Card World, which currently operates nineteen stores and two wholesale warehouses in the South West and sells everything from greeting cards to toys and household products, has completed a year-long project to implement integrated retail technology. For a company with over 85,000 product lines and a 15 million turnover, its the first time the retailer has fully taken on board technology, giving instant access to information on sales and what stock is available.
Weve now got visibility right across our business, and can see whats selling and whats not, says Mark Woodward, financial controller at Card World. Technology allows us to look at sales and make informed decisions on what stock we should be holding, as well as in future being able to automatically replenish stores according to whats leaving the shelves.
The company installed VcsTimeless Colombus retail software at its head office and 55 new Points of Sale, adding a wholesale module and PS Financials accounting system in June. Woodward says that the system, now fully live, will even be able to help expose fraud or internal staff theft, via emailed reports showing discrepancies in either takings or stock levels.
We chose the VcsTimeless suite because it is one of the few solutions integrated for both wholesale and retail needs, as well as being configured to an accounting package, says Woodward.
He adds that the retail software is a powerful tool for planning ahead for seasonal lines. He uses the example of bulk buying of best sellers, such as packs of Christmas cards, which he says might not have been ordered in sufficient quantities without the analytical prowess of technology. However, Woodward acknowledges that adjusting to new technology for the first time makes buyers more accountable and hasnt been easy for everyone. The longer term benefits cited include: driving down stock after having often been overstocked, especially on poorly selling lines; and considerable time savings when it comes to scanning warehouse stock which automatically updates stores and head office on availability.
Multi-channel retailers like Card World, with such a large amount of stock, are able to drastically cut costs and improve customer service by making sure shelves arent empty, or left idle with too much unsold stock, says Michel Ramis, chief executive at VcsTimeless. For the first time, Card World will be able to rely on automated technology to ensure that defined parameters will trigger deliveries to stores as and when required.