Clothing Retailers

POS Software varies dramatically between general systems, designed for all types of retailers, and systems designed especially for clothing retailers.

“For someone using a ‘general (non-size/colour) system’ like we used to, I’d certainly recommend that they move over to Top to Toe”

Mr Cricket (Sportswear)

“5 stars all round, great product and you couldn’t ask to speak to friendlier people.”

Eccleshall Saddlery (Equestrian)

“Even the new sales assistants can adapt to Top to Toe within minutes.”

Pie Clothing (Fashion)

“Top to Toe have greatly helped us manage & develop our stock system over the last few years. Their helpful & knowledgeable staff are always on hand to help.”

Tacklebag (Sportswear)

“Once the products are on Top to Toe, it’s very easy to then put those products onto a website.”

Angels Uniforms (Schoolwear)

“Friendly EPOS, insightful reporting facilities, seamless website integration and a friendly customer care & training team.”

RunPod (Footwear)

“Cannot praise the technical team enough, whenever we have issues they are always on hand, efficient, quick and get the problem resolved quickly! Excellent service.”

Sheen Sports (Sportswear)

“We used to do stock management manually. Top to Toe came to make such a big difference to all of our staff.”

Uniform 4 Kids (Schoolwear)

“Top to Toe has a really easy way of spotting trends – I’m able to identify what sizes, colours and styles are selling best. It’s intuitive, anyone can use it”

Claudio Lugli (Fashion)

“Incredibly easy to use, saving me hours upon hours per week. It’s both transformed my business and my day-to-day tasks.”

Michael Leigh Menswear (Fashion)

“Top to Toe was a revelation – we run much more efficiently now. We couldn’t run our business in the current climate without it”

Burrs Shoes (Footwear)

“Within seconds you can find things incredibly quickly using Top to Toe’s filter. Previously, we were trawling through lines and lines of data”

Uniform 4 Kids (Schoolwear)

Benefits Summary

Unnecessary time taken to input garments results in increased salary bills. Poorly presented size/colour data makes meaningful assessment almost impossible. Limited reporting flexibility creates an ‘invisible’ glass ceiling – so that really valuable, profit generating, questions are so difficult to obtain that the questions themselves do not even come to mind

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Your styles presented as whole products (not as a list of separate sizes/colours)

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Whole products presented ‘side by side’ so that each whole garment can be compared against other garments

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Each garments’ sizes and colour displayed in a matrix format (not as a list of separate sizes/colours)

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Matrix size/colour formats available throughout – not just in one or two ‘grafted on’ reports

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Apparel products are so different to ‘normal’ products that a specialist system can make a really vast difference

Clothing Inventory Software

Inventory Management for Clothing Retail Stores

Because the basic structure of clothing products is different to other retail sectors (except footwear), this site explains why size/colour inventory software needs to be built from the ground upwards especially for clothing retailing. It cannot be successfully adapted from other types of inventory software.

Every size and colour of, say, a jacket is different to very other size/colour for the same jacket – they need to be tracked separately, but are also part of the overall jacket style. So you need you’re your data in two completely different ways; sometimes as a whole style – a one line summary of all size/colours combined, sometimes as a matrix of sizes and colours showing totals for sizes, colours, locations etc.

That’s not what a general stock system does, a general stock system treats every size/colour as a completely separate product. In a specialist clothing system, a jacket that comes in ten sizes and three colours is just one product, handled as a whole… but in a general system it is 30 separate jackets – one for each size/colour combination.

This web site explores the varied aspects of that basic General v Clothing Specialist difference, but the conclusion overall is that your short list should only every include genuinely specialist clothing systems – not something adapted with occasional nods to whole garments and the inclusion of a few size/colour matrix reports.

Fashion Inventory Management Software

Every stock system can, in theory, manage the stock for any fashion/clothing shop. The thing to watch out for however is how well they can do this.

Below is a list of apparel features you should watch out for. It’s not exclusive, although it’s a good start. The key when evaluating systems against the Check List is really their ‘accessibility’. This term covers ease of use, speed of use and the clarity of the output – so your judgement is critical.

Don’t think you can assess this without looking at the software itself, ‘in-action’. Forget all the “easy”, “clear”, “intuitive” claims – take a look, and if you need to, take a second or third look. As an ‘obvious’ example see the two claims below:

System 1 Claim: “Our system gives you the size and colour data you need to really manage your apparel business”

System 2 Claim: “Our system will enable you to clearly assess your fashion business and see what is really happening so that you can take decisive action”

Which system would you buy? The truth is that both claims have their appeal. For example, Claim 1 seems to offer the detail you need.

However, this is what Claim 1 really means when they say “gives you the size and colour data you need:

Claim 2 is referring to exactly the same data – however, that same data is presented in a matrix format (not a list). Take a look and compare the two formats – it seems obvious which one will give you the best chance of managing your business well:

Clothing System Check List

The more of these that are available all together, in one screen, the better

Interactive screen

Highly Desirable

There is a great advantage in seeing everything on an interactive screen (rather than a fixed report).

Navigation

Highly Desirable

The more of the system features that are available, all together on one screen, then the better – as everything is immediately to hand and you don’t have to navigate through an often-extensive menu system.

Functionality

Critical

Check that the system does the main key tasks that you need it to do. Check for yourself how achievable these goals really are if you were using the software in a real business situation.

Note that as a feature becomes more complicated/time consuming to use then in practice the features functionality becomes increasingly limited. For most purposes, very complicated/time consuming features should be treated as being unavailable in all practical senses.

