Award-winning EPoS platform RetailSystem was designed and built 18 years ago by a furniture retailer, specifically for furniture and mattress retailers. Now a global operation spanning five continents, the RetailSystem product ecosystem addresses numerous business demands, and is still growing – Furniture News asked RetailSystem’s global sales director, Robin Sutherland, to spell out its key components …
Specifically created as a low-cost solution for the furniture industry, and running for 18 years, it is by far the most widely used furniture-centric retail software management system in the UK and Ireland. The system was created by a furniture retailer, so it was designed to deal with all the idiosyncrasies that only our industry comes across on a daily basis, and over the last 18 years has developed to be the most comprehensive EPoS tool for our sector.
Development never stops – if a client of ours proposes an idea for something to be added, we consider the benefits to our 1500+ retailers in the UK and Ireland, and if we feel that the majority will find it useful, it will go into development and the feature will be added on one of the many upgrades that happen each year.
In the furniture industry, rarely has anything like this been so comprehensive and so exciting! It’s a new concept – a ‘clienteling app’. Just imagine … there are many products that you don’t want to display on your website, for a whole myriad of reasons – perhaps they don’t travel well, they’re not allowed to be sold online, or are too heavy for carriers … the list is endless.
We thought about it and came up with FurnitureKiosk, and now this works as a replacement to those hundreds of supplier brochures spread around the store, in the manager’s office (which is locked, as it’s his day off!) or in filing cabinets. Some have grubby pages, some even have coffee rings on them. The one thing they all have in common is that they were obsolete before you were even given them.
So, what we’ve done is recreate all the product that’s available to you, to be displayed on an interactive screen right there on your shop floor. The customer can select a complex product for themselves without any assistance, or your salespeople can build the order on screen with the customer. Staff can also use tablets and move around the store with the customer, building their wish lists (or, indeed, their order), never having to rush off to find the brochure. Your salespeople have all the client statistics at their fingertips, to give every customer the VIP treatment.
If you aren’t using RetailSystem, it isn’t an issue – once complete, the order gets emailed to you from the kiosk. If you are using the EPoS, then it just drops right onto your RetailSystem dashboard.
The other real advantage is that the content for the kiosk is live – if a product is discontinued or a new fabric becomes available, it can be updated instantly, as can the ever-changing prices.
The take-up of FurniturePay has been phenomenal. We’ve secured some amazing savings on card-processing fees for furniture retailers over the last year or two.
“It’s one of those areas of overhead you just don’t get round to looking at,” a retailer said to us recently, and we secured them annual savings of over £40,000 (that isn’t a misprint!) against their existing provider.
There are two further benefits of using FurniturePay, and it’s all about integration of the PEDs (formerly PDQ machines). We’ve all had that sinking feeling at the end of the day when cashing up and, after hours of looking, find that instead of keying in, say, £249 for an item, only £24.90 has been charged – and the customer is long gone, and you didn’t take any details. Net result – you have lost £224.10.
That same sinking feeling can also occur when a refund has been fraudulently put through using the manager’s card (you know the one, it just lies around in the bottom of the drawer – or, even worse, sits next to the PED).
Most of us will have suffered that fate over the years, and many won’t be aware and simply wrote it off. Now this problem is solved by FurniturePay, as refunds can only ever be issued if they went through the system in the first instance. Sleep better at night knowing that?
The world’s most widely used accounting software, QuickBooks by Intuit, was chosen as the partner for integration with RetailSystem. It has been in operation with our US clients since last year, and while the cost and time savings are outstanding, the real benefit is it doesn’t make mistakes – from the initial sale right the way through to the year end, it’s as automated as you want it to be.
Sit on a beach in Majorca (other beaches are available), and at 11:32am with a glass in your hand you can see exactly what’s in the till at each store, what you owe your suppliers, and what deposits you’ve taken from customers – anything you want and need to know about your business is right there, and it’s live.
WebSystem by Shopify
We took the leap in the middle of last year to partner with Shopify to produce some outstanding websites and bring clients of our original WebSystem along for the ride. As most of you know, building a website isn’t cheap, is very time consuming, and outside your comfort zone. Who do you choose? The one that has the best sales pitch?
We took a very different approach. We decided to provide a changeable template (which is stunning, by the way), build the content, upload all the high-resolution images and have it ready to use for nothing upfront – simply use a monthly subscription to cover the cost in the long term. We have a policy on all of our modules and products that there is no long-term contract – if you aren’t happy, you can walk away with a month’s notice.
Again, the take up by furniture retailers has been phenomenal, and we currently have over 100 WebSystem Shopify websites live or in the build stages. Exciting times indeed …