Keith Bateman: what to consider when reviewing an EPoS solution

Keith Bateman of Davidson Richards explains what to consider when reviewing an EPoS solution.

EPoS and retail management is a way to help you manage your garden centre, improving efficiencies, customer service and ultimately the bottom line. It helps you control your products, pricing, promotions, stock, customers and suppliers across the business.

Improving the experience and service at the tills for your customers, you have instant access to product and pricing information for customer queries. Handling the sale is more efficient, using the touchscreen tills with integrated chip and pin helping to avoid queues at peak times.

What do you need to consider when reviewing different EPoS solutions and providers?

Ensure your chosen solution is scalable to grow with you and flexible enough to be tailored to meet your existing and future needs too. Each organisation is different and the levels to which you have to tailor need careful consideration in advance.

This can range from a certain report or perhaps a different till screen layout. If you have more sophisticated requirements, you can link the EPoS and retail management solution with your other applications including the web store, warehousing or financial accounting system.

Ensuring these other applications connect with your EPoS and retail management is vital to streamline activities and avoid the need to rip out and replace; safeguarding the time and investments already made.

With various solutions available, what type do you opt for?

Resilient trading at the tills is of course, the number one priority for any retailer. Historically an EPoS and retail management solution required a back office server to run locally at the garden centre headquarters.

For you, the retailer, this involves the considerable initial expense of buying the server and then the ongoing costs for power and perhaps cooling throughout its life. Also, factor in the cost and time needed for updates, back-ups and upgrades.

Advances in technology have transformed how EPoS and retail management solutions can now be provided; removing the previous need for a server with all of the back office retail management now handled in the cloud.

Your EPoS and retail management partner will take care of the updates, maintenance and back-ups for you, leaving you free to focus on retailing and more productive tasks.

The total cost of ownership is also significantly reduced. With this approach there is no software to buy as the cost for software, support and the maintenance service is included in the low monthly subscription. This ensures businesses can budget with confidence and control their IT and retail costs.

Things to consider

Finding the right partner is never a decision taken lightly, given the costs and human resources required over the EPoS and retail management solution?s lifetime to maximise your investment.

The solution and partner need to serve you well for many years to come to avoid the disruption and additional cost of changing down the line. It?s worth finding out how experienced the EPoS partner is in the garden centre sector and how many organisations they work for.

– Do they work for organisations of a similar size or in your area?

– Do they offer you the chance to speak with their customers? Customers are the greatest advocates for a system so don?t just take the salesperson?s word for it.

– Is the EPoS partner well established and financially sound?

– What?s their road map to ensure they can look after you for many years to come?

Support is another key area to consider, not only during the initial project stages but when you need it most, day in day out. You should find out where the support is based, whether it?s from the providers own offices, overseas or via a call centre.

It is also beneficial to know whether they have a dedicated support team or if support is internet based. Access to advice when you need it most is vital, especially in the early days as you get to grips with the new system and all it can do.

Whether you?re dissatisfied with your existing EPoS system, looking for a new venture or currently using cash registers, Davidson Richards make the transition to their EPoS retail management solution as pain-free as possible, and currently work for over 50 garden centre organisations across the UK and Ireland.

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