IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality


What is an EPOS System?
  • 16 Jul 2018
What is EPOS? (Electronic Point of Sale)
What is an EPOS System? What is EPOS? How do I implement an EPOS system? How can I support my EPOS system? What is the benefit of an EPOS system? What does EPOS stand for? What does EPOS do? Read on to find out more about the benefits an intelligent EPOS system can bring to your retail business: we provide Help Desk services that can support your EPOS system. Keeping any retail business up to date and embracing new technology and ways of working is vital to success. In a competitive marketplace, those not constantly looking for ways to improve their working practices are often left behind by rivals who are doing so. An Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system is something that many are looking towards as one such way of becoming more efficient and cost-effective. Inevitably with any piece of technology, there will be occasions where you need help and support to ensure your EPOS system is working sufficiently and to the best of its ability; to this end there are many EPOS helpdesk services available to retailers to ensure your EPOS system doesn’t let you down. What is an EPOS system? An EPOS system is essentially an update of the classic ‘checkout till’, bringing in advanced and sophisticated features suitable for a modern retail environment. As well as recording what sales have been made, EPOS systems can take information and data and use it to create reports that can help retailers refine and adapt their business approaches. Other features can also be included, with the ability to incorporate inventory management, staff planning and loyalty schemes. What does an EPOS system do? As mentioned above, an EPOS system is capable of performing many different tasks. The ability it has to store and process information is a big part of its importance, as said information can be used to benefit a business in whatever way they see fit. It performs the functions one might associate with a checkout, such as the ability to print out receipts, but adds the capability to manage and print any vouchers or promotional offers that may be desired to attract repeat custom. An EPOS system also benefits from connectivity that can see it linked up to existing infrastructure within the retail environment. A retailer’s website can be connected, and information communicated between the two, as can different terminals, giving the opportunity for real-time stock availability to be obtained. How does an EPOS system work? To the casual observer an EPOS system very much resembles a checkout till; all the components you would expect to find there are contained. A cash draw, keypad, chip and pin facility and customer display can all be present, as well as barcode scanners. A screen will be visible that resembles that found on a touchscreen computer, and is used for the manual inputting of payments and data. There are additional hardware extras that can push an EPOS system further, and add value. Printers can be connected either by cables…
Read more
Purchase Order Management
  • 11 Jun 2018
Purchase Order Management Definition
Purchase Order Management: Retail Definitions Purchase Order Management in retail. What is PO management? How do I implement automatic PO creation? How can I improve my purchase order management? How to improve the processing of purchase orders? How do I raise purchase orders in retail? Can I have flexible purchase orders in retail? What is Purchase Order Management Purchase order management is a standard part of any retail business; buying teams create purchase orders to place and manage orders with chosen suppliers. As well as being the source of financial commitment information, purchase order management systems can also provide centralised visibility over order status. Being able to view the status of all global orders in one location is a key benefit of automating the purchase order process. Teams across the business can view important moments in the PO process, for example which purchase orders have been approved and rejected, and which purchase orders have been sent. Parameters can also be set within the system for workflow approvals, and financial budgets set for buyers to prevent overspending. Purchase order management facilitates this level of accuracy and authority. Purchase order management also ensures that retailers maintain an audit trail, which can support better supplier relationships with increased transparency. Increased flexibility with suppliers is also facilitated by a purchase order management system, supporting flexible purchase orders: there is no need to re-raise orders for incomplete deliveries, as the system permits receipt of additional deliveries. Multi-drop purchase orders allow larger commitments to be made with suppliers, with stock is phased into the business to suit requirements. Whilst flexible, these processes exert a level of control over the supplier relationship. As we move into the era of automation, automatic purchase order creation defaults can be set by user to speed up purchase order processing, as well as a copy function for faster processing of similar purchase orders. Increasing efficiencies is the top of most retailers’ agendas. Retail Assist’s purchase order management solution has been developed for today’s dynamic omnichannel environment, and offers many benefits, including: Budgetary Control: Minimise financial risk with authoritative (hierarchical approval) and monetary (buying budgets) parameters. Complete landed costs, including the product as well as freight and duty, means retailers can see the full impact of purchasing decisions before approval. Automated PO processing: A centralised system provides the ability to share purchase order templates for quicker processing, and built-in approval workflows means that purchase orders are verified more efficiently. Streamline communications: All purchasing documents are centralised in one location, accessible from anywhere. This makes purchase order referencing far less painful, especially for supplier relationships. If you want to know more about Retail Assist’s Purchase Order Management Solution, get in touch here, email or call 0115 9042777. …
Read more
Stock Replenishment
  • 29 May 2018
What is Stock Replenishment?
