"“We are thrilled with both LOIS and J2.”"
Oliver Tookman, co-owner of Robert Goddard
Robert Goddard is an independent, quality clothing business. Whilst its stores are located solely in eastern England, in Wisbech, Spalding and Ely and with plans for Cambridge, Robert Goddard’s reputation is nationwide.
Founded in 1895 and run for several generations as a family concern, Robert Goddard recently caught the attention of a young entrepreneurial duo, Oliver Tookman and James McAlinden. They acquired the business and set about layering contemporary technology and new marketing ideas over the traditional values of service, selection and quality that had generated Robert Goddard’s perennial appeal.
Stores are located in prime, high-street positions and sell a wide range of womenswear, menswear and accessories from some of the best design houses in Europe and America. Formal and casualwear ranges include covetable brands such as Gant, Tommy Hilfiger, Ted Baker, Lacoste and Lyle & Scott.
The new owners were determined to introduce modernisation right across the business. “We were very keen to implement the most cost-effective and productive system on the market,” explains Oliver Tookman.
In addition to having a leading-edge EPoS system in each of their stores, the new management’s main business driver was to create an online presence, enabling customers to purchase with confidence from the comfort of their home. To streamline operations across store-based and web-based channels, Tookman and McAlinden looked for an integrated EPoS and e-commerce solution that would run the business in its entirety.
· A single system delivers complete integration of web-based and store-based activity
· Live stock management across both channels uses intelligent selection to fulfil online orders from store stock, thereby minimising stock held and eliminating the need for separate warehouses
· Simple and intuitive, the software supports all the day-to-day retail operations and enables staff to focus on selling rather than on complex IT processes
· J2’s integrated PC-based tills form the hub of both front-office and back-office operations, driving reporting, inter-store communications and security
· Space-efficient, silent and attractive, the units fit unobtrusively into the sales environment
· Touchscreen operation optimises till transactions and improves customer interaction
Robert Goddard’s market search led them to LOIS Systems, whose software and services could guarantee a transactional web presence and point-of-sale performance, all supported by a single technology.
The contract won, LOIS Systems set about composing a modular, all-in-one solution to meet Robert Goddard’s needs. Seamless interaction between shop and web was a prerequisite. Two fully-managed web sites were designed and built, of which the primary one is linked into stockholding in the three stores. This integrated, live stock management system provides the backbone for all computing processes and for the business.
Next came the selection of integrated PC-based tills for each of the stores. LOIS Systems’ chosen partner was J2 Retail Systems. As Steve Waller, Managing Director of LOIS Systems comments: “The J2s are aesthetically pleasing units, fanless and silent. We were happy to recommend them as we know them to be reliable and really durable.” The J2 hardware works perfectly with the LOIS software, which was designed for touchscreen operation.
Simplicity and ease of use were important to Robert Goddard, so the team looked for a system that was intuitive, reduced the likelihood of errors, and enabled staff to focus their time on selling, not on managing complex stock control processes. The system also had to be ‘fit for purpose’ and tailored to the apparel sector.
The LOIS system was developed inhouse by a fashion retailer, after it had failed to find a simple tool that could make its business more efficient. The system constantly evolves and remains grounded within the day-to-day world of retail, combining technical innovation with practicality.
At the heart of the LOIS system is live integration of stock across the stores and online. This can be monitored minute-by-minute to optimise sell-through rates, and removes any reliance on overnight polling.
Stockholding is managed from the company’s head office and uses intelligent selection to fulfill online orders. This approach takes into account the different products held in each shop and reduces the amount of stock that needs to be held (and therefore funds tied up in this.) Warehouse functionality is also dovetailed and allows supplier orders to be input and easily managed. Centralised stock control means that separate warehouses are not needed for the two channels to market.
Inter-store messaging and sophisticated reporting functions give the owners the insight they need to move and fine-tune stock based on sales performance. The availability of live reporting via speed dial displays is a good motivator, as staff across the stores observe each other’s performance and compete to outsell them.
The tills have turned out to be the perfect vehicle for the LOIS system, plus touchscreen functionality eliminates the clutter of a keyboard and a mouse at point-of-sale where counter space is needed for wrapping goods.
States Oliver Tookman: “We were very keen on the space-saving of an integrated system. The processor is fast enough for every job we need it to do and we were impressed when we realised how quiet the units are.”
By concentrating the till user onto the screen rather than a keyboard, the management team has seen how touchscreen operating allows for better customer interaction and less error. “Touchscreen operation is fantastic and it looks impressive.”
The tills do much more than manage accounting processes; they provide the owners with a complete working environment. The units have been linked into a CCTV camera system in each store so, with controlled access, it is possible to see what is going on right across the business. This is an ideal tool where a small number of key individuals need have a complete handle on a multi-site business.
About LOIS Systems
Specialist retail solutions provider, LOIS Systems, conceived its software and services from the shop floor upwards. The company’s origins are in fashion retail and it was for the requirements of its Little London Boutique that development took place. Unable to source an appropriate system off-the-shelf, LOIS created one that is simple to use and rich in functionality.
LOIS keeps up with new trends and efficiencies in both IT and retail and, today, new retailer partners are using the LOIS system and helping the company to broaden its scope. The result is a one-stop solution that is agile enough for single stores and comprehensive enough for the largest multi-store enterprises.
Logical processes flow in conjunction with normal retail functions. Their pivot is a single, integrated stock management system, which enables retailers to manage product across stores, mail order and the internet in real-time. This universal, multi-channel approach minimises stockholding and maximises efficiency.
Tel: +44 (0) 845 867 9803