Having outgrown the point-of-sale software it had been using for more than five years, Montreal-based fashion retailer Ardène found a better fit in Accpac ePOS point-of-sale and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software from Sage Software Inc..
Jerry Dervishian, vice-president of operations for Ardène, which sells women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories in about 300 stores across Canada, said the chain’s old point-of-sale software couldn’t keep up with Ardène’s growth, and software crashes were causing problems. So the company went shopping for a replacement. Ardène finished rolling out Accpac ePOS to all its locations around the beginning of this year, Dervishian said, and “it’s been great. We’re loving it.”
A key requirement for Ardène was integration of the point-of-sale system with its back-end accounting. Acquiring Accpac ePOS and ERP allowed the company to do that easily. What this means for Ardène, Dervishian said, is that sales data from all the stores’ registers goes into its accounting system automatically through a daily upload.
“Every day, each store sends information to head office and it’s automatically put right into the (general ledger),” Dervishian said. Previously, sales data had to be sent to head office and then entered manually in the accounting system.
Integrating ERP and POS has other benefits too, notes Hemant Makhija, director of product management at Sage in Pleasanton, Calif. For instance, price changes and promotions can be entered in one place and propagated throughout the operation. And a salesperson at any register can see inventory information not only in that store but in other stores, so that if an item is out of stock it’s possible to find out of a neighbouring store has it.
This integration also accounted for most of the work of implementing the system, though. Since it was Ardène’s first experience with integrating point-of-sale and accounting software, Dervishian said, the major challenges were in getting the logic right, making sure data came from the right places and went to the right places.
From choosing the software to completing implementation of the ERP and POS systems and rolling out POS clients to the chain’s 300 stores took about 18 months altogether, Dervishian said.
Dervishian said Ardène also liked Accpac’s ease of use and customizability. The Accpac software makes it possible to customize the computer keyboard to suit the store’s needs, he said, and “we were able to really control everything that our employees would see on their screens and make it user-friendly.”
“That’s what was beautiful about it,” he said. “The point of sale became so self-explanatory that training was very minimal.”
Whereas training a new employee on the chain’s old point-of-sale systems could take several days, said Dervishian, with Accpac ePOS “I think an employee could get up and running and start ringing in sales within maybe an hour.”
According to Makhija, the Accpac software is designed for companies of all sizes. The initial licence for the ePOS software costs US$2,000 including one register, and US$1,000 per additional register. The system is Internet-based, with most of the functionality running on a central server and only a small component installed on the local PC, he added.