Integrated EPoS and Ecommerce systems are now a standard requirement for modern retailers. The only way to run a business that sells in store and online, or online across multiple websites is to integrate the management of products and orders in one EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) and Ecommerce system that includes stock control and a centralised customer database.
The key features of an EPoS eCommerce system is as follows:
- Stock control with real time information flowing through shop and websites
- EPoS till functions
- Order Management in store and online
- Replenishment and reordering facilities
- Simple product management across epos and ecommerce sales channels
- Single cutomer database with loyalty programs across all channels
- Central fulfilment warehousing solution
Using the system for improved performance
The huge growth in internet sales, increased competition and tougher times on the high street has driven traditional retailers t0 re-look at their businesses. How can independent retailers make a reasonable profit these days? Well ther answer lies in understanding where customers buy and in ensuring the business is as efficient as possible.
The DTI’s Best Practice Report describes how best practice in retail is about increasing productivity. Productivity is the measure of making more profit from the same resources. The bottom line is that improvements in productivity will improve your profitability. And there appears to be room for improvement as recent figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showing that retail productivity in the UK has reduced significantly against the US since the 1990’s. The DTI’s report outlines three main functions to improve productivity:
1. Measuring how well your business is performing.
2. Seeing where you need to improve and doing something about it.
3. Learning from how others have done it.
But how do you actually carry out these three activities? Well, technology can help enormously, providing it is fit for purpose. The DTI state; “The potential of technology to cut costs and increase sales and productivity is extraordinary.”
Intelligent Retail produce computer EPoS eCommerce systems focussed on helping independent retailers become more productive, but also to help them access new customer segments. Connect is a solution specifically designed for independent retailers.
David Mackley, Managing Director: “Implementing our system has three development phases. Firstly we can dramatically improve much of the day to day process such as stock replenishment. This saves time for more productive activities. Secondly our Flight Deck is used for instant management information to save money on stock or track how well sales assistants are doing across the EPoS eCommerce system. Thirdly we help retailers access new customers through total integration with the internet, eBay and mail order facilities.”
“Successful companies don’t stand still, they’re always looking for ways to improve.” (DTI, Best Practice Report).
Fundamentally the EPoS eCommerce system addresses all three of the DTI best practice recommendations. The system not only lets you measure business performance, it also has built-in functions to help you do something about it. It is developed through learning how others shops run their businesses, and whilst this is adaptable, the premise is based on best practice.
Intelligent Retail has taken the philosophy of designing the Connect EPoS eCommerce system around the specific needs and abilities of retail users and requirements of the end consumers. The system has had huge success in the Independent t Retail Sector.
“In developing the product we found it vital to achieve ultimate simplicity. Retailers do not want to learn about computers, nor should they, they want to use a tool that makes them more money and enjoy their business. So not only did we make the screens appealing, we used the latest smart-client technology to build it, creating a feature rich product that is very robust. “
Intelligent Retail has developed ‘One-Click’ technology which is used throughout the EPoS eCommerce System. Putting items from stock onto your website is just a click away, so is stock replenishment and of course your management information via ‘Flight Deck’. We have created a visual stock management system, you don’t get long complicated lists of stock, you get a simple stock tree.
So what makes it different for UK retailers? Well there are many areas, here are a few of those in the Homeware Connect solution designed for furniture and homeware retailers. See the Intelligent Retail website for other sectors the company has designed a Connect eCommerce and EPoS solution for.
1. Delivery direct to customer
Few customers ordering larger items wish to take them away immediately. Additionally, few retailers carry stock of all lines, with colour combinations and model options for any particular range, home delivery is a must.
• Homeware Connect manages the process flow. It allows the retailer to print a receipt for all items purchased. Then an order can be printed for the supplier, with all the customer’s delivery details.
• Customers can pay in full up front or pay a deposit as a downpayment.
• Balance payments can be made by coming into the shop with the receipt, paying via telephone or even over the internet.
2. In store kiosk – broaden your selection
Expand shop floor space; virtually. Using cost effective kiosks, retailers can multiply their range on show. Customers can select from a wider range of models, colours and fabrics using simple touch screen technology.
The kiosk is fully linked to stock, continuously updated as stock changes. So simple to update new products using One-Click©. Orders can be sent to the till immediately, or payment accepted directly from credit card.
3. Website engine offers a completely fresh browser experience
When looking for furniture, buyers often want to look at categories that are linked together. For example selecting a number of items from a suite range. Choices include chair types, colours and fabrics. All need to be made easily available with the customer encouraged to select items and buy simply and quickly.
The integrated eCommerce website, driven by the Intelligent Retail EPoS engine, does all of this. It is constantly updated with the latest stock position. Internet orders are sent directly to the warehouse or the till as a ‘to do’ item so that the order can be efficiently dealt with by existing staff. The retailer can choose any look and feel for their website, the engine simply manages the product side.
4. Full eBay EPoS and eCommerce Integration
Innovation makes eBay more accessible. eBay accounts for about a third of all eCommerce in the UK [Retail Week]. Whilst more retailers are looking to their own websites for expansion, few make full use of this internet auction site. Giftware Connect, the computer system just for gift shops is now an eBay approved application and allows users to send items from stock straight into eBay with one click. David Mackley Managing Director said, “This exciting resource allows giftware retailers to shift old stock very efficiently without having to grapple with the eBay interface at all. It has been a major hit with retailers.”