New Windows PC-based POS system software enables a chain of 400 retail stores to collect customer information and track its sales and inventory.
Business Solutions, March 1998
The Need To Upgrade POS Systems
"Dylex wanted to upgrade all of its POS systems in the chain," explains Semel. Dylex operates its 400 stores under five divisions. Four of these divisions operate clothing stores, while a fifth operates discount stores. According to Semel, all the stores in each division were using a combination of systems including electronic cash registers and proprietary systems. There was not a cohesive system in place that tied the stores, or the divisions, together, Semel explains. Dylex wanted to update its POS technology for two main reasons. The first reason was to collect customer data, such as buying preferences, at the point of sale. For example, one Dylex division operates upscale men's clothing stores. Dylex wanted these sales associates to track the men's clothing store customers by their purchases and to keep notes about their preferences in a permanent file. Dylex management also wanted POS software to help track each division's sales and inventory, as well as manage employee time and attendance. Datavantage's Store 21 software had the capabilities Dylex needed.
Software Makes The Sale
Store 21 is a comprehensive POS system that handles retail front office needs as well as back office functions. It features customer profiling and item locating capabilities. Datavantage demonstrated its Store 21 POS software and hardware components for Dylex management in Toronto. Dylex representatives also came to Cleveland to visit Datavantage for additional demonstrations before making a decision. Semel says Dylex chose Datavantage because of the Store21 software capabilities and the service and training the company offered. The sales cycle took approximately seven months, says Semel.
The Thrifty store division was the first to install the new POS systems. These stores sell casual clothing geared to customers aged 15 - 22. Datavantage piloted the system at three Thrifty stores. To date, the system has been installed in 30 of Thrifty's 110 stores.
The system components included: Cherry keyboard, Store21 POS software, ICL bar code scanner and cash drawer, Ithaca receipt printer, IBM CPU and monitor, and an Hewlett Packard report printer. Semel points out that the Cherry keyboard was chosen because it combines a built-in magnetic stripe reader and a port for attaching a scanner. This eliminated the need to purchase magnetic stripe readers separately, freed up ports on the CPU for other devices and conserves counter space, says Semel.
Service And Training
Datavantage provides the Thrifty stores with 24-hour help desk support, software maintenance and data communication services (moving data from the stores to headquarters). Dylex and Datavantage chose to service the POS hardware using Dylex's existing service providers because of their proximity to the Thrifty stores.
Training on the new system began prior to the installation at a centralized training site, says Larry Lamb, senior project consultant for Datavantage. Thrifty's store managers and other key store personnel trained in small groups for eight hours. "We trained the managers to be able to train their employees," explains Lamb.
Since the new POS systems replaced the systems Dylex had been using, no integration with existing systems was required, Lamb says. Dylex required software modification to meet the needs of doing business in Canada, such as currency exchange.
POS Systems Will Connect All Stores
According to Semel, the installation of Store 21 software and POS hardware at the first 30 Thrifty stores has been successful. Datavantage is continuing to install systems in the remaining 80 Thrifty stores. Dylex is planning to install the Store 21 software and POS hardware in its other stores throughout Canada, division by division during the next year.