Story image

From the horses mouth

01 May 10

Taking money for goods or services rendered is the fundamental purpose of retailing. Retailers purchase stock that they think the customer will want to buy, they add a margin to the price they paid and then try to make the sale.

It all sounds very easy, and at this simplest level one could argue that we have made a simple process complex. However, if retailers think beyond this single transaction and consider the longer-term strategy of retail, they’ll realise that they need to get that customer back into the store again. To do this they need to apply some science to their goods-buying strategy; they need to have the right stock at the right time in the right place, and they need to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay. They also need to do all of this in the most efficient way to save the customer time and the business unnecessary costs.

The place to gather the information that enables retailers to make all of these decisions is at the point of sale. This is where technology has taken us from a single-transaction way of viewing things to a whole-of-business mindset. Retailers can gather information to improve the quality of the decisions they make. Retail has moved from being an art to a science. Sure, there is still a need for the ‘creative’ buyer and the ‘creative’ store manager, but they still need to consider the facts: the science behind the creativity.

With the right technology at the point of sale, even the smallest retailer can gather vast amounts of information to assist their decision-making process. The real trick is to generate information they need and can use – you don’t want to produce great piles of information that is interesting but unhelpful in the decision-making process.

Some examples of what the integrated system can do are as follows:

  1. Aid stock purchasing and enable the business to run with sufficient stock – not over-stocked or under-stocked.

  2. The buying process for regular items can be automated so that as the stock sells, the repeat orders are automatically lodged with the suppliers.

  3. The number of staff needed by hour of day and by day of week can be monitored.

  4. Customer details can be captured; who is shopping at the store, whether they are new or regulars, and their sales history, etc.

  5. The price and margin can be monitored.

  6. Performance ratings of staff are possible by knowing which staff member completed the sale.

  7. Customer reward programmes can be run at the point of sale.

  8. And, of course, the point of sale technology transfers the money from the customer’s account to that of the retailer!

It’s all very clever and it is all available to everyone – from the largest chain to the owner-operator type.

If you are in the business of selling point of sale equipment, it is not about the technology – it is about the benefit to the retailer. It is not about having an integrated stock feature – it’s about minimising stock levels without running out of stock completely. Retailers are less interested in what the system can do and more interested in the benefits they will derive. Sell to them in the language of retail, not the language of technology.