A family-owned supermarket remains competitive by deploying a POS solution that improves customer service and integrates storefront and back office data.
Magruder's Supermarkets, an eight-store family-owned grocery chain serving the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, has been in business for more than 130 years. Magruder's distinguishes itself from its larger competitors by offering unique products, imported and domestic goods, and a small-market feel. Over the years, cost constraints had prevented it from deploying the high-speed enterprise-scale POS technology that larger supermarkets use. Recently, however, the retailer decided it needed faster, more functional capabilities at the checkout in order to keep pace with its competitors and its higher transaction volumes.
"Our previous system was eight or nine years old, and it showed," notes Glenn Gibson, vice president and CIO of Magruder's. "The maintenance costs were increasing all the time, along with activity at the POS. Data visibility wasn't what we wanted it to be. We weren't able to respond to the marketplace the way we needed. Plus, if customers don't get through the checkout process as quickly as they think they should, they're more likely to shop somewhere else."
After consulting with Torex Retail Americas, an HP technology partner, Magruder's selected the HP rp5000 Point of Sale System, along with the Torex In Store Information System (ISIS) solution. "We evaluated a number of new POS systems based on their reliability, scalability, the ability to keep pace with our growth over a five-year period, and price," says Gibson. "The HP rp5000 fit our needs very well, and I felt comfortable with the reputation of the company and the warranty it offered."
The new system processes transactions faster and more efficiently than the retailer's previous system, enabling Magruder's to speed up the checkout process, allowing for more satisfied customers. More importantly, however, it links the POS with inventory, customer, and back office administrative software.
Open POS Architecture Supports Upgrades, Add-Ons
The Torex ISIS solution is a Web-enabled turnkey POS system based on Microsoft .NET, Microsoft SQL, and Windows XP technologies. Running on the HP hardware, including the rp5000 POS system and a Proliant ML150 server, ISIS integrates storefront and back office data, allowing in-depth and up-to-date views of store operations. "We can now capture detailed transaction and customer information at the POS," says Gibson. "This helps us anticipate shopping patterns and market demand, which means we can better manage our inventory."
The solution's open architecture allows Magruder's to add multiple software applications and peripheral devices and upgrade them as needed. "Whether it's an operations application, a security application, or a connectivity upgrade, we don't need much in the way of IT intervention," notes Gibson. "Any changes or upgrades we need to make go smoothly due to the open POS architecture."
Magruder's is seeing the benefits of being able to accurately track sales trends and inventory changes in real time. "The system gives us faster access to more data and information, along with the ability to use this data in other applications," Gibson continues. "We also gained the ability to drill down to a greater level of detail while being able to see the big picture. We can generate more accurate productivity data, and management at both the retail and corporate levels can access this information for more informed decision making."
According to Gibson, Magruder's is now able to manage its stores and operations on more of an exception basis; however, it is still able to analyze how inventory, marketing, financial, and productivity processes are contributing to the overall success of the company. "It's more than just the speed of the transaction — it's the way the POS system connects with the back office to update inventory and accounting data in real time," says Gibson. "Being able to add this level of technology gives us much more flexibility in terms of adapting to the marketplace, and it gives us enterprise-level capabilities at a midsize-business price."
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