Priming the Point-of-Sale Pump
If all your POS system does is take various forms of payment and print receipts, you are in the wrong position. POS today must be the epicenter and tied directly in with your marketing and loyalty programs, and also serve as the font of most critical information for driving, at least to a significant extent, internal and external business operations and decision-making.
That was the loud and clear message delivered by Orlando “Butch” Jagoda, CIO, Helzberg Diamonds during TOPSS in Las Vegas in October. TOPSS, the Technology & Operations Store Summit, is produced by Chain Store Age and Retail Technology Quarterly. “Sometimes IT can out-stage the business needs, and you always have to be careful not to do that. But with POS, it is extremely important that it be services-oriented in nature. The POS must offer value and be part of the customer-loyalty offering.
“In selling diamonds, for example, there is a complex series of items that must be kept track of—trade-ins, repairs, special orders, etc. It is not just about smiling and selling. The POS plays an immensely important business function for us,” Jagoda said.
On the technical side, he added, there are quite a few new and innovative solutions coming onto the market. The question retailers must ask is, ‘“What is the opportunity there for you?” Helzberg Diamonds has been partnering with Micros for much of its POS needs for some 10 years, he noted.
Sharing the stage with Jagoda was Chaz Napoli, COO, Micros Retail, who noted that now is a turning point for many retailers in terms of upgrading their POS systems. With the advanced functions that can now be embedded and integrated into the front end and that offer enormous opportunities, retailers must really do their homework and make the right choice to gain the greatest advantage.
“There are many Tier 1 companies that skipped a generation and are still running in a client-server type operating environment. They may have installed systems in the 1980s and decided to not invest again in the 1990s. But they cannot afford to skip a second generation” of POS systems, Napoli said.
“There are also a lot of retailers such as Helzberg Diamonds, that did invest in POS in the 1990s but now are looking for the flexibility to work XML, function on a multi-national level, and allow the company to work with partners but also be in position to take more control and be in front of issues such as PCI,” he said.
Jagoda added that Helzberg is in a low-turn business, and thus it is even more important for the retailer to leverage innovation and make the right investments. “Business is conducted in the store, and that is where our assets are—in communications and in a superior buying experience. That is what customers expect of us.”