POS was top-of mind at NRF this year, with many retailers committing to invest in the technology in the next few years. 2006 will be the year of marked increase in POS projects, with heavy rollouts throughout 2007 and beyond, reports Scott Langdoc, former vice president and general manager, AMR Research, in the event follow-up titled Recap of NRF 2006: Retailers Target Real Vendor Reviews and IT Spending. New POS products presented at the show represent a new breed of integration frameworks that are intended to enhance the consumer experience in retail.
With growth in mind, retailers are turning to POS. Burlington Coat Factory, with 367 stores in 42 states, recently implemented a major POS upgrade. The Burlington, N.J-based retailer, which sells outerwear, casual and business clothing, linens, and childrens furniture, was running an outdated DOS 3.3 based POS system.
Burlington went in search of a Linux based solution and chose to implement Wincor Nixdorfs BEETLE POS hardware. It wasnt a matter of return on investment, it was matter of being able to grow, says Brad Friedman, vice president of information services. I had to get rid of the old system, and I had no desire to put in 5,000 Windows systems. Linux wasthe answer and the environment needed to support Web-based technologies, he says.
The Wincor implementation d the BEETLE S, 15-inchNEC monitors, Metrologic barcode scanners, Epson printers withcheck/MICR readers, Symbol Technologies debit terminals, keyboards and cash drawers. I want a hardware platform that will support a Web browser, requires minimal intelligence from the client and utilizes the communication and programming methodologies standard to a Web-based environment, he says. Web-based technologies are appropriatein todays environment and take advantage of the newer programming languages like Java.
The biggest hurdle in implementing the new system was coordinating the effort across the 367 stores without impacting the stores performance. We decided to perform the upgrade during a slow time of year, Friedman notes. Each store has 16 lanes and we upgraded eight registers at a time, he adds. It was hard to coordinate, but we never brought down a store.
Burlington Coat Factory also leases space to third-party merchants that sell products such as shoes, jewelry and accessories inside its stores. In addition to operating stores under the Burlington Coat Factory name, the company has Cohoes Fashion, MJM Designer Shoes, Luxury Linens, Totally 4 Kids, and Baby Depot stores.
One of Friedmans main goals was to increase POS functionality. Since the implementation, Burlington has done so by creating a lay away program, a special orders system and a returns management system.