What is Stock Replenishment? Stock Replenishment in retail. What is stock replenishment? How do I implement auto replenishment? How can I improve my stock replenishment? What is the benefit of auto replenishment? Read on to find out more about the most profitable replenishment solution for omnichannel retailing. Stock Replenishment Definition Stock replenishment is a standard retail practice, to ensure that the right products are in the best place, at the optimum quantity. Retailers can automate replenishment using intelligent algorithms, which can be particularly beneficial during promotional or seasonal events. Replenishment is essential to avoid stock-outs. Can you distribute stock between your warehouse and stores, dynamically, and with 100% accuracy? That’s the requirement for every modern retailer today, operating with an omnichannel mentality, especially during peak periods and promotions. Improving your replenishment processes can support this. Retailers must be able to move stock quickly between different locations, such as stores, concessions and franchises, and partners, whilst also maintaining healthy warehouse stock for ecommerce orders. A central stock pool facilitates this flexibility. Increased speed to sell is just one of the benefits of optimum stock replenishment, ensuring that the customer is delivered the item that they demand, in increasingly fast timescales. Dependable automated replenishment, reducing the possibility of stock-outs, improves the customer experience by ensuring that products are more readily available across all channels, avoiding the dreaded “out of stock”. Stock replenishment isn’t just a process: analytically speaking, it can also help retailers to forecast more accurately with complete visibility of their global inventory and demand. Performance at SKU/Site level is automatically reviewed and ideal stock levels can be increased or decreased accordingly, enabling more full price items to be sold. Changes to future stock levels can also be forecast and systemically defined prior to specific activity e.g. promotional events.  Retail Assist’s auto replenishment solution has been developed for today’s dynamic omnichannel environment, and offers many benefits, including: Optimised sales: Order the right amount of product, to be delivered at the correct time, to the best place. Better stock replenishment maintains optimum inventory levels on all products so that you can sell more effectively where and when it is needed. Reduced mark-downs: Optimised stock levels allow you to fulfil your customer demand with fewer stock outs. With a greater sell through of full priced stock and a reduced rate of markdown, margins are protected and profits soar. Maximise stock turn: Confidently fulfil customer demands without inflating your levels of inventory, preventing over and under stocking, both of which damage business profitability. To find out more about replenishment visit our replenishment webpage here. Retail Assist offers 21 omnichannel scenarios for flexible and profitable use of your stock, e.g. Ship-from-Store, Deliver to address, click-and-collect. Want to invest in your retail IT infrastructure with improved store replenishment? Make an enquiry by filling out our quick form or email for one of our experts to get in touch with you. If you need to know more about key retail terms then look at our other…
Read more
product information management system
  • 14 May 2018
Retail Definitions: What is PIM?
What is PIM? What is PIM? How do I implement a PIM? How can I improve my retail PIM? What is the benefit of PIM? What does PIM stand for? Read on to find out more about the most profitable product management solution for the omnichannel world: we’re helping leading retail brands achieve this. PIM Definition Definition: PIM stands for Product Information Management, a software solution that helps a retailer manage its products via a centralised system. The number of contributing retail teams, and the varying detail they require surrounding the product, calls for a single system capable of unifying product information in one accurate, real-time view.  PIM benefits retailers in several ways. Firstly, it’s an efficient way to boost accuracy. In a given season, the average retailer introduces more than 60% new products to its inventory, with 20% errors due to duplicate information, which impacts operations as well as the customer experience. Add to this the need for retailers to react to market conditions: teams need to be able to modify and update pricing, descriptions and attributes, quickly and efficiently. Improving product attribution, especially online, captures sales that might otherwise have been lost by improving product visibility in the search function. When a customer begins a search, either broad or specific, online or offline, they expect to find the item they want, fast. Retailers that can deliver relevant results in a fraction of the time will succeed. As the shelf-life of retail products diminishes, with some having as little as 6-8 weeks on sale, creating and launching products must be accelerated in order to remain competitive. Industry analysts have reported that retailers with shorter supply chain lead times experience much greater sales growth (Goldman Sachs, 2017). PIM can help introduce new products faster than the competition, meaning that customers demanding new trends are satisfied, improving brand loyalty, and increasing sales growth. Retail Assist’s