EPOS Stock System Optimisation
Top to Toe enables clothing, sportswear, footwear and school wear retailers to process size and colour stock seconds and to obtain analysis that would otherwise take hours and hours
“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.”
“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.”
“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)
Stock optimisation and sales optimisation:
How does an EPOS system help you?
The short answer to this lies in the management maxim: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it”.
If you want to optimise you need first to measure
If, as an example, you have 500 products in one shop and you want to manage your business efficiently then you need to know the stock, sales and order numbers for each product. So you need three numbers per product, and that’s 1,500 ever-changing numbers to manage.
If you have another shop or web sites this number will double. If you need to track clothing and footwear (where a style can have 20 size/colour combinations) then this number grows to 30,000 for just one outlet.
The sheer volume of these ever-changing numbers is so far beyond what most of us can cope with manually that it is clearly a non-starter. You need an EPOS system to cope with these numbers. And if it’s a good EPOS system it will help you turn these numbers into meaningful information that you can use to optimise what you buy, how you sell it and where you sell it.
Can you increase your optimisation – the tell-tale signs!
Yes almost certainly, you can improve your optimisation – and with it increase your profitability. Think about some of the everyday events that happen repeatedly, day in day out, in your business. Optimisation could reduce or eliminate all of these:
You bought more of a line only to find you had quite a lot left in the Sale
You sold something on the web that was out of stock
No matter how hard you try you can only get 20% of your products onto the web
Are your staffing costs unnecessarily high eg do you have a stock system that takes 15 minutes to receive in a product that Top to Toe could do in 1 minute – your adding £100’s per month to your salary bill
You didn’t discount or incentivise staff to sell poor performers early enough in the season
Does it take you more than a few weeks to spot poor performing staff?
You bought to much of a particular colours, size or product type.
Found a slow seller accumulating at one shop when it could have been sold much quicker at another.
Optimise or discount
The ‘invisible’ cost of having poor EPOS stock management for fashion, sports and footwear retailers
Optimisation delivers increased profitability, and in clothing and footwear the benchmark against which you can measure your optimisation efficiency is your seasonal Sale. If you have a seasonal Sale of any significant size then you’re almost certainly not optimising as well as you could. This means you are un-necessarily losing money!
Of course, no one can only buy items that sell out completely without any effort …and at full price. But you can buy more of them! If you can assess previous seasons – overall, by product type, by size by colour – then you will buy much better.
When you buy better you have more winners. And if winners form a higher percentage of your seasonal Buy then having more winners means that you’ll also have fewer losers – a double whammy! But optimisation does not stop there.
When the stock arrives, how you log it in, distribute and price are critical factors in maximising profitability (and minimising staff costs). There is often a slowly evolving pattern that retailers fail to quantify and so they repeat again and again many of the previous season’s mistakes. As the management guru’s say: If you cannot measure it you cannot manage it!
And at the end of the day, all this better buying, better pricing, staff incentives, optimising transfers between locations, using multiple web sites, selling poor performers early in the season, using web sites for end of lines etc can only be optimised with a really good EPOS system. A system that as well as allowing speedy and efficient input also delivers accessible and really meaningful data.
Spreadsheets to the rescue – I don’t think so!
Pen, paper and spreadsheets work to a limited degree in allowing you to input numbers, but experience shows again and again that human error undermines their precision. This means that you will not be able to rely on your stock numbers.
So all that effort is of limited use if the numbers are not reliable. You cannot be sure what was sold, you cannot know exactly what’s in stock, your web site will sell items you physically do not have, if you find somethings missing you’ll not know if it was sold inaccurately or you have a thief to track down, if you have multiple shops you cannot transfer accurately etc.
Beyond the inaccuracy that inevitably creeps in, having lots of numbers is not the same as having lots of information – if you can only make limited sense of your numbers then you are not really managing your business. This is especially trues for clothing and footwear retailers, with so many size/colour combinations per product, while some high level information such as overall cost or profit may be available, it’s almost impossible to get this same information at the style level.
Ultimately, while pen, paper and spreadsheets may be better than nothing at all, the accessibility of correctly formatted and filtered information in a spreadsheet is very limited. In addition, because its imprecise it doesn’t allow you to spot theft and is very poor when it comes web sites – which need completely accurate stock number if you are not to sell products that you don’t actually have available.
Barcode stock management:
What are SKU’s? What are barcodes and are they important?
In retail, barcodes are generally just a way of writing a products unique identifying reference number; this is sometimes referred to as an SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) – a number that only that product has. It doesn’t have to be unique per item, so if ten items are all identical then all ten can all have the same SKU. In clothing and footwear, the SKU will be per style/colour/size and possibly fit.
What makes barcodes special is that they are cheap to generate/print
Barcode scanners can instantly read the barcode and translate it back into the products unique reference number. This means that the stock management system knows which product (in what size and colour) it is dealing with.
It’s this ease and speed element that makes barcodes so significant. Simply making it easy to identify a product means that they speed up everything – from tills to mobile stock checking devices.
Surprisingly, barcodes don’t need to contain more data that the product reference number since everything else can come from data held in the stock system. So if a barcode is scanned at a till the stock system will know the current price at that location and display it. If the staff member adjust the price, the stock system should record the discount and know who gave it. Barcodes remove human error and speed everything up.
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020 3376 5888
Top to Toe, Senator House,
2 Graham Road, Hendon,
London NW4 3HJ