February 14, 2002, 12:00 AM

In spite of the talk, specialty chains have yet to embrace web-enabled POS

Only 27% of the top 100 specialty chains have web-enabled POS technology and 18% expect to install it in 12 to 18 months, says a new report from LakeWest Group. 35% have no plans or are unsure of their plans for web-enabled POS.


Retailers are moving slowly to adopt web-enabled POS systems, says LakeWest Group Ltd.’s 2002 Annual POS Benchmarking Survey of the top 100 specialty chains, out this week. Only 27% of chains have web-enabled POS technology and another 18% expect to install such technology in the next 12 to 18 months. A full 35% have no plans or are unsure of their plans for web-enabled POS systems.

“The benefits of these new forms of connectivity are vast,” the report says. “Besides being able to transmit sales, inventory and price changes in real time, connected POS systems can also allow a retailer to exchange training materials, plan-o-grams, and HR benefits information, as well as to increase the timeliness of credit card transactions. This increased connectivity leads to improved customer service at the store level.”

Specialty retailers with web-enabled POS devices use the systems primarily for centralized look-up, cited by 30% of users, and communication, also 30%. Other uses include online ordering for store pick-up, 10%, access to store inventory, 5%.

LakeWest says customer service is the motivator of web-enabled POS systems. “The use of web-enabled technology could contribute to improved customer service levels and could provide retailers with a significant advantage over their competition,” the report says.

LakeWest says that customers who are offered access to the retailers’ web site at the store perceive that they are receiving better customer service. In addition, the average ticket of such customers increases. Yet only 6% of the top 100 specialty chains have access to the web site through the POS terminal and 12% have access to the web site from some device in the store.

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