Retailer updates point-of-sale systems to support ambitious expansion plans by speeding customer service and mobilising staff instore
Republic is a UK multi-branded men’s and women’s fashion retailer. First launched in Leeds in 1986 with a single store, it now has 115 stores nationwide and a successful web channel. It offers a broad range of clothing brands including G-Star, Diesel, Bench, Miso, Crafted and Soul Cal.
As a growing company, Republic plans to expand nationally and internationally over the coming years. IT is at the forefront of Republic’s growth plans and a key driver of efficiency across the business in terms of people and processes.
Republic’s expansion plans meant that it needed a real-time electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) system to allow for future national, international or online trading opportunities, along with providing a stable electronic file transfer (EFT) platform.
Choosing PoS systems for growth
Having outgrown its labour-intensive PoS solution, it was clear that an enterprise solution was required to reduce administration both in store and at head office, along with improving controls over cash and stock accuracy. The business also wanted to explore new markets in Northern and Southern Ireland and it was clear that the objective was to implement a single solution, which would allow it to trade across multiple regions with central control, alongside integrating with the growing multichannel operation.
The objective was to provide a manageable and stable IT platform to support future growth, improving and automating current manual processes as well as handling multiple currencies through an integrated approach to processing and settling chip and PIN transactions.
In 2009 Republic chose Torex Retail-J as its PoS system based on its track record and proven success. The advanced PoS gave the retailer the opportunity to develop a quicker and slicker operation, connecting stores in real time, improving cash and stock control and acting as a platform for future growth and innovation.
Nick Rennardson, head of IT at Republic, explained: “We opted to work with Torex because they not only offered open, flexible and scalable solutions but invaluable strategic expertise gained through years of working in our sector. Their focus and dedication clearly contributed to our success.”
Improved customer service
The operational improvements mean that staff can spend more time with customers and have detailed information at their fingertips to respond to queries regarding stock availability.
As the majority of payments in Republic stores are made by card, the speed at which these are processed is extremely important to the business. Customers now benefit from quicker service at the PoS, with a faster EFT solution that delivers authorisation in 0.6 seconds compared with the five-second processing time of the legacy solution. Many customers have commented on the improved processing time of a card payment, which has had a positive effect on the time spent queuing.
By providing an integrated view of data, the system has also made several other customer facing processes faster, including managing returns, voids and refunds. Whereas previously these transactions had to be manually logged, they are now updated automatically.
Instore, many previously admin-intensive processes have been made more efficient through the new PoS, including the automation of staff discounts. Also, staff no longer need to complete cash sheets due to the integrated cash management system, offering improved cash controls. Sales data is now available more ‘real time’ on company dashboards, which removes the need for managers to collate this information at critical times of the trading day. Fully automated sales processing is now fed back to Republic’s central merchandise system, removing the need for managers to control this process manually.
Mobilising staff in the store
The introduction of the new PoS system has also meant that new hand held terminals could be introduced. These terminals are used by store managers for product enquiries, stock management and delivery processing, saving them time and helping instore operations to run as smoothly as possible.
Torex Retail-J also provides the PoS infrastructure for Republic’s website. As all the data is now held centrally, options such as click and collect, where a product is ordered online and collected instore, have become easier to arrange. These click and collect capabilities were delivered in early 2011, drawing on the capabilities for seamless communication.
As a growing company, Republic is expanding nationally and internationally, with a particular focus on the Northern and Southern Ireland markets. The real-time PoS system facilitates future growth, providing an integrated and accredited chip & PIN EFT solution across multiple trading regions.
Information on stock and sales is now much more accessible within the business, enabling commercial decisions to be made more easily. With automated reports coming through from all stores, Republic’s managerial staff, including buyers and supply chain managers, are finding decision-making easier. Senior managers also have more insightful information on which to base strategic decisions on the company’s direction and expansion plans.
Rennardson explained: “The significance of the technology upgrade goes far beyond IT and is benefiting all areas of our business, with finance, retail and training all hugely supportive of the new technology. Republic’s management staff understand the capabilities that the new solution offers and have bought into the next phases of the overall project to give them better trading opportunities.”
Looking to the future
Torex Retail-J has delivered the foundation for Republic to build on its growing success. Further phases are planned to deliver greater return on investment. Phase two focused on developing Republic’s multichannel strategy including click and collect and customer ordering.
Along with the multichannel initiatives, Republic also plans to review supporting solutions such as loyalty and loss prevention, which are considered critical parts of its roadmap by benefiting from the rich data feeds now available from Torex Retail-J PoS. This means that even more departments across the business will benefit from the system implementation and provide a greater return on investment.
Rennardson concluded: “Embedding Torex Retail-J into our business has laid down a cornerstone for many exciting developments. We look forward to working with Torex to ensure we continue to get the most out of the technology.”