Priming the Point-of-Sale Pump
If all your POS system does is take various forms of payment and print receipts, you are in the wrong position. POS today must be the epicenter and tied directly in with your marketing and loyalty programs, and also serve as the font of most critical information for driving, at least to a significant extent, internal and external business operations and decision-making.
That was the loud and clear message delivered by Orlando “Butch” Jagoda, CIO, Helzberg Diamonds during TOPSS in Las Vegas in October. TOPSS, the Technology & Operations Store Summit, is produced by Chain Store Age and Retail Technology Quarterly. “Sometimes IT can out-stage the business needs, and you always have to be careful not to do that. But with POS, it is extremely important that it be services-oriented in nature. The POS must offer value and be part of the customer-loyalty offering.
“In selling diamonds, for example, there is a complex series of items that must be kept track of—trade-ins, repairs, special orders, etc. It is not just about smiling and selling. The POS plays an immensely important business function for us,” Jagoda said.
On the technical side, he added, there are quite a few new and innovative solutions coming onto the market. The question retailers must ask is, ‘“What is the opportunity there for you?” Helzberg Diamonds has been partnering with Micros for much of its POS needs for some 10 years, he noted.
Sharing the stage with Jagoda was Chaz Napoli, COO, Micros Retail, who noted that now is a turning point for many retailers in terms of upgrading their POS systems. With the advanced functions that can now be embedded and integrated into the front end and that offer enormous opportunities, retailers must really do their homework and make the right choice to gain the greatest advantage.
“There are many Tier 1 companies that skipped a generation and are still running in a client-server type operating environment. They may have installed systems in the 1980s and decided to not invest again in the 1990s. But they cannot afford to skip a second generation” of POS systems, Napoli said.
“There are also a lot of retailers such as Helzberg Diamonds, that did invest in POS in the 1990s but now are looking for the flexibility to work XML, function on a multi-national level, and allow the company to work with partners but also be in position to take more control and be in front of issues such as PCI,” he said.
Jagoda added that Helzberg is in a low-turn business, and thus it is even more important for the retailer to leverage innovation and make the right investments. “Business is conducted in the store, and that is where our assets are—in communications and in a superior buying experience. That is what customers expect of us.”
CompUSA may get a new look
ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.
According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.
The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.
Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.
While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.
“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.
CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.
The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.
Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans
DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.
Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.
Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:
“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.
“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”