Zak Stambor , Managing Editor
UK based retail software vendor CTS Retail, is launching a new retail IT solution called Cervello, which will be commercially available for free from early January 2010. The way in which this software will be delivered, at no cost, either as a hosted service via cloud computing or as a managed service locally, will allow retailers for the first time to adopt solutions that normally require upfront investments of sometimes millions of pounds. Instead, retailers pay just a few pence per transaction, based on the volume of business. No additional hardware expenses are required, nor maintenance or upgrades, which are all done automatically at no extra cost.
“The very seasonal nature of retail makes the spreading of IT costs, based on the volumes of sales, an attractive one,” says Scott Storey, managing director of CTS Retail. “Every retailer we speak to wants to keep IT spending down to a minimum and in proportion to the current trading environment.”
Research by Martec International, in its IT in Retail 2009/10 report, revealed that investment in store systems is the number one priority for retailers, while most retailers are looking to cut costs in the next few years. The introduction of such a service comes at a time when many retailers are still struggling to get to grips with the recession, with several high street names already having gone into administration in the last year.
Before developing the new product, the company spoke to a number of retailers, and many financial directors voiced support about being able to free-up cash and turn capital IT expenditure into less burdensome, day-to-day operating expenses. Retail IT directors, on the other hand, expressed concerns about the continual, spiralling costs of upgrades with software implementations, as well as integration issues and adaptability of conventional vendor offerings.
Although many software vendors are turning to new ways of delivering services to customers, including the now popular Software as a Service (SaaS) model (a sort of pay-as-you-go concept for software services via the internet), none have yet to offer resilient retail-ready software with a pay per transaction cost model.
The Cervello point-of-sale software, which does everything from managing transactions on tills and recording data on stocks and sales, as well as allowing staff to track and order merchandise from the warehouse or store, will work in any environment, including on laptops and portable handheld devices.
Storey says that Cervello is ideally suited to multi-site retailers, wanting to control IT expense, and have sophisticated technology to manage the business in a multi-channel age. However, even the largest retailers are going to be attracted by something that comes for free and enables them to spread IT investments as they grow, or cut costs as they downsize.
The software is currently being beta-tested in joint development with a multi-channel retailer, Tile Choice, and several other existing clients of CTS Retail are expected to take on the new product when it becomes commercially available.
“For a multi-channel retailer with over £5million invested in stock and a vast range available for immediate delivery or selection from our various stores, we needed a reliable retail solution to manage the business but one that wouldn’t soak-up too much cash,” says Kevin Beasley, managing director at Tile Choice. “Our staff appreciate software that’s easy to use and something that works anywhere as a standalone solution. This is particularly useful for buyers travelling around, or when checking stock and raising multiple orders from our 30,000 square foot warehouse.”
Case Study 1 – Small, multi-channel retailer
Small retailers can use the same sophisticated software as large multiples, for a fraction of the cost, and the solution grows with the business according to its needs. Loyalty schemes, promotional tools and inventory management can all be used right across the business.
Case Study 2 – Football club retailer
Over 60,000 people flood to the club’s stadium on match days and many go the store to purchase memorabilia, but only a handful of transactions are required for much of the rest of the year. So paying weekly rentals all year, on multiple tills, with software costs on top, isn’t ideal. With Cervello, there are no additional costs for adding extra tills as and when required, as it’s still based on ‘pence per transaction.’
Case Study 3 – Large, multiple retailer
1 pence per transaction on all sales isn’t going to break the bank, and during slack times, IT costs are lower. The Cervello software integrates seamlessly to other in-house or ERP solutions and can easily be personalised to suit the company’s own preferences or brand image.
About CTS Retail
CTS Retail is a UK based retail software vendor with over twenty-six years of experience and has provided point-of-sale solutions and IT services to retailers, including Homebase, Wickes, Office World , Adel, Topps Tiles and Charterhouse. The company is also a Microsoft gold partner for supplying various Microsoft industry solutions to retailers. Visit www.cervello-pos.co.uk
For more information, please contact:
Tel: +33 (0)467 660621