By Erin Harris, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine
Consider this scenario: Your store operates on proprietary ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, which requires proprietary hardware to function properly. Therefore, if a problem occurs with the hardware, you may be unable to repair it on your own. Two weeks before Christmas, your primary register breaks, rendering the remainder of your registers inoperable as well. It turns out that your registers are down for an entire week, because your vendor needs to make an on-site visit to diagnose and repair the problems. The primary register holds the database information that processes credit cards. Because you can't access the database, you're forced to phone in every credit card transaction and revert back to the old days of taking an imprint of the credit card. How can you possibly measure how much business you've lost due to this problem? Surely, customers have become skeptical about why are you phoning in their credit card information. And, the additional steps to complete a transaction create long queues, causing potential customers who may have considered shopping at your store to notice the long lines and leave. Retailers see this scenario as a nightmare of epic proportions. David Messina, director of IT at BC Sports, lived this exact nightmare and, as a result, overhauled his proprietary ERP system with an integrated retail management solution, enabling BC Sports to boast numerous benefits.