they do a lot. They have a very big business, so they are definitely a much more advanced retailer. Then we have someone like Turners who probably I forget exactly, but maybe 15 or so stores and Ecom Jay’s Sporting Goods, they only have, I think, two stores and e-commerce, so it’s not so much even the store count as it is the functionality that your business requires, right? If you do by trade, rentals, repairs, if you’re doing all of those different things, Stratus is going to be the better solution because you know, with Cumulus you can add things on, but every time you add things on, of course your SaaS price is going up.

Michele: So eventually there’s a break even and eventually you’re just going to want Stratus because you’ll get everything. You know, you pretty much have access to most everything. The other big thing I’ll mention between Cumulus and Stratus is if you have a need for a customizations, if you need to modify the software, or if you want to build a completely custom website, that’s going to be Stratus, as opposed to going live faster and using more of a template type theme. It’s still flexible. You can still personalize it, but Cumulus e-commerce is definitely more of the template approach, with a lot of flexibility as opposed to someone like Vance or Jas. They want to build a custom site and that then that’s definitely more of a Stratus play. Our biggest customer, though, just for what it’s worth, has, I think, 200 stores not in the hunt camp fish space, but we can support retailers of that size too. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have 200 stores to be running Stratus.

Wade: Yeah, well, the nice thing too is I feel like business owners fall into one of two camps, right? The quick starters who are like, I don’t really care. Let’s just get it viable and let’s go. Let’s rock and roll. And so you can service those people with the more like the cookie cutter is the wrong word, but more of the best practices templates that you have. But then you have the people who are like, I want to take my time and I want to plan it out exactly how I want it. And those are like the kind of the tech nerds. And what I love about those are like the gearhead people, right? Which is I am not one of those. I’m in the quickstart campaign, but firearms. It’s funny because it has both of those holes and everyone in between. And so what’s nice about what you guys do is you’re robust enough to be able to if you’re not a tech person, don’t get scared because you guys have it sounds like you guys have the support to be able to get people going and going quickly. But if you are a tech person and you really care to see what color your buttons are like, yeah, we can figure that out for you. Let’s talk a little bit about the support. Like what kind of support do you guys like for onboarding? Do you guys offer in terms of for troubleshooting? Because I know people are always excited in the beginning, but these things take time and there’s maintenance involved. And I know you guys are big on relationships. So walk me through how you guys view that support process.

Michele: Yeah. Love to the benefit really is regardless. As if you’re purchasing Cumulus or Stratus, we will assign a dedicated project manager so that person, even for the Cumulus customer, that is your single one person who will hold your hands and help you through this process from start to finish. Even after you go live, you’re assigned a dedicated tech support technician. I think it’s for 30 days post go live, so we really try to give that one on one attention and support, not just for our Stratus customers or our Cumulus customers. And of course, post go Live, we have our tech support team so you can call in on the phone. If not just email or chat. You can actually call and talk to somebody on the phone and get support and get the help you need. We also have a lot of online resources now in depending on the retailer. You know, some just like you said, some retailers love that they want to self-serve all day, every day. They’re going to use the knowledge base. It’s a dedicated point person. And then of course there are other team members that get pulled in, depending on, of course, what the project looks like. If we’re doing a data conversion, we have a team of data conversion specialists, and even when that other team comes in, they’re part your main central point person is still your dedicated implementation manager who is also your trainer. That person will train you on the software. All of those training sessions are recorded, and then you get the link so you can reference it in the future. And so we do have a dedicated team that really works with all of our distributors and really helps you get that process off the ground. And all of that is coordinated by your dedicated implementation manager. That is your primary person for everything up until the point in which you go live and even shortly thereafter. Yeah.

Wade: That’s great. So let’s talk a little bit about let’s Go macro again. How do you see the challenges of the industry unfolding in the next, next year or two. And then how can because I do think that there are some challenges that are coming down the pike for the industry. And then what is your guys’s vision of the next, let’s say one, two, three, four, five years?

Michele: Yeah. So it’s hard, especially in the firearms industry. There’s so many challenges and so many restrictions, and it’s hard to even plan for what’s coming next, especially these last four or so years. But I will say that as more and more restrictions are put on our industry and dealers have even more limited options, whether it be for payment processing or if it’s even for things like advertising, Google ads and things like that. There’s just so many factors that are outside of the dealer’s control. It’s important always for dealers to choose partners who support the industry and that just support the industry. But you know, you want to make sure that they support fully support the industry and are going to for the long haul. I can’t tell you how many dealers will call us and say, oh my, this my website’s getting shut down because my provider just shut me off. Or just all different horror stories like that where they’ve invested so much time and so much money only to one day just get shut off or get a notice that they’re at risk for getting shut off or whatever it might be. And so so that’s just it’s just the most important thing. And not only to be able to take advantage of all the cool functionality that we talked about and really help excel their business, but just to even be able to maintain support for your business, it’s just so important. And now, of course, this is an election year and things are going to get crazy again, I’m sure. But being able to take advantage of some of those different technologies that we spoke about, you know, with like distributor feeds.

