Repeat All-In-One POS Sales
A VARâ€™s $30,000 install for an area Goodwill store leads to work for 16 additional Goodwill stores.
What makes a successful POS (point of sale) VAR? Is it hard work? Constant learning? Dumb luck? If you were to read an assortment of Business Solutions articles, you'd notice some recurring traits of what makes a successful VAR. One is finding a niche and fulfilling the needs present within it. A good example of niche expertise can be seen in a recent installation by VAR ThinkSmart at a Goodwill store.
Prior to ThinkSmart's POS hardware and software installation, the Goodwill store was using antiquated POS hardware. In addition, since the Goodwill store sells used merchandise that's not always clean, the store itself is prone to have more loose fibers and dirt than stores selling new merchandise. This led to a host of problems with the POS hardware. Also, the printers used for check validation commonly malfunctioned, and the keyboards were jamming from dirt and years of use. On the software side, the antiquated registers weren't capable of delivering adequate end-of-day reports to Goodwill headquarters. The Goodwill store decided to replace its POS system and began researching the solutions of various VARs.
What Volume Of Usage Can Your All-In-One POS Terminal Withstand?
When creating its proposal for a new solution, ThinkSmart looked at a few hardware choices. However, due to the volume of transactions performed at the Goodwill store, the VAR's choices were somewhat limited. "We wanted to use fanless touch computers to avoid future problems with dust, but the stores do too much volume," says Michael Parker, CEO of ThinkSmart. "Research showed us that the store peaked at 900 transactions per register a day. Typical retailers might have 300 transactions a day. Therefore, we decided to go with a Pentium-based PartnerTech PT-8800 to cope with the volume." When selecting the type of touch technology for the solution, ThinkSmart opted for a capacitive screen on the PT-8800s. "I recommend capacitive touch whenever there's going to be a lot of use of the touch screen," says Parker. "I was originally sold on the merits of capacitive technology when I pulled out five-year-old touch terminals from a cafeteria that does about 2,000 transactions a day. There was no visible wear on the screens." Other hardware included an HP PC for back office reporting, six Epson TM6000 multifunction printers, six M-S Cash Drawer cash drawers, and a 3Com networking switch to tie all POS terminals into the back office PC.
For software, ThinkSmart recommended its own HRL application. The software was configured to match the keyboard layout the Goodwill staff was used to using. ThinkSmart also performed some other software customizations to accommodate the needs of the Goodwill store. For instance, Parker explains that some customers make large purchases from the Goodwill store and try to sell the clothing on eBay. If the clothing doesn't sell in a week, customers return the clothing. With the old system, returns took a long time due to variable reductions for each item. "With our software, we added unique bar codes at the bottom of the receipt, which can be used to access the transaction history and return specific items with reductions handled automatically," says Parker.
Another VAR from outside the state offered a quote containing different hardware and software. "One reason we got the job was because our product could be configured to look similar to what their existing hardware looked like," says Parker. "Secondly, we were local and could provide on-site support." The complete installation cost the store $30,000.
Since completing the installation, the Goodwill store now has the reporting capabilities it needed. In addition, the store isn't encountering the hardware malfunctions it once did. ThinkSmart has since performed POS upgrades for two more Goodwill stores in its area. By the end of 2008, the VAR plans to complete similar upgrades for another 14 Goodwill stores and also looks to market to retailers outside its region. With these new store opportunities, the VAR expects to increase revenue by 10% in 2008.