In 2017, VERC Enterprises, owner and operator of 28 c-stores and car washes in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, updated its point-of-sale (POS) software to Envoy Retail, which allows management to control all retail operations from a central location.
After the chain’s price book was created in March, Courtney Buckley, manager of training and development for VERC, helped roll out the new system store-by-store.
“We’ve added more stores, and we had to upgrade to a system that can handle more stores,” said Buckley. “This system is working out well. Now it’s easier to set up promotions, and all prices change automatically. Little upgrades make everything more convenient, faster and save time.”
VERC is not alone. POS keeps evolving, and operators are taking advantage of updated software and all-new systems, or run the risk of losing ground to competitors.
Boston Retail Partners (BRP), an independent consulting firm serving the retail and restaurant industries, recently reported results of its “2018 POS/Customer Engagement Survey.” It found that more than half of survey respondents believe it’s important to add more capabilities to their current POS, and half said they are prioritizing a POS upgrade or replacement.
Most modern POS systems provide the foundation for loyalty, inventory and accounting functions, PCI compliance and lower-cost payment processing options, said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP.
“In many cases, retailers can also lower training costs, help reduce shrink and shortage issues, increase inventory accuracy and enable a better replenishment model resulting in increased sales through better in-stocks,” Kramer said. “For retailers that offer fresh food, the order-ahead and inventory management functions are almost a must.”
Very soon, managing essential POS data will be vital to running a retail operation, especially for c-stores looking to compete more effectively.
“There are tools that help forecast sales based on like conditions and dayparts, year over year,” said John Kirk, president and CEO of the Retail Solutions Providers Association based in Charlotte, N.C. “Understanding traffic patterns and the impact of tailored merchandising to those patterns are key. Due to the quantities of categories and assortments being managed, there will be broader impact of data science as a tool in establishing pricing that is viewed as fair by the customer. For many retailers, data science will be the only way to manage the business.”
While BRP survey respondents didn’t put as much emphasis on mobile payments as they did on POS upgrades, “mobile payments are going to grow significantly in the next one to three years and then probably level off after adoption becomes more pervasive,” said Kramer.