supply chain software has been developed for today’s dynamic omnichannel environment with the following points in mind; Thinking across channels. If product attributes are not provided in the correct format for different channel partners, your product will fall low in searches, decreasing brand visibility. PIM software removes the need for different systems for different channels, which makes the acceptance process easier to manage. Flexible attribution to suit the user. An ecommerce team uses product attributes to create trends and “stories”, which might display all items in a certain look. In the warehouse, operators have a better view over the items in the order if the product descriptions are relevant. Unique but consistent. Shared workflow processes within PIM allow the extended retail business and third parties to engage in the product enrichment process. Ensuring that this is centralised in one single format with no duplication is a key benefit of PIM.  To find out more about PIM download our free retail whitepaper here. If you have any further questions about ‘What is PIM’, or want to invest in your retail IT infrastructure, please get in touch with…
Read more
product information management
  • 16 Apr 2018
Purchase Order Management: Know What’s Where, When
What is a Purchase Order Management System? Installing and running an efficient, streamlined and dynamic process is undoubtedly the aim of any forward thinking retailer. A Purchase Order Management system should play a prominent role, facilitating accurate knowledge of what has been ordered, when it will be delivered and what needs to be re-ordered in a manner that is as easy as possible.   Accurate and transparent costs The biggest advantage of using a Purchase Order Management system is its financial impact. Expenses and costs can be better understood and therefore budgets managed confidently. Using the ability to auto calculate freight and duty (landed costs) means that full accuracy and transparency can be provided at the first stage. The capability to break down financial costings at the beginning of the purchase process rather than the end means that stock orders can be run based solely on whether they are financial profitable. This can also improve control over relationships with suppliers. More efficient deliveries Due to the fact that Merret‘s Purchase Order Management system has the ability to create flexible purchase orders, any incomplete deliveries that may be received are dealt with without needing manual input. Purchase orders can also be re-raised, and the system will allow receipt of additional deliveries. Multi-drop purchase orders are also possible, which means that forming large commitment agreements with suppliers can be achieved, bringing in many benefits. As the stock can be phased in to suit requirements, significant financial savings can be made by using this approach to purchasing. Safeguards Installing safeguards are part of a Purchase Order Management system, and can be customisable to allow for full flexibility. Removing financial commitment after a stated period is possible, as is keeping track of various outstanding balances; this prevents financial processes getting out of hand and maintains a better level of financial control. In another example, issues such as stock shortages in certain geographical locations or seasonal demand can be factored into the ordering process, and safeguarded against by a system that allows for buyers to build up product ranges in a structured manner. Enhanced knowledge of stock and suppliers Being aware and having detailed knowledge of any financial commitment on inventory can be achieved through a Purchase Order Management system.  Clear visibility can be provided on the present state of stock levels, reorder levels, available stock, and stock that is being held, meaning that shortages can be foreseen and prevented. Cost prices can also be viewed alongside sales prices, resulting in greater awareness of profit margins.   …
Read more
what is a WSSI
  • 25 Sep 2017
What is a WSSI
What is a WSSI? Breaking down retail terminology, this blog will explore the benefits of a WSSI: a standard merchandising reporting tool that plays a critical role in the day-to-day running of a retail business. WSSI stands for weekly sales, stock and intake data. As an application, it maximises sales by ensuring that stock levels are effectively controlled and optimised. A WSSI allows retailers to manage their inventory based on sales forecasting, actual sales made, and stock information. This helps the retailer determine how much stock is required and when, by generating what is known as Open to Buy. By measuring trading conditions and their impact on stock and sales, the WSSI can support accurate forecasting, and keep markdowns to a minimum. A standard WSSI will consist of sales, stock, purchase order data and more, and can be used in any order or combination that the user requires. Data is then divided into weeks, with each week displayed as a row or column of data. What to look for in a WSSI? For omnichannel retailers, it’s essential to use a WSSI that allows planning and trading at any level of your product hierarchy. It’s also beneficial if each level can operate independently of one another, with the ability to “roll up” lower levels of the hierarchy to see bigger picture. Easy analysis Whilst dealing with very complex information, one of the best attributes of any WSSI is powerful, rich functionality, with a simple, easy user interface. Ensure that “dimensions” can be dragged and dropped in any number or sequence, into and out of the display. Any system used should have a fully integrated export to Microsoft Excel – a “must have” for merchandisers.  