Wyevale Garden Centres has started trialling a chip and Pin-ready electronic point of sale system to see how it handles a planned increase in promotions.
The 110-strong chain, the UK's largest dedicated garden centre group, plans to use the lessons learned from pre-Christmas trials when it rolls out the system to all its stores between January and March next year.
Wyevale said the £2m Epos system, from software supplier Retail-J, is slated to be ready in time for the Easter weekend, which marks the start of the busiest period of the year for garden centres.
Wyevale finance director Tony Jones said the firm needed the system to be able to cross-promote between different in-store categories - a capability that its current system does not have.
"We aim to learn from our pre-Christmas experience and we would expect to get good value from our investment," he said.
The business case for the Epos roll-out also rests on the system integrating with chip and Pin terminals, which Wyevale has yet to introduce. "The cost of being non-compliant with chip and Pin is pretty prohibitive, and the saving from introducing it is a significant contributor to the overall cost justification of the Epos system," Jones said.
The software is being implemented by contractor Retail Business Solutions, with project management from retail specialist Paul Mason Consulting.
The Epos system will provide Wyevale with instant sales reporting for the first time. Wyevale's previous Epos system, in use since 1997, could only send sales data to the retailer's head office merchandising system in an overnight batch run.
One of the reasons that Wyevale chose Retail-J is because the supplier's Epos system had been successfully integrated elsewhere with the Mercatus merchandising system that Wyevale uses.
The merchandising system processes Wyevale's orders to its suppliers and provides the business with the information it needs to change the mix of goods in stores.
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