The NSLC is the largest retailer in Nova Scotia, but it isn’t a typical retailer. All of its profits go back to the province to fund public programs and services that promote safe and responsible consumption of alcohol and cannabis.
Nearly $240 million went back to the province following the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Revenue was $625.7 million, an increase of $13.8 million over the previous year.
The NSLC’s point-of-sale (POS) system is the unsung hero in this organization. Each year it processes more than 17 million transactions for half a million customers. Each transaction offers a treasure trove of information.
“Our POS system provides insights that help us understand customers’ preferences,” said Jason Miller, Manager of IT Services at the NSLC. “We analyze each sale by item, store, promotion and time period. We want to make sure we put the right products in the right stores at the right time.”
The challenge for the NSLC was keeping the POS system running. Slow, unreliable backup and recovery threatened its availability.
“The good thing about our POS system is that it can operate in standalone mode for up to a week, so we can still sell products in our stores,” said Kevin Penny, Manager of the IT Infrastructure at the NSLC. “The bad thing is that we can’t transfer transactional data to our ERP system during standalone mode, which impacts our ability to replenish inventory in our stores and meet customers’ needs. Revenue could take a direct hit.”
The NSLC is the single greatest source of revenue for Nova Scotia after taxes, and it wants to stay that way.
Veeam Backup & Replication helps the NSLC remain the single greatest source of revenue for the province. If the POS system fails for any reason, Veeam restores it instantly.
“Veeam keeps our POS system running so we can track customer preferences and optimize inventory in each store,” Miller said. “Veeam helps us put the right products in the right stores at the right time.”
While many retailers collect data from their POS systems, the NSLC actually analyzes data to grow the business. That’s how the organization generates such impressive revenue year after year, and that’s how it provides the province with millions of dollars to fund public programs.
One of the programs is called Keep It Social, which promotes safe and responsible consumption of alcohol and cannabis at universities. Another program offers free cab rides home, so people don’t drive impaired. The NSLC also partners with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Students in grades 7 through 12 attend school assemblies featuring victims of impaired driving who discuss the tragic consequences they’ve survived.
The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) controls the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages and recreational cannabis on behalf of the Canadian government. It employs more than 1,500 Nova Scotians and offers nearly 6,000 products in 160 retail stores and 2,100 bars and restaurants.
Each year the NSLC makes more than half a billion dollars in revenue. Generating that level of revenue isn’t easy, but the NSLC found a way. It develops a keen, data-driven understanding of customers’ product preferences from its point-of-sale (POS) system. The challenge was keeping the system available.