WHY I NEED A
COMPUTER POINT OF SALE.
Most retailers are beginning to employ quality retail management systems
in their operations, and are seeing some very fast benefits: return on investment in as
little as six months and at least a 10 percent boost to their bottom lines.
According to the J.C. Williams Group, retailers spend an average one to two percent of
sales on retail information systems. For example, a retailer with $300,000 in annual sales
should spend about $30,000 over five years on its system, and such a retailer could
realize hundreds of dollars a month in extra income as a result.
Just installing a retail management system imposes certain controls on your business that
improve profitability. Spending the time to learn and take advantage of its many
capabilities brings even more. For example:
- Cutting shrinkage: Balancing your drawers and other daily procedures help you
discover some of the sources of shrinkage, such as errors and theft. But with its detailed
electronic journals, date/time stamps and other security features, a retail management
system can provide far more details about the "exceptions" to normal procedures
than a non computerized cash register or manual system ever could, helping you isolate and
address these problems.
- Better inventory control: Paper-based inventory methods are subject to error and
take time to compile and search through. With a retail management system you can instantly
know what's in stock at any moment, and set reorder points for every SKU so the system
automatically generates a purchase order when that item count is reached. You can also
print out inventory reports to enable physical inventory of the store.
- Streamlined receiving: Merchandise that sits in your backroom while you search
through paperwork can't earn you any money. With a retail management system, you can
receive using the system's purchase orders, and tell the system to automatically generate
the exact number of bar coded labels needed for each item. Your staff can get those items
out onto the selling floor sooner.
- Targeted customer promotion: Is a food processor manufacturer offering special
discounts for add-on tools? Before, you set up a display and hoped. With many retail
management systems, you can use its customer database to print out a list of everyone who
has purchased that brand processor from you for a personalized mailing. Or, generate a
list of your top spenders and send them a special "buy two, get one" offer.
- More accurate payroll: It takes time to add up time cards, and often you know
that "9 to 3" shift was really 9:23 to 2:48. You can use your retail management
system for employee check in/out. Then it can automatically calculate time worked
including overtime and other considerations, and send the data straight to payroll for
- Complex commissions: If you pay commissions, the retail management system can
track a number of commission levels and SPIFs and feed them into payroll calculations. You
can even create reports on who is selling what, such things as gross margins per employee.
- Frequent shopper tracking: Without a retail management system, offering anything
more than a customer "punch" card meant too much paperwork. But with a system
doing the work for you, you can manage a complex program, such as different prices for
different customer groups. Reporting lets you instantly view customer buying history.
- Accurate billing: Manually calculating a customer'smonthly balance can lead to
embarrassing errors. A retail management system can generate billing quickly and
accurately. Some systems even post charges instantly instead of waiting until the end of
- Foolproof closing: Simply put, end of day closing is much faster, even than an
electronic cash register. Most systems will print a form showing shorts and overs, and
even print out a bank deposit slip for you.
- Incremental sales: You can program many systems to display on the screen a prompt
for clerks to suggest "film to go with a camera," or warn "this customer
has a bad check in this store. Cash only." These prompts make your staff better
salespeople, and cuts new clerk training time.
- Reports galore: Rather than just relying on gut feelings and simple transaction
logs to gauge your business, you can use a retail management systems to generate all kinds
of report: department sales analysis, exception reports, customer sales analysis, purchase
analysis, open-to-buy reports. Many systems also allow you to export data to a different
report writing system, if that's what you prefer.
- Security: While some retailers feel nothing beats a traditional cash register for
security, retail management systems are also heavily secure. You can block clerks from
looking at your store sales and any other data or accessing modules or programs you don't
want them to use.And a quality system will recover completely after a power outage, so you
don't lose any sales information.
Of course, a retail management system doesn't do this all by itself. It takes
commitment, not just of the dollars required (which
you'll quickly recover) but of the time and resources to learn about
and use your new system. First make sure you select a quality system that has all the
functionality you need. Then invest the time you once spent drowning in paper to making
use of your new system, and you'll soon enjoy increased margins, sales and profits.