Apparel POS & Apparel EPOS

Compared to general systems, specialist apparel EPOS system should more than treble your productivity.

“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

Your own time and staff time are scarce commodities – there is only so much of it available. You need to make sure that your input time is minimised and the valuable, profit generating, analysis can be usefully accessed – for apparel retailers this means a specialist system is a ‘must’..

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

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Product entry by size and colour can take 30 minutes per style in a general system and only 1 minute in a specialist system

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See your data in the appropriate format. Because you’re working in sizes and colours, you require a system that presents that data in an easy to read format – not a generic one.

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Knowing your stock and sales allows you to buy smarter, see trends and get ahead of the competition!

Apparel POS Systems/Apparel EPOS:
The apparel ‘problem’ defined

From a stock management perspective, apparel is unlike almost any other retail business, because so many products have multiple sizes and colours for the same style.

It’s hard to underestimate the significance of this simple statement

Sizes and colours are, literally, woven into the fabric of the apparel industry- they are everywhere. This means that information on a style overall, but also on its sizes and on its colours, needs to be everywhere in your stock management EPOS system. But normal stock systems present a line of data for each separate size and colour – so not on the style overall, not on the total stock and not on the total sales.

Don’t get the totals for each style without a lot of extra work

Yet the only way we humans can quickly and intuitively access how a style is performing overall is to see these totals. Totals for stock, totals for sales, totals for values – seeing lots of separate sizes and colours does not give us these. Surprisingly, normal / general stock system will just not give you these total.

But it gets still more challenging. What if you want ‘total sales per colour’ or ‘total stock available for a size’ – vital information, but once again for users of general systems it’s a lot of extra work with pen, paper and a calculator.

The only practical solution known to mankind
is to have two different things:

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Totals per style

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A size/colour matrix grid that includes all the various colour and size totals

With these two separate ways of looking at your data you can instantly and intuitively assessed what’s happening and, critically, what actions you need to take.

A general system however only gives you each size and colour on one separate line, if a style has six sizes and three colours then what you get is 18 lines – and usually no totals at all. Firstly, you have no totals for the style overall. Secondly you have no totals by colour and no totals by size.

If you do the maths for one style with six sizes and three colours, then to get the totals for the stock numbers overall plus size and colour totals takes 10 separate calculations for stock and 10 for your sales. That’s 20 separate calculations per channel. You could do all these 20 separate calculations per style yourself every time you want to assess or compare styles – or you can look for a stock management EPOS system that does it for you.

But because the requirement for style totals + a size/colour matrix is everywhere in apparel, it cannot be successfully added to a ‘size/colour per line’ general EPOS system as an afterthought. To get a system that lets you flip between 1) style totals + 2) a size/colour, matrix these have to be woven into the fabric of your stock management systems from the very beginning of its design. So to be efficient you need to identify a specialist EPOS system.

Apparel POS Software/Apparel EPOS:

General v Specialist systems

So as you can see above, you need style totals + a size/colour matrix to make sense of the data in your stock system. Having the data line by line is not enough – it all has to be presented in the right way to turn it into useful information.

As a consequence, this gives us our definition of a specialist apparel system; the availability of both 1) style totals + 2) a size/colour matrix per style. And like all systems, a systems suitability for apparel fits into a sliding scale with totally general systems at one end, adapted general systems in the middle and truly specialist apparel systems at the other end.

Retail EPOS systems:

How can you tell where they are on the General v Specialist sliding scale?

The best guide is to examine how pervasive 1) style totals + 2) a size/colour matrix’s are throughout a system; the more they appear together the better.

The greater the frequency of these critical apparel features the more efficient the system will be and the better the result you’ll get from it – while at the same time putting in far less effort and less salary costs. To varying degrees different systems will have more or less of these features (a more structured list of features is detailed below).

EPOS System Differences

You may be surprised to hear but hardly any stock management EPOS systems will make special provision for sizes and colours – 99% will not even have a size/colour matrix anywhere.

Of the remaining few some will allow you to use a matrix so that you can create all the sizes and colours via one screen (its quicker than creating them one by one) but after that each separate size and colour is shown as its own individual line.

Other general systems may add one or two specialist reports in order to allow users to see style totals and/or a report that lets users see variants displayed in a size/colour matrix format.

For apparel retailers these systems are usually better than general systems, but because the specialist features are only in 10% of the system they only address 10% of the issues clothing and footwear retailers face. The crucial test is the extend to which style totals + a size/colour matrix’s appear in the systems interactive user interface.

If style totals + a size/colour matrix’s appear throughout a systems interactive user interface then it is a specialist system. But even then, very significant differences may remain. For example, it is possible that style totals are in one section of a systems interface while size/colour matrix’s are in another.

Remember we want 1) style totals + 2) a size/colour matrix’s together as far as is possible, because they are essentially the opposite sides of the same style coin – users need fast access to both.

Similarly, the ability to get analysis easily is critical. Sometimes by style, sometimes by matrix, sometime grouped by colour or size – the systems flexibility and ease will open up large areas for growth and increased profitability, or close off areas so effectively that you may not even notice they are missing… but your bottom line will !

An example

Apparel POS software/Apparel POS systems v General systems

If you’re a general retailer and you need to know how many Mars bars you have in stock then the answer is broadly just one number, and a second number for your sales. However, if you’re an apparel retailer and want to know the stock of a standard jacket (that comes in 6 sizes and three colours), then you need to know 18 separate stock numbers, with matching sales figures that’s 36 numbers overall.

Critically though, just knowing the stock and sales numbers by themselves is not enough. A list of 36 numbers is pretty meaningless by itself. To give it meaning you need totals, such as ‘total sales per colour’ or ‘total stock available for a size’ or ‘total sales for the style overall’. If all you have is a list of numbers then to get these totals you need to add-up the numbers in all the varied combinations required.

What this means is that for both stock and sales you’ll have 20 calculations per style even if you only sell at one shop or on one web site; practically speaking you will almost never do this basic maths. It’s a lot more calculations per style if your selling on multiple channels. It is for this reason that a specialist system can make a truly massive difference to data input times + provide analysis that a retailer would just not have time to get if they didn’t have a specialist system – but it is vital, money making, information !

You can keep doing this manually, adding up the numbers you want from a list, or you can use a size/colour matrix – in a matrix the numbers are far more intuitive, and all the totals are available. Compare some of the screens on this page and see our General v Specialist video; what takes 5 minutes using a list takes just a second or two using a size/colour matrix screen – that’s a 1,500% advantage for Top to Toe users.

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Top to Toe, Senator House,
2 Graham Road, Hendon,
London NW4 3HJ

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