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STUDY: Daniel Footwear upgrades EPoS

By Retail Technology | Wednesday March 6 2013

Independent boutique retail chain grows multichannel business with cloud-based point-of-sale software

Daniel Footwear is a large, independent multichannel retailer with stores throughout the UK and an award winning e-commerce site. With their headquarters in Leeds, they specialise in providing an extensive range of on trend designer shoes, bags and accessories in a boutique retail environment.

Founded by Daniel Buck, the retailer has grown quickly from an original single store in Leeds to 31 stores in 2013. The growth has been both organic and through acquisition, and this shows no sign of stopping with further plans for future expansion of the retail estate.

In its infancy Daniel Footwear deployed a traditional electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) system to help manage their business, but they found as they grew the traditional EPoS system became a hindrance. “We could not see live stock levels,” Buck explained.

“That also meant we had to poll the stores sales and stock overnight,” added, Chris Hawker, Daniel Footwear stock control manager. It was both inefficient and slow and it was becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil the right stock to the relevant stores. Just as every organisation goes through growing pains Daniel Footwear were confronted with their own. “We made the decision we needed to switch to a more progressive system,” said Buck. “We realised that real time stock levels would allow us to run the business more efficiently.”

Finding the right fit for business

Daniel Footwear looked at several EPoS providers and chose Cybertill. “Not only did Cybertill provide live stock information (enabled by being a cloud-based EPoS system) but it was easy to use instore, and for me that is quite important. I wanted minimum disruption throughout the installation,” said Buck. “Not only that but we didn’t, and still don’t, have an IT department. As Cybertill is cloud-based we don’t need any servers, we don’t run data back-ups nor do we need to manage upgrades. We don’t touch the software we just use it to manage our business and keep our overheads low.”

With any growing organisation the management need readily available information to make informed decisions about the business, especially in retail when the stores are spread across the UK. “With Cybertill the reporting is live as well as simple to understand. So you know how each store is doing. You can monitor and oversee sales, stock, costs, margins so you get a real handle on how the business is doing,” Buck continued.

The real-time reporting allows head office to plan daily stock shipments to stores at the busiest times of the year. “Our Christmas sales started in-store yesterday,” said Hawker. “Cybertill’s live reporting allowed me to run off sales reports nationwide yesterday afternoon and get the right stock picked, packed and despatched to the stores in the evening.” The ability to know what is selling not only allows Daniel Footwear to get the right stock to the stores, but it optimises sales nationwide.

Enabling mobile information access

The cloud-based nature of the system means it can be accessed from any location on any web-enabled device, as Hawker explained: “When we’re out of the office we can act on things a lot quicker as we can access Cybertill on your phone. It is a perk to have it anywhere and instantly.”

This also helps the buyers, Buck said: “Myself and the buyers are out of the office a lot and, with smartphone technology, you can get on there and then. And I would say to anyone that owns a business ‘the beauty of being able to know how you are doing whilst you’re away is invaluable’ it really is such a bonus.”

The changing face of retail means that retailers need to have a strong presence online and a recognised brand on the High Street. “Cybertill links in real time to our e-commerce store, again which is invaluable,” he added. “It means customers online can only see stock that we have available so they are not getting frustrated and ordering lines that are out of stock.”

Staying one step ahead

Growth has been central to the success of Daniel Footwear and it is already planning for the future with Cybertill. The company recently invested in a Cybertill Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) server. It mirrors every key stroke Daniel Footwear makes in Cybertill, running a fraction of a second behind the system. The ODBC server enables access to all the data in Cybertill, but allows the company to run its own bespoke reports on it, in addition to all the reports already in Cybertill.

“Every business has its own idiosyncrasies. And the Cybertill reporting suite fulfils 99% of our needs, but there are additional reports we would like to run that are bespoke to our business. And this ODBC server gives us the ability to do that as if it was a live report. It will also allow us to ‘mine’ the data, once we have become au fait with the reporting, so we can be even more proactive and spot trends to help us add more to the bottom line,” Buck added.

“The Cybertill system has helped the business grow and the simplicity of rolling the system out across stores makes it ideal for expanding retailers,” he concluded.

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