February 18, 2002, 12:00 AM

POS: Specialty chains` weak link in CRM efforts

The majority of retailers cannot access customer information through their POS terminals, says LakeWest Group’s 2002 Annual POS Benchmarking Survey, just out this month.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

As retailers struggle with implementing customer relationship management systems, the POS terminal is a key point not only for gathering data but also for interacting with the customer based on the customer’s value to the retailer . But the majority of retailers cannot access customer information through their POS terminals, says LakeWest Group Ltd.’s 2002 Annual POS Benchmarking Survey, just out this month.

While 59% of the Top 100 specialty chains that LakeWest surveyed for the benchmarking study can view information about multi-channel customers at the corporate level, only 41% said information about customers was accessible at the POS terminal. Web-enabling POS terminals would be a key step in making CRM information available throughout a chain.

However, the same survey reports that 51% of the Top 100 specialty chains do not plan to upgrade their POS systems for at least four years and 33% believe they won’t need new POS systems for seven years. Retailers with the oldest POS systems--7 years or older--plan to replace them within four years. And when they do replace them, they will be looking at the POS terminals as communications devices, LakeWest says. “Enhanced connectivity is one of the top priorities retailers have with regard to their POS system,” LakeWest reports.

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