Stores - September 2006 - (Page 58)

POS SYSTEMS Ring in the New I Investing in a new POS system can pay off BY JENNIFER KOROLISHIN f retail technology were a living, breathing creature, the point-of-sale sys- cery stores purchasing new POS sys- tem would be the heart beating at its core. POS systems have evolved tems, as well as department stores, from simple cash registers to become the center of employee communi- Buzek says. Those are two of the seg- cation, customer relations, inventory management and data collection. ments that have been hit hardest by the B u t POS systems don't last forever, and as technology advances, many Wal-Marts and Targets of the world. retailers are finding it's time to look for a new solution that can accommodate They also have the highest number of a wide variety of operational needs. POS terminals and the oldest systems out there. Finding the right POS system can be up sales. Now it's a central interface to As retailers consider new POS sys- tricky, particularly for retailers that the customer, and a central point of tems, they're purchasing hardware and haven't purchased one in awhile. communication with the employee. software from separate vendors to cre- Ten or 12 years ago, communication The POS system tracks time and at- ate a customized system that's less cost- between the typical department store tendance, it's a labor-scheduling device, ly and more flexible. and its home office consisted of night- it's an employee portal, it provides in- Previous systems were proprietary in ly polling via a dial-up modem, and it ventory visibility and cross-channel inte- nature, Buzek says. Now you can would send up sales and other data for gration, and it's a CRM loyalty termi- choose NCR software and IBM hard- the day, says Greg Buzek, founder and nal, Buzek says. ware or any other combination and it's Why replace your POS? president of IHL Consulting Group. not a problem. Open standards have Now it's instantaneous. Price changes created a lot more flexibility, so you can are made on the fly. Every 15 minutes, Outdated POS systems eventually be- choose the best-in-class software and the home office is looking at data from come too costly to maintain and the ca- what you consider to be the best-in-class the stores, deciding to lower the price pabilities become too limited. Today, re- hardware. across the chain on an item that isn't sell- tailers expect the POS system to support Another factor retailers should consid- ing fast enough, and boom, it's done. critical functions, including speed of er when purchasing a new POS system M a j o r concerns like price s e r v i c e , multiple payment options, is its ability to handle future upgrades haven't changed, and there are new fac- multi-channel sales and visibility of in- and advances in technology. ventory throughout the supply chain. tors to consider. Most retailers expect a new POS sys- Certain retail verticals are more likely T h e biggest single thing that's tem to last as long as their current one to be looking for a new POS system changed is the impact of networking did, Buzek says. That means you today. Specialty retailers tend toward a technology, the Internet, and data min- want to select a vendor that you expect shorter POS lifespan of around three ing and what you can do with the data, is going to be in business in 10 years Buzek says. The integration and inven- years, whereas grocery or department which narrows it down to vendors that tory visibility that's there is new. The stores may use the same system for up to have already been in business awhile. last time many retailers went shopping, 12 years. While investing in a new POS system they were basically buying POS to ring We're seeing a spike right now in gro- is typically a large capital expenditure that requires a great deal of planning, in- Purchasing a POS System? Consider: stallation and training time, it's usually Price 1. a wise investment. It's really a terrific time to replace Capabilities and flexibility 2. your POS system, Buzek says. You're System's fit with existing technologies 3. in a world that's getting increasingly competitive and where customer knowl- Warranties, support and service options 4. edge, access and convenience are more Vendor reliability and longevity 5. and more important. If your POS sys- tem can't support that, you're really at a StORES disadvantage. 58 S TO R E S / SEPTEMBER 2006 W W W. S TO R E S . O R G http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Stores - September 2006

Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
NRF News
Retail People
Cover Story: Sights Set on the Subcontinent
Data Management
In-Store Applications
Real Estate
Human Resources
POS Systems
System Security
Asset Management
In-Store Promotion
Call Centers
Order Fulfillment
Loeb Retail Letter
ARTS Update
Workplace Law
Advertisers Index
Company Index
Retail Profit Scoreboard
Retail Industry Calendar

Stores - September 2006