Pole Display Installation Opens Door To Outlet Store Market
Thanks to a vendor lead, point of sale systems integrator lands a six-store rollout in a growing niche market.
"The Casio stores are typical of outlet stores," says Martin. "The stores sell ‘seconds,' items such as calculators that are being replaced by the next-generation models. The stores also sell overruns - an excess of products in inventory." Martin is quick to point out that outlet stores differ from retail chain stores. "A regional chain, for example, will open stores in a certain geographic location," says Martin. "Outlet center developers don't build based on geography. Their operations are more far-flung." Casio's outlet stores are in Tempe, AZ; Ontario, CA; Orlando, FL; Las Vegas (two locations); and Kenosha, WI.
Outlet Stores: A $20 Billion Market By The Year 2000
The location of outlet centers is determined by the following criteria: a large regional population base located between two major urban centers, near tourist destinations, 25 miles away from a major mall. The site is preferably adjacent to an interstate highway with high traffic volume, easy access, and good visibility. This is according to an outlet shopping report, October 1997, from the University of Wisconsin - Cooperative Extension, Center for Community Economic Development.
The report also states that outlet center sales are expected to top $20 billion by the year 2000, thanks to brand-conscious, bargain-oriented shoppers. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Outlet Retail Merchants' Association, in 1997 there were 311 outlet centers in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the centers were developed by only 10 companies, the largest being the Mills Corporation. Martin says aligning with developers is key to succeeding in the outlet market. He attends trade shows geared toward outlet mall developers, and he has had several referrals since the Casio installation.
Pole Display Interface Is Key To System's Success
Regarding the POS installation, Casio supplied its own POS software, computers, and power protection devices. Martin supplied the remaining system components through ARCO Distributors. These components included EMAX International pole displays, Ithaca Peripheral receipt printers, PSC scanners, Pioneer keyboards, and BOCA modems. Martin integrated ICVerify credit card authorization software with Casio's POS software. "I chose EMAX pole displays because they had the high-tech look Casio wanted," explains Martin. "More importantly, the displays interfaced with the other components and the software. The EMAX standard pole displays also offer bright, large-sized characters that are easy to read. The displays can be adjusted for various heights, depending on the needs of the stores."
Overall, the installation - including networking all six stores - went smoothly, says Martin. "The only bump we ran into was initially trying a single-user version of ICVerify software. We replaced it with a network version, and it's fine now."
Casio is currently upgrading the system to track inventory and interface with the headquarters location. "Casio also sells merchandise from its warehouse in Dover, NJ," says Martin. "Once or twice a year, Casio employees can buy discounted products from the warehouse. We're adding POS stations in the warehouse to facilitate those sales as well."
The success of the Casio installation has led to new business for Martin, including a rollout in 23 gift shops in the Venetian Hotel (Las Vegas). Martin doesn't shop for business; business shops for Martin.