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POS must function alongside your business operation

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Keith_Fenner.jpgKeith Fenner, Vice President: Strategic Sales, Softline Accpac, says that inventory management, timeliness of information and providing superior customer service are amongst the top challenges in retail today. Inventory is a retailer’s most expensive asset, and the goal is to turn it as often as possible. However, retailers operating without integrated front-of-store and back-office systems cannot achieve visibility into their inventory in real time and will find it challenging to manage it efficiently and effectively.

Related to inventory management is reporting. Many retailers lack the tools and integrated systems to quickly access accurate metrics, such as average number of items per ticket and average revenue per transaction. Timeliness of information is another big issue. How quickly a retailer receives information determines how soon they can react. Having access to real-time retail information allows managers to make informed decisions that can affect the success of store operations. Greater integration from the front of store to the back office brings benefits back to the customer; a large part of the “customer experience” is simply having the right inventory in stock.

“Understanding and streamlining Point of Sale (POS) data improves your internal business efficiencies. Companies can now access a single, integrated area of information and are freed up to actually analyse data rather than spend their day gathering data and pulling together the same reports over and over again. In addition, it makes you smarter about your business. An integrated solution provides you with faster, more accurate access to information,” Fenner says.

He adds that companies striving to improve their retailer relationships and internal business efficiencies are quickly seeing the benefit and realising the strategic value POS data has in improving the bottom line. There has been a definite mind shift as more and more retailers understand the value of providing POS data to their vendors. In the past, they didn’t want to share this information. However, the more the manufacturers and distributors know about their product movement, their customer’s actions, the effectiveness of promotions and overall sales, the more value they can bring to the retailers.

As many POS systems are still stand-alone, there is currently a strong focus on integration as well as offline and online systems, along with complete management over stock in multiple branches. Vendors, such as Softline ACCPAC, have extended ERP to the till, enabling the retailer to operate the way they want to in terms of promotions and discounts that typically fall outside of ERP. They are also providing full integration to CRM for loyalty and permission-based e-marketing.

Managing information effectively is becoming a key factor and technology the major differentiator, which is why integrating back-end and front-end operations is the key to a successful business model, Fenner says. “While it was once considered a luxury, the ability to evaluate POS data is vital in today’s business environment. In the past, many companies used their shipment or order information to identify how they were selling, but today it critical to know when products are selling, which products are selling and where they are selling.”

Keith Fenner,
Vice President: Strategic Sales,
Softline Accpac

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