As part of its multi-channel strategy, The Gap Inc. is moving toward web-enabled POS terminals in all stores following a recent pilot, Cornell Williams, vice president-direct and chief technology officer for The Gap, told attendees Tuesday at the eTail 2003 East conference in Boston. Web-enabled POS is only in a pilot stage now, he said, but that will change. ”We will aggressively move forward to roll it out chainwide,” Williams said.
The benefits of web-enabled POS are several, he said. For starters, having the web accessible by employees at the POS terminal allows sales associates to look up products online and order them for the customer, thus potentially saving a sale. “It allows the store associate to do everything you can do at the web site,” he said. For another, it can provide customer data automatically to the store. “If the customer is registered with us online, when she shops at a store the system populates the order at the store with the customer information we’ve gathered in the web,” Williams said.
The new web-enabled POS terminals have full keyboards and screens, which the previous devices did not have.
Creating a successful program with web-enabled POS requires more than just technology upgrades, Williams said. Management must work closely with store personnel and particularly sales associates to ensure success. “We are putting a lot of emphasis on training because the web-based POS program is only as good as the store associates’ knowledge of how to use it,” he said. “We want to make sure the associates understand the company’s philosophy as to why we’re doing this. It’s a challenge.”