In 1998, the first St. Croix Shops were opened as a means of showcasing the St. Croix product line. Although the shops were aesthetically appealing, the first few stores lacked critical retail management software. Because of this, the stores experienced poorly executed inventory control, inaccurate and unreliable data, and a potential for significant internal theft. Dennis Meyer, St. Croix's current director of IT, wrote the retailer's first POS program to address some of these problems. The new program was an improvement, but it didn't provide for detailed customer analysis or allow any manipulation of data for reporting and analysis. St. Croix implemented a second POS system, but it didn't accommodate the retailer's move to multiple store locations. "It made a mess of the data," says Meyer. "We were moving to 12 stores, and you can't run a business that way."
Meyer and his team searched for a new POS solution and reviewed 15 different systems before narrowing the field to two choices. In addition to reviewing the final software solutions, the retailer conducted an informal poll with other retailers. In the end, St. Croix chose to implement Retail Pro, Island Pacific's POS system.
At the time of the POS upgrade, St. Croix's infrastructure included 16 inventories and 25 workstations. Fifteen remote stores each had one register, one manager working remotely used a laptop to oversee his stores, and five home office workstations used POS software. As Meyer and his team installed Retail Pro, they had to tweak the system to function in the retailer's specific environment.
Since implementing the new POS software, St. Croix has been able to create several different reports to improve its buying process. "Department, classification, style, and size sale reporting have enabled us to tailor our purchases to reflect our customer needs," says Meyer. "The more efficient purchasing has improved our stock turn and seasonal sell-through, which contributes to our bottom line."
Since the installation, St. Croix has been able to create new areas for sales by instituting an "on loan" program. Because the retailer is now familiar with its customer's shopping preferences, store managers can send hand-selected merchandise to busy executives "on loan." If the executive keeps the merchandise, St. Croix bills his credit card.
St. Croix has also experienced increased cross selling and upselling of products. The POS software displays a customer's personal information and shopping preferences once a cashier enters customer information such as a name or phone number. A summary of the customer then appears on the screen. "Cashiers will make suggestions for other products based on the customer's purchase history," says Meyer. The result is that more products are sold to motivated buyers at the original prices, instead of later at a discount.