Written by Stuart Foxman
For stores looking for help managing transactions, inventory and an online presence, the right point-of-sale (POS) system is essential. Taku Retail, the software arm of Markham-based TakuLabs (takulabs.io), offers a smart, cloud-based POS platform.
The mix of functions comes down to one ultimate goal. “We help to drive more traffic to the store,” says Taku co-founder and CEO Karen Wong.
Wong, who has an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, brought extensive retail and wholesale experience to Taku. She left her hometown of Toronto to work in Asia for many years, as the global account director for a Chinese supplier of party candles, co-owner of a Taiwan food service supplier, and general manager of Hong Kong candle supplier.
Back in Toronto in 2016, she was looking for her next venture. First, she ran a company called ACE POS Solutions, which served over 6,000 merchants. TakuLabs started as a spin-off.
“We build the platform from the ground up from all the things I’ve learned,” says Wong. “The software answers all the pain points I had when I was a retailer.”
Taku is aimed at mid-market retailers. It features smooth synchronization and the same user experience across any web-enabled PC, Mac, iOS or Android device. “It has to be seamless,” says Wong.
The platform offers a speedy sales process, advanced cashouts, and customizable receipt builders. It’s easy to scan barcodes or use the smart search function to look up products by keyword, description, code or tag.
The built-in e-commerce features also make it easier for established bricks-and-mortar retailers to sell online. Wong says Taku is the only POS solution directly integrated to Google today.
Overall, Taku allows retailers to easily use their own POS data to reach more customers, sell more and get a 360-degree real-time customer view. Retailers also enjoy detailed sales analysis reports.
The power of Taku is evident right in its name. As Wong explains, Taku isn’t a word but an acronym; it stands for “try and keep up”.
“We’re dedicated to using the latest technology, functionality and features,” says Wong. “If you’re using our platform, it’s hard for competitors to keep up.”
In November 2019, Taku took first place in the DMZ Small Business Challenge, powered by BMO. The competition was for Canadian startups offering solutions in the small business sector. Wong and the other finalists received one-on-one advice from BMO experts. A panel of venture capital experts also offered their views on the FinTech landscape.
With her entrepreneurial experience, Wong is now sharing her own insights. She’s a mentor for the ELLA accelerator, which supports high-potential women entrepreneurs. ELLA (or the Entrepreneurial Leadership & Learning Alliance) is led by York University, in partnership with the Small Business Enterprise Centres of Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and York Region.
Wong is also an in-class entrepreneur for Schulich’s MBA program. “I’m distilling a lot of my own learnings. It’s a great way to give back,” she says.
Photo credit: Plexman Studio