This formats the data accordingly, and shows all the row labels and column headings automatically. Sales should further be automatically downloaded, and all plans updated without any need for IT intervention or user action. Can you also plan by different criteria? Planning by Seasonality, by Channel, or Key Lines, are all benefits of a effective WSSI. User adoption With any new system, it should be flexible and intuitive enough to accommodate varying data displays, whilst also being simple enough to adopt, administer, and implement. Offering a customisable view, once a user has defined a way of viewing the data, the same view can be adopted by other users. Users should have the ability to create as many WSSI templates as required, which can be for specific attributes, or different countries, for example. Powerful decision making Our partner’s industry leading Merchandise Planner tool includes Retail Value (Incl & Excl VAT), Cost, Units, Margin Value and Margin % for every data element, (e.g. sales, stock etc.), without the need to specify the necessary calculation or have separate data elements for each. Together with the ability to include Channel and Store plans as well as a traditional Product WSSI, this gives a more accurate, complete picture of performance from which better business decisions can be made for maximum profitability. Frustrated…
Read more
Merret Tablet Inventory
  • 18 Jan 2016
What is Ship from Store?
What is Ship from Store? How do I implement Ship from Store? What are the benefits of Ship from Store? Read on to find out more about the most profitable fulfilment method for the omnichannel world: we’re helping leading retail brands achieve this. Definition: Ship from Store is a fulfilment process, by which retailers use stock from their store estate to fulfil orders. As a truly omnichannel process, the orders might have come from any channel, for example the website. Fulfilling orders in this way makes the store into a virtual distribution hub. Ship from Store benefits retailers in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s an efficient way to use stock, by preventing stores from unprofitable stockholding. For example, your flagship store might sell out of the new range bestseller, whereas a smaller store could end up with a surplus that are difficult to sell. Rather than having to discount this stock, retailers can maximise full-price selling through using the store inventory to fulfil orders, rather than sourcing the same item from the Distribution Centre (DC). Using a retail stock management system, retailers can prevent frustrating web “out-of-stock” situations: just because an item might not be available in the DC, it might be hanging on a rail in-store, dressing a mannequin, or have been returned to a store. This captures sales that might otherwise have been lost. Using store inventory to fulfil web orders of products that are out of stock at Distribution Centres results in immediate revenue boosts of up to 10%-20% by making more inventory available for sale. Online sales at American Apparel have increased by 30% since they started using their stores as “backup fulfilment centres” (Kurt Salmon “Why Ship from Store”). Overall shipping costs for the retailer also experience a decrease, as dispatches from the DC reduce dramatically. In short, the store must become a critical part of retailers’ omnichannel processes. Ship from Store could increase sales by an average of 20%. For a £50 million turnover retailer, that would mean an extra £27,000 in sales every day (ecommerce Week). Furthermore, industry insiders see overall sales increases of 10-40%: circulating inventory within all channels increases margins by 1-3% whilst reducing the likelihood of inventory markdowns by 10-15%. (BirdDog “Benefits of having a Ship from Store Strategy”). We’ve worked hard on Ship from Store strategy, to engineer our solution with the following points in mind; Ensuring that the appropriate algorithms are in place to ship from the most appropriate store locations, to maintain stock availability at the most prominent and profitable stores, and source from the most viable locations. Additional load to the store must be appreciated. Ensure that staff are trained effectively and ready to cope with the potential demand placed on stores for picking, packing and despatching stock. Ensuring that stores embrace Ship from Store as a cultural change rather than see it as a hindrance. As such, procedures need to be in place to ensure that the store picking, packing and despatching the stock…
Read more
omnichannel supply chain
  • 11 May 2015
Retail Definitions: Omnichannel Supply Chain
