IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality


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…
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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…
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  • 20 Feb 2012
Guest Blog: Top 5 Retailer FAQs on Mobile Payment
By Michael Koploy, Software Advice According to US research advisory Gartner, mobile payments may be the next big thing for retailers. The firm predicted 38 percent growth of mobile payment users in 2011, totaling 141 million. While this may seem like a lot, the industry still has a long way to go and there are a number of roadblocks ahead, according to Sandy Shen, Gartner Research Director. “The biggest hurdle is the need to change user behaviour by convincing consumers to pay with mobile phones instead of cash and cards”.   Retailers can play a large role in changing user behaviour. While manufacturers can produce the phones to process mobile payments and merchant service providers can set up the networks, a lack of retailer support will lead to little (if any) mobile payment adoption. The first step for retailers is to educate themselves about the technology, the ecosystem and the opportunity mobile payments afford. Software Advice, an online consultancy for retail solutions, hears from a lot of retailers that are curious about mobile payments. Here are the top five questions with their answers: (1) What are mobile payments? Mobile payments are payment transactions involving mobile devices and RF receiver terminals. Both mobile devices and terminals are equipped with RF chips to communicate via near field communication (NFC). The mobile devices communicate with the terminals through a virtual wallet application. (2) What does a retailer need to do to accept mobile payments? Outside of the other requirements for retailers to accept credit card transactions — merchant account, payment gateway, point of sale software, etc – retailers will need either an NFC-capable credit card machine or a standalone NFC receiver. Standalone receivers are often much cheaper – sometimes as little as a couple of hundred US dollars. (3) How much will mobile payments cost the retailer? The interchange rate for mobile device payments is the same as MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave; the rate is higher for these transactions than for traditional swipe-and-sign payments. Visa lowered rates to spur NFC in Italy – it could do something similar elsewhere, but this is unknown at present. (4) Are there security issues that retailers need to be aware of? NFC signals are transmitted at a short range of a few cm (and up to a few metres in some rare circumstances), so the hacker would have to be close to the mobile device, as well. Additionally, virtual wallets require PIN passwords for access -making a stolen virtual wallet much less valuable than a stolen credit card. Most phones also have additional security features, such as home screen password-lock. (5) What should a retailer do to prepare for mobile payments? All of the individual players in this ecosystem–from the financial institutions to the consumers–are playing a game of wait-and-see. Retailers can do well by staying on-top of NFC-related news and testing out similar technologies available today (e.g. Google Places), as well as other NFC happenings in the community. For a full list of the top…
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  • 7 Nov 2011
FAQs – The Help Desk
Ellie: I’m here today with one of our Help Desk team leaders, Ellen Roberts, to ask her what the most common issue that clients call the Retail Assist support centre for assistance with is. Ellen, in your experience, what is the Help Desk’s most frequently asked question? Ellen: I would say that the common issues vary according to the client and the type of system they use within their organisation. The majority of questions clients ask the Help Desk are mostly regarding hardware, such as the till and its peripherals, e.g. how to reset / re-start them and where to re-seat / place cabling etc. It does appear that most customers do like to try and apply their knowledge to fix a problem themselves, as when we dial onto customers’ tills / back offices to apply fixes, they are always quite keen to know what caused the problem, how they can prevent it and the steps they can follow to fix it. Ellie: In most circumstances – depending which systems the individual client is using – what is the typical fix or answer to this question? Ellen: There is always the typical fix of “turn it off and wait 5 seconds” and re-try! But that aside, when trying to fix an issue, as a Help Desk we are always mindful of the impact that the issue is causing to the customer’s business and ability to trade, we endeavour to fix a problem as quickly as possible and with minimal disruption. In terms of answering queries such as the scenarios detailed in the above question, we use our procedure database and test kits to the best of our ability to apply fixes to customers’ systems. The test kits are also extremely useful for the types of scenarios when customers are unable to power on their tills or locate a particular cable that requires checking or re-seating, as we are able to talk the customer through this by reviewing our test kit and identifying cables / sockets with the customer very easily. Ellie: Thanks for that Ellen, I think that’s provided a good insight for our clients – or indeed other companies using a Help Desk facility – into some of the ways in which their technical problems may be resolved. Are you supported by an IT Help Desk? Or do you work on the front line in a support centre? Do you agree with Ellen’s most frequently asked questions? Post your comments below or email…
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