Michele: So when inventory gets tight, I remember back a couple of years ago in the thick of it, when we couldn’t get products, and the dealers who were already using this type of integration were at an advantage because they pulled that online product feed from their distributor, they were automatically posting products on their website as soon as the distributor had it back in stock, and they were selling it on their website, before their competitors even realized that the distributor had those products back in stock. So again, me being the technology and marketing geek that I am, it really does all go back to the technology, because there are so many ways that the right technology can help you prepare and help your business be successful, no matter what is coming down the pike, because there’s just so many things that are out of your control. So that, I think, is what some of the challenges and moving forward as well. The market has changed. The firearms industry is feeling a lot of pressure, but the industry is also changing because consumers have just changed the way they shop. It’s all evolving. So if firearm dealers are not embracing technology, trying to educate themselves and really learn why all of this is so important and start to really evolve the way they’re doing business, it’s really going to it’s going to cause them problems later, and you’re not going to be competitive unless you start to evolve and start to do some of this, not all of it, because it can be overwhelming. But take that step and just get started, start small and be on your way with a partner who can really help guide you.

Wade: Yeah, you can’t predict the future, but you can look at a track record and the fact that you guys have been around for a very long time. No matter what happens, there’s not going to be a scenario that you either haven’t seen before or you know what to do. And I think that’s really important is that you guys obviously have a dedication to the space. You’re not just coming up with a SaaS product that you want to sell and exit from, right? Like you’ve been there and you’ve been through all the ups and downs of the vertical. So I just think that is a very valuable asset that you guys have that only grows every year. So one other.

Michele: Note on that because it’s just so important we don’t have a crystal ball. Nobody does. And we’ve been through it. We’ve been through a lot of it and we’ve seen it all. And nobody could have predicted a pandemic. Nobody could have predicted that what went on in 20 2021 was going to happen. What’s important is not only that you’re. Whether it’s Celerant or someone else. I’m not just here to talk, to sell, sell, but just a tip, some advice. Whoever your partner with needs to not only be innovative and be able to really help you pave that path, but also needs to be nimble and they need to be able to move quick. Because when things happen, you as a retailer not only need to move quick and be able to change some of your approach, but the technology partner that you’re working with, most importantly, that they’re able to move quick and pivot because things happen and the companies that are just slow to move and take six months or a year to actually make decisions and make changes, that’s going to really be what holds your business back. And so I think just being able to move quickly and pivot and know that your partner can do so as well is super important.

Wade: Do you guys definitely have been tested? You’ve been around for the last 17 years like I said, 25. So. Oh yeah. Well you’ve been there for 17, right?

Michele: Me me yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Wade: Right. That’s the big thing about finding strategic partners that will grow with you is people don’t realize the importance of that in business, and you take it for granted when things are going the way that you want them to. But when something happens and things when things are tough, that’s when the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Like that’s when you really appreciate your partners and you get that brand loyalty. So. Well, listen, I’ve really enjoyed talking to you today, Michelle. We’re coming up on our time. Like, how can people find you? Give me everything.

Michele: Yes. Awesome. So we are everywhere. We you can find us at Salon.com. We’re on all of our social channels LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, you name it, we’re there. We’re not. Hard to find my email. I’ll even give you my direct email. It’s m.com. You can check out the Ultra Pay Partner page on our site. It’s launching very soon. Our information is on Ultrapar’s website as well. We are just really excited about the new partnership. The Ultra Pay team is coming to our client conference in a couple of weeks in Texas, so we’re looking forward to meeting everybody in person and really introducing everyone to our dealers who are participating. And so I’m excited for the partnership.

Wade: Yeah, and I know there’s a lot of excitement on both sides. So we’ll listen. Again. Thank you so much for coming on, and I would love to have you back on the show again. And as a friend of the show. So chop up what’s been happening. Hey, how’s it different from six months ago and what’s going on? And because I think that helps people get a really good sense on what’s happening in the growth. And it’s always fun for me. So thank you so much for coming on today.

Michele: Thank you for the opportunity.

Wade: You’ve been listening to the Tactical Business Show by TacticalPay.com. Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the firearms industry.