Contemporary technology takes a traditional business to new heights
Apparel retailer, Robert Goddard, implements a point-of-sale and e-commerce solution from LOIS Systems and J2 Retail Systems
J2 and its software partner LOIS Systems have revealed details of the multi-channel solution they have put in place for the apparel retailer, Robert Goddard.
Robert Goddard is an independent clothing business with stores located in Wisbech, Spalding and Ely. Each sells womenswear, menswear and accessories from leading design houses in Europe and America. Formal and casualwear ranges include covetable brands such as Gant, Tommy Hilfiger, Ted Baker, Lacoste and Lyle & Scott.
Run for several generations as a family concern, Robert Goddard was recently purchased by young entrepreneurs Oliver Tookman and James McAlinden. They 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. “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 the stores, the new management’s main objective was to create an online presence, enabling customers to purchase with confidence from 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 entire business. Their search led them to LOIS Systems, whose software and services can guarantee a transactional web presence and point-of-sale performance, all supported by a single technology.
LOIS composed 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 created, 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.
Ease of use was important, 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 that was unable to find an appropriate tool. It has significantly evolved and remains grounded within real world of retail, combining technical innovation with practicality.
“We are thrilled with both LOIS and J2,” enthuses Oliver Tookman.
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, taking into account the different products held in each shop and reducing the amount of stock that needs to be held. Warehouse functionality 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.
LOIS SYSTEMS www.lois-systems.co.uk
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.