Integrations

(Web links and accounts etc) | Critical

UK businesses need their stock management software to support the government’s Making Tax Digital program (MTD).

In addition, you should ensure that the system can link to your own company web site and the marketplace web sites you will need eg Amazon, Ebay etc. As with all features there will be a vast difference as to how these are executed between systems.

Note: Taking a simple example, MTD generally requires an export to Excel. Even where systems do this, one system may do it so that the resulting Excel file can easily and quickly be used by your accounts package. Another system may create an Excel file that then takes you three rather challenging hours to format correctly, before it can then be used by your accounts package. This type of difference applies to many integrations, especially web sites.

Basic style information

Critical

Can you get on one screen multiple garments showing all of the following?
As a minimum per style:Reporting categories eg Department, Type, Supplier. Total stock quantity and total stock value. Total sales quantity and total sales value.

Auto barcode production

Critical

Where you need the system to generate your own barcode/pricing labels it’s very important that this is automated, based upon the stock receipts you will have entered.

If not automated then you effectively have to enter stock receipts twice, and often into different parts of the same system eg as stock receipts and then later into a label generation screen.

Best and worst seller info

Critical

A ranking of best/worst sellers for a) per garment overall and b) per style/size/colour.

It’s important you can do this a number of different ways eg by unit sales, by sales value, by profitability etc.

Configurable interactive screen

Highly Desirable

Let’s you decide, and change your mind easily, about what is important for you to see on screens.

Minimum data entry

Highly Desirable

You should never have to enter the same data twice. Once a data entry has been made the system should use that same data wherever it is needed.

For example, if you enter web pictures or descriptions just once in your hub system then it should propagate these automatically to all the web sites you use.

Product creation

(And transfers where applicable) | Highly Desirable

This needs to be simple and, because you will need to create hundreds of new garments every year, it needs to be quick. This is something you can test with a stop-watch.

Product creation for a complete style, in all its sizes and colours inc barcode label generation, should be below 5 minutes, ideally lower still. If you transfer between locations then your manual adjustments should be well below 1 minute (for a complete garment style, per location) 

Reports Filtering

Critical

A way to limit what you see, so you only see what is needed.

Examples: Only see styles summaries (ie all size/colour data is added together for you, per garment); explicitly display size/colour data (for clarity this would be in a matrix format); show jackets only, or only see styles for a particular supplier, show just the poor sellers by garment, show only the best sellers etc.

Basic size/colour information

(Matrix format, not a list) | Critical

Stock: A size/colour stock matrix with totals for all sizes and all colours of a garment – for each location.

Sales: A size/colour sales matrix with totals for all sizes and all colours of a garment – for each sales location and each sales channel.

Auto feed to tills and web sites

Critical

Products and data entered into your hub stock management system should be automatically sent to one or more web site and then stock positions automatically updated by the system – especially web site stock displays.

Fit

(Optional) | Critical (If part of your project range)

If fits form an important part of your clothing range, check that the system accommodates fit.
This is especially valid if you sell these styles on the web, as it ensures that web users will be able to search your web site(s) by fit.

POS Software for clothing (and sportswear) retail

POS System Clothing Check List (EPOS Checks)

In addition to the Hub list above you should check the shop Point of Sale touch screen software for the following features

Size of Buttons / Text size

Highly Desirable

Modern touch screen till software should be designed for use with human fingers. Some tills however have small buttons that are more suited to use with a mouse – so the till is ‘fiddley’ to use and navigate on a day to day basis. This will increase customer processing time and increase mistakes.

Missing barcode search

Critical

It’s almost inevitable that sometimes a barcode label will come off a garment, be unavailable or damaged but the sale still needs to be processed there and then at a till.

It is absolutely vital that there is an easy process to correctly identify the correct garment, size and colour. If the style being sold is not identified, or identified incorrectly, then your stock/sales records immediately become wrong – with dire consequences for trust in your system and your web sites accuracy.

Do a stop watch test. As a guide, from seeing an unidentified product at the till you should be aiming to use the system to identify the style, then the size and colour, in well under 30 seconds.

Basic Functionality

Critical

Check that the system does the main key tasks that you need it to do:

A Quick Functionality Check List:

  • Basic taking of money / record sales functions
  • Producing / tracking credit notes, deposit notes and gift vouchers.
  • Stock lookup (also see separate point re this)
  • Meaningful X / Z reports and other useful performance indicators
  • Optional customer sales data capture
  • Optional credit card clearance integration (initially or longer term you may want to run separate credit card machines)

Check for yourself how achievable these are to use when you are in a real life retail situation.

Configurable interactive screen

Highly Desirable

Let’s you decide what is important for you to see on main till/EPOS screen, and to change your mind relatively easily.

Stock Lookup

(Matrix format, not a list) | Highly Desirable

You can make a big impact on your sales, and use of staff time, if your till gives you instant access to accurate stock information.

This means that you need a quick and efficient way of identifying the correct style and then the stock for the size and colour required (a size/colour matrix display makes a big difference here).  Note that stock positions should be available for all locations including any separate storage areas, not just for the shop where the till is based.

Do a stop watch test. As a guide, from seeing a completely unidentified product at the till you should be aiming to use the system to identify the correct style, then the size and colour, in well under 30 seconds.

Background data exchange

Highly Desirable

If you require data to be up to date then it’s vital that data exchanges with tills (and for that matter with web sites) are done automatically for you – they should not be subject to manual processes.

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