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1. The Objective - What do you want to achieve

 Epos systems are hard for retailers to choose as they are normally outside of their comfort zone. With the amount of choice available they need to distinguish between the offerings and IT jargon doesn't make this any easier.

What sets Open Retail’s apart from the others is support, support, and support again . It is what new users complain they don't get and what existing users give as a reason for swapping supplier. 

2. The Journey - What route do we take

.Choosing an epos system should be like choosing a route up the mountain and deciding which will be the best for your level of experience On a new sale we concentrate on the existing company and its  current performance , budget and skill set. This is quickly followed by where they would like to be and identifying what is holding them back in achieving this. It is important in pre sales to identify  your journey and explaining how our solution overcomes the issues you might face and how you will be able to make it, convincing you to get started .   


  This is a big project to rebuild the centre after the fire and having used epos before I eventually decided on Open Retail. What impressed me was the way they worked through each topic offering different choices and features , then we jointly decided what would be best. It is a great help to talk to people with that level of previous experience rather than learning the hard way. Dean Marshall - Owner - Country Market - Garden Centre and Farm shop

3. Support - You will need some help working as a team

Normally when going live there is a lot of  changes taking place, premises , staff and roles . People tend to focus on getting through the day, so follow up training is needed to reinforce the epos process.  Training gets easily forgotten if it is not used day to day, so the further you go top up training will be required on what wasn’t previously felt relevant Software needs to stay current with new features , it is more like a equipment kit to choose from . Open Retail can train you on which features as best used to overcome and adapt as you come up against obstacles. Squires Group “Just wanted to say thank you very much for the quick turn round to ensure we could get an EPOS system up and running asap at our new garden centre It has made life much easier . The efforts of Open retail were greatly appreciated by myself and Neil”Stephen Palmer Finance Director

“As a group we acquire sites and when we do we standardise our epos offering in the stores  we take over, so it is important  that we get something that works, is reliable, easy to train on and  yet still gets a flow of upgrades . It is like a formula one car  there is a lot of technology to make it work  that well, and it never stops being improved.”   Neil Brown IT manager

4. Reliable Equipment - Minimise your risk

Cloud technology will crop up and this is when your data and  user programs are run on a server in a data centre, the claim for this is   you don’t have to buy and maintain this hardware yourself in house and it is easier  to set up new users. Distributed technology stores the data on a server in your office and then shares it with till and back office users .At the end the day this choice is about risk ,  have you got your head in the clouds or your feet on the ground?  With Cloud If  the main broadband link goes down you cannot trade and if you fall out with the supplier you might struggle  to get your data back. The distributed method allows you hold your data in store and spread you risk across the tills and  you the retailer stays in control of their business By using fully developed and proven software that works you can rely on the results you will get and not worry about what could go wrong if it didn't work. happen

“ The server updates each till with new products and prices during the day so each till can work independent of   the central machine but you still have real time sales figures. We did have a sever hardware failure once , but each till stored it’s own sales until we were able to get it repaired without any loss of data” Jonathan ??????????????????? - IT and Accounts - Trelawney  Garden Centre

5. Keep focused— Remember the reason your are going

Retailing is hard work and so it is important that you make money from it. By setting up sales groups with targets for each  then you have a yardstick to measure your contribution to profit if sold Traffic lighting (colouring figures) and performance ranking on screen and reports just makes this more obvious than searching through lots of figures . Next we check margin lost during selling , looking at promotional costs of offers and loyalty , plus  any discounts given by operators at the tills

Stock should get managed on a targeted stock holding for a department, and check stocks are related to the level of sales you are doing or plan to do Wastage happens and taking products for own use  for working on or displaying items , but what matters is accounting for them correctly , it is a hole you could loose a lot down. “We found there was no point in getting to the end of the year to find out how we did, it is too late by then. By using the departmental “open to buy” features we set targets for sales and stock, and then based on real time feedback we see any differences in performance. This gives us the opportunity to adjust our plans and set a new set of targets that keep us in touch for a successful year Helen Lloyd - Owner - Stratford GC - Garden Centre and Farm shop “

6. Enhancing your experience - Add weighing or cafe

As scales become more pc based , both Avery and Bizerba scales can be controlled with products and pricing from the epos system’s maintenance routines, so today’s market prices  go directly into the scales immediately and can also be shown on digital tv signage. Scales can either weigh items based on the portion customer requires and produce a barcoded label reflecting the price for this purchase. They can also  be linked up directly for fruit and veg or pick your own produce . Buy in bulk and sell in smaller quantities, its all part of the solution, including stock counting pre-packed pieces of cheese or meat whilst stocktaking. Adding a café or restaurant is also possible , it is the same till software with just a different keyboard design to handle meal options. No need for a separate till solution and it can be offered as counter or table service , include order taking handsets.

