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Deirdre Bentley

Owner-Manager, McMullans of Arklow

Find out how developments in payments technology and customer service have helped a long-established ladies’ boutique seamlessly serve modern shoppers at home and abroad.

For almost 96 years, ladies’ boutique McMullans of Arklow has helped women to look their best. Deirdre Bentley is the current matriarch. “My granny, Julia McMullan, opened the shop in 1928. She was a dressmaker, selling dresses and newspapers,” Bentley elaborates. “Then my mam ran it until I took over in 1988.”

Adapting to evolving payments technology

“We have four generations of a few Arklow families buying from us. We can dress any generation, from the baby to the granny.” As the owner-manager of a boutique that has thrived for so long, Bentley understands the importance of keeping pace with customer expectations as well as fashions — and with payments technology, too. “The trade today would be unrecognisable to Granny. Not only has the currency changed twice, but how people use their money has also changed,” she says.

Let customers pay, their way

“In Granny’s time, people typically paid off an item with maybe a shilling per week. Now, card payments are the main thing for our business. Customers pay with their phones and smartwatches; we have technology that Granny wouldn’t have dreamed of. As a small business, we need to be able to take payments on the spot, whatever way our customers want to pay. We facilitate all of that, so we don’t miss a sale.”

McMullans has been an Elavon customer since 2001. Of course, Bentley has been approached by other payments providers. “Our card services were just one of those things that were with our regular bank. After Elavon opened its Arklow offices in 2000, we wanted to go with them; not just to support local industry, but also because of their prices and customer service.

Convenient, reliable payments

“If there’s ever a problem, we can get through to a person to sort it because we’re a small shop and need to be able to take in the money. We find our payments system to be really, really good. It’s quick; there’s no delay, and we get money in the bank, which is always great.”

With such strong roots in Arklow, Bentley’s priority is her shoppers, especially her many regulars. “Payments providers take care of the details, so we can take care of customers. If somebody can’t get up the steps in our shop, we can bring the mobile card machine to them. Little touches like that make all the difference.”

Payments providers take care of the
details, so we can take care of customers.

Reaching new customers online

Phone orders are a growing part of the business, linked with McMullans’ savvy use of social media. “We record videos showcasing new stock for social media. People phone us afterwards to order what they’ve viewed.

“This makes our catchment area much wider; we’re not dependent on footfall. We have customers in the West, for example, who call us after a video to order — it’s a whole other way of reaching them. We’ve sent parcels lately to Poland, Croatia and Germany.”

Streamlined transaction management

Bentley makes the best use of her system’s end-of-day reports for managing cash flow. For easy access to statements, account-management tools and customised transaction reports, the Elavon Connect online portal is a small business’s best friend. “To drill down into any more detail, we can log in from anywhere. We can get whatever information we want there.”

Bentley has big plans for McMullans’ 2028 centenary, with no intention of changing payment providers. “We’re very happy with our payments partner. We’ve been with them for over 20 years – and hopefully for many years to come.”

Elavon Financial Services DAC. Registered in Ireland – Number 418442.
Registered Office: Block F1, Cherrywood Business Park, Dublin 18, D18 W2X7, Ireland.
Elavon Financial Services DAC, trading as Elavon Merchant Services, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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