Open market retailer Southland Trade (Moyock, NC) processes 2,000 to 3,000 customers per day using Catapult POS software from ECRS. Seventy-five employees are supported by 10 Catapult POS terminals and another 10 Catapult manager work stations.
With credit authorization being one of the primary bottlenecks suffered by most POS systems, transaction processing speed is crucial. "Catapult allows us to process a customer's credit card in 4 to 7 seconds using the Internet," says Sean Harrell, Southland's IT administrator. "We bypass the dial-up process. But, if our Internet connection is unavailable, the system automatically dials out using the traditional method."
Catapult also handles non-traditional tender types. In addition to the standard forms of payment, such as cash, check, and charge, Southland accepts a number of non-standard forms, including travelers checks, gift certificates, and coupons. Many POS systems require that such forms of payment be tendered as checks, which can make balancing and reconciliation difficult and confusing. "With Catapult, I simply create a new tender for each non-standard form that our customers will be redeeming," says Harrell. "Plus, we're able to simplify by displaying only cash, check, and charge on the main touch screen. Catapult lets us keep our oddball tenders in a hidden menu. This helps cut down on visual congestion on the POS screen."
Catapult allows Southland to display department-specific touchscreen layouts for each terminal in different profit areas throughout the store. Using this method, each POS screen directly reflects the primary functions needed by that profit area.
Equally important to Southland is tracking its customer base. "Southland's patron base is made up of an eclectic mixture of locals and vacationers, making customer tracking a monumental task," says Harrell. Southland uses Catapult's Frequent Shopper feature to track more than 17,000 VIP customers. Clerks scan the VIP customer's card and the customer's name or alias appears on the screen. The system automatically issues any item discounts or tax exemptions without cashier intervention. "The bottom line is that we want to be able to issue customer rewards without cashier intervention," says Harrell.