“ When we re-launched our farm shop we increased the operation with butchery and deli counters, a café , as well as the usual fruit and veg and farm shop products. It was really good to find Open Retail at one of the FARMA exhibitions and see they could handle all the different aspects of our business. One entry and its all done to update the system price and the scales. This would have taken a day at least previously if we remembered to do it” Gary Oakes— Owner - Oakes Farm Shop 

7. Keep on right track—you don’t want to fall behind

Wrongly in my view people think of epos as a black till screen taking the money, but it is a lot more to a full epos system where collecting  data is the key, rather than just controlling sales takings.A well designed sales reporting structure works on so many levels, breaking down large inventories to make sure they can be found to work. It provides management information at different levels, ensuring profit  margins are being achieved and then drilling down to investigate problem  scenarios. We focus on sales but we also focus on the stock levels to achieve these sales . It is one thing collecting data and another thing to use it and take action upon it to improve .

“Open Retail have worked with us and advised us over the years on fine tuning the results from epos and feeding them back into company performance. We control the business at all stages and each department is monitored. It is more than sales , it’s the whole picture, stock, buying, and we count frequently on a rolling basis rather than just once a year. I don't know how we managed before , it is certainly more accurate now”  Val  Tumelty - IT department - Ransoms Garden Centre

8. Alternative Routes—Ecommerce / Wifi tablets

 Selling online is something you just add on and upload your stock levels. The key is obviously to get more sales from the stock you share with the store . However to web shoppers being in stock,  keen prices , and a retail outlet behind it is what they are looking for. That is why we link the store stock system with the ecommerce site to keep product details correctly updated and handle the orders more  efficiently. Depending on the reason for having a webcart you may want to sell nationally, you may want to clear excess stock , you may want to offer better service by click and collect. Whatever the reason it helps when the ecommerce is just an extension of your epos rather than a separately maintained website doubling up your work.  Mobile computing in many forms will continue to grow as hardware of tablets, phones and other touch devices  offering internet connectivity continue to grow. Many find it hard to figure out this black art  when they class themselves as shop retailers first and foremost. However it cannot be ignored and so one system covering the both shop and web sales is what Open Retail offer . The aim to provide you with the facilities and service levels to become a multi channel retailer, optimising  your stock and resources.                 

“When I left University and joined the family business I was keen to introduce some new ideas into the centre. Open Retail has not only supported me with this but enhanced my ideas to make them suitable and available to all their client base. We now offer and integrate with our ecommerce site that updates the available stock and pricing straight from the stock system. They lent me tablet hardware to evaluate so I could develop a order taking system for our restaurant and we linked in the tv menu boards. They have a strong integration with mobile computing throughout their solution , which has been a key tool for us to change the way we work on the sales floor. It has been a working partnership that has benefited both parties, which is all that you would want from your epos supplier”  James Barr - IT Department - Woodlands Garden Centre

9. Nearly there—don’t fall at the last ridge

Customers are King  and it still holds true today , so is loyalty just a drain on profits  or the cost of acquiring the information on who your customers are  Our system collects all the sales , so we know who  bought what,  how much they spend, how often they come , and where  they come from  However more importantly we can also determine what they didn’t buy , such a steak and no wine, cheese and no crackers, plant and no pot. Having identified them Open Retail can now help you talk to them, and this is where email tools like mail chimp come into play, delivering the message at low cost and also monitoring the response and take up of offers made to your customer base

“Like everyone else we were struggling with ways to get more customers to visit our centre. We worked on a new strategy based far more on being pro active with customers with new offers and in store activities. It works far better and is far cheaper than the old types of loyalty . Customers appreciate the variety of the promotions we give and also the ease with which they can collect them. Open Retail helped with tools to give us better access to the data that we had built up on customers and outputting it so we can use it in a social media way. It works and the customers like it , the improved sales show that” David Seville - IT manager - Glebe Garden Centre

10. 10 The Summit—Enjoy the view but what is next

Well done on making it to the top , and enjoy the view but as you know what got you there wont keep you there, which is why Open Retail have a living product with on going developments to further enhance the solution to keep our customers at the top. For example Electronic Shelf Edging (ESL) is in our toolkit and available but it is early days yet, it will happen just as it has in Europe. .You are now part of an elite club and probably met some of our other Open Retail users on the way up. Continue to enjoy the journey and talk to them and us about other climbs you would like to take on. It is surprising where a little bit of friendly and helpful cooperation can take you to.

Epos Systems - How to do it

“ With so many IT options available these days its hard to pick a clear cut route so we don’t. We let our users and potential users tell us what they need to be successful and focus on getting that right for them. Key areas of development are making sure our programs and  support are as good as they can be, as this is a common weakness of many epos providers , including  delivering what we promised . I consider this to be the strength of the company and refer to our user base to confirm this to potential clients “

- Graham Stamper /MD - Open Retail Solutions