Retail Point of Sale Systems
Retail Point of Sale Systems: Is now the time to replace your old system?
To survive in this era of supercenters, retailers must have an edge–timely access to information. Day-old information from batch processes is not good enough. The ability to not only see–but also react quickly to–what this information tells you can improve customer service and increase operational efficiency.
With an improving economy and increased shopper confidence, retail sales are growing, providing retailers with a welcome breath of fresh air. Retailers, in belt-tightening mode, have put off buying new store retail point of sale systems over the last few years, waiting for better times. The economic upturn and increased competitive pressures are forcing retailers to ask, “Is now the time to replace my retail point of sale systems?”
The answer may be obvious if you have high failure rates, cannot acquire retail point of sale system hardware for replacement or new stores, or cannot provide key services such as cross-channel returns. The tougher decision is whether to replace a retail point of sale system that is not an obvious liability. You should determine how your store retail point of sale systems fit into the strategic direction of your organization and how well-prepared they are for the future. Start with the following questions.
* Can you provide real-time access to sales information and real-time reporting with your retail point of sale system?
* Does your retail point of sale system let you access information needed from other systems in real time to improve customer service?
* Does your retail point of sale system let you save or increase sales by looking up inventory in other stores and channels?
* Does you retail point of sale system provide a wide variety of sophisticated pricing promotions?
* Does your retail point of sale system provide multiple channels for customers to purchase products and accept returns in any channel?
* Does your retail point of sale system recall customer purchase history for returns processing?
* Does your retail point of sale system guarantee that the price of a returned item was the price it was sold for and that it was only returned once?
* Does your retail point of sale system support gift cards and debit cards, and adapt quickly to new forms of payment?
If you answered “yes” to every question, then stop here and congratulate yourself. Your retail point of sale system is ready for the modern retail environment.
If you answered “no” to three or more questions, you should consider replacing your retail point of sale system. While your system may be functional, you are likely experiencing unnecessary costs and are not offering competitive customer service.
Real time is an over-hyped term, but the reality is that many workable retail point of sale systems cannot provide real-time access to information. A real-time retail point of sale system would enable many of the capabilities mentioned above.
The inability to see sales or accurate inventory levels in real time can be the difference between success and failure in retail. Today’s customer has many choices. The only way to truly compete is to have exactly the right items in stock at the right price or be able to quickly find these items and have them delivered to the shopper. If you can’t, you may lose not only that sale, but also that customer–for life.
Access to real-time information can enable you to see how your stores are performing, measure the effectiveness of promotions, detect out-of-stocks before they happen, and provide critical customer and transaction history for accurate returns and improved customer service. Even if your retail point of sale system seems to be humming along fine, if you are not real-time enabled, you may be running out of time.