During the last few years in retail, one term in particular has become dominant in the language of retail operations and supply chain functionality: omnichannel. But what is omnichannel retailing, what’s an omnichannel supply chain, and what are the benefits? This Retail Definitions blog will explain. Let’s start with a helpful graphic: What is omnichannel retailing? Omnichannel retailing is the new generation of cross-channel and multi-channel retail. Omnichannel retailers have a presence on several channels and platforms (i.e. brick-and-mortar stores, mobile, online, concession, catalogue etc.) and enable customers to transact, interact, and engage across channels simultaneously and interchangeably. Omnichannel, for example, gives customers the convenience and flexibility to purchase an item via their smartphone, selecting click-and-collect delivery to pick up the merchandise in-store, and afterwards process a return via the website. It’s important to note that omnichannel goes beyond a physical presence on multiple channels or platforms. Just because you have a website, a mobile app, and a physical store doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re an omnichannel retailer. The brand experience across channels must be seamless, enabling the consumer to shop the brand, not just the channel. What is an omnichannel supply chain? An omnichannel supply chain hinges on the use of a central stock pool to fulfil orders from all retail channels, including in-store, e-commerce and m-commerce, concessions and franchises, and telephone and catalogue. As in the graphic above, the central stock pool is at the heart of all operations. It’s a fully integrated, end-to-end solution, providing an accurate and comprehensive visibility of stock, enabling retailers to maximise trade across their customer facing systems. From ordering to fulfilment, as well as stock management and WSSI tools, a well-integrated omnichannel supply chain solution must have the capacity to manage all steps of retail operations, including buying, merchandising and warehousing. What are the business benefits? Increased stock accuracy and visibility ensures orders are fulfilled in the most cost effective and efficient way Better sell through of full priced stock due to smarter stock management Ability to offer click and collect, and facilitate ship from store practice Customer experience of the brand is enhanced by a seamless and consistent shopping experience Product journey is prioritised just as much as the customer journey Our supply chain solution, Merret, is developed by Retail Assist for best-in-class omnichannel performance. We now have 21 retail brands live on Merret. Over the last 5 years, our Merret implementations have been commended and awarded at the BT Retail Week Tech & Ecomm Awards alongside our customers Morrisons, Jacques Vert, Whistles, and Mint Velvet. We believe our awards demonstrate our passion for what we do. But don’t just take our word for it. The Global CFO of Paperchase, said: “We attributed a 6.4% uplift to Merret during its first year.” If you’d like to talk with us further about Merret, or any of our retail IT solutions or retail IT services, call our Nottingham Head Office on 0115 8533910 or email…
Read more
  • 17 Oct 2011
Retail Definitions: WSSI
Click here to read our newly updated and improved what is a WSSI definitions blog.    Retail terms can sometimes be confusing to people who are unfamiliar with them. As a key merchandising reporting tool, Retail Assist explains in simple terms what a WSSI is. WSSI stands for weekly sales, stock and intake and it usually takes the form of an application which is used by companies to plan and monitor sales and stock on a weekly basis. A WSSI allows retailers to efficiently manage stock based on a sales forecast and actual sales and stock information. It helps the business to determine how much stock is required and when, by generating what is known as ‘open to buy’. The intention of the WSSI is to maximise sales with the minimum of outlay by ensuring that stock levels are controlled effectively. It also helps to measure the impact of current trading conditions going forward and assists the business to keep markdown to a minimum. When purchasing a WSSI tool, it may be beneficial to look for one that will allow your business to plan and trade at any level of the product hierarchy. It may also be beneficial if each level is able to operate independently of one another with the ability to ‘roll up’ lower levels of the hierarchy to get the big picture when required. This is a standard feature of the Retail Assist WSSI. There are around 90 fields of data and comparison values within the Retail Assist WSSI to draw upon. These consist of sales, stock and purchase order data amongst others and they can be used in any combination/order that the user requires. This data is then divided into weeks and each week can be displayed as a row or column of data. Once a user has defined a way of viewing the data, the same view can be adopted by other users if they want to see the data in the same way. Another useful function of a good WSSI tool is terminal stock processing. This calculates an intake requirement based on a target closing stock figure for a season. The ability to create a sales forecast by uplifting sales from one half/month to another and adding x% is also invaluable. A further ‘must-have’ WSSI feature is a roll up preview. This allows you to preview the results of a roll up from one WSSI level to another with the ability to reject the result if you are unhappy with it, or accept the result if you are. The Retail Assist WSSI handles all of these functions. The data can also be exported to Excel for reporting and analysis purposes and businesses have the ability to create as many WSSIs as they like, which can be for specific attributes or different countries / fascia. Do you utilise a WSSI tool, and if so, do you find it easy to use? Please post your thoughts below or email…
Read more
site maintained by we are coda