Independent retailers are Britain’s hardest workers, working over 50 hours a week and taking fewer than 10 days off a year, according to a recent report by the Association of Convenience Stores. Although the survey may have been aimed at more convenience retail, the findings will also apply to other independent retailers, be it fashion, footwear, cycling or a raft of any other sectors. With owners working longer hours as shops stay open later and many independents opening on Sundays, the findings are perhaps not such a surprise.
There is however a potential remedy to the long hours and that is cloud based EPoS systems. Often retailers will be in-store early working on the figures, ordering stock from suppliers and staying late checking takings and stock levels, as well as processing web orders, if the retailer has an ecommerce site. And if the store is a family run business often they will want a member of the family in store at all times, as it can be difficult to step back and delegate. Cloud based EPoS systems can resolve these issues as well as help tighten security and integrate an ecommerce site into the business.
Firstly, a cloud-based EPoS system can be accessed from any location on any device that can access the internet; this alleviates retailers having to be in-store to work on their business. They can check stock levels, order new stock all remotely. What’s more EPoS systems can automate these processes so orders can be fired off to suppliers in a matter of minutes. Secondly, even when retailers aren’t in the business they can monitor sales transactions as they happen, with a cloud based system. So any irregularities can be spotted immediately. Terry Harvey who is managing director of M&P cards (a card and gift retailer with 6 stores) uses Cybertill across his business and one of the reasons for this is he can keep a check on security. “I can check sales at the stores and flag anomalies that come up on the daily sales, like a refund that looks a bit odd, or a transaction that doesn’t look correct.”
Cloud allows retailers to ‘work smarter’ so they don’t have to be chained to their business, they can work remotely but still have the information to hand in real time as if they were working in-store. “Cloud can certainly facilitate retailers being able to work fewer hours,” claims Cybertill CEO, Ian Tomlinson. “It puts the business in to the retailers’ hand, and they can take it with them. But perhaps as importantly cloud based systems can integrate ecommerce sites seamlessly, so retailers don’t sell stock they don’t have online. It is about giving control back to the retailer so they don’t have to be in the business all hours.”
For many independent retailers ecommerce has added to the hours they spend in store, checking stock, removing stock from the shop floor so it is not sold in store if it has been sold online. This highlights one of the main issues faced by independent retailers when trading online and that is their actual stock. They can’t normally afford to ring fence large amounts of valuable stock just for web sales but at the same time the vast majority of separate web sites don’t communicate in real time to the retailers EPoS stock control system. Meaning that web stock levels are either not available on line, which reduces customer confidence, or are simply inaccurate, which allows for sales to be made against stock that has already been sold in store. Cloud based systems alleviate this issue and thus the retailer doesn’t have to be in store rotating stock.
For those retailers who are interested in finding out more about how a cloud based EPoS system could help their business please feel free to call Cybertill and speak to one of our consultants. You can call 0800 030 4432 or email us here.