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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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INTRODUCTION

This project seeks to answer how a retail business can benefit from implementing an electronic point of sale and inventory management system. Furthermore, it seek to discover how that system can inform the decision making procedures of management regarding business functions such as ordering, product positioning, inventory control, customer service, sales projections, demand forecasts, marketing efforts, and seasonality of products. Finally, the project explores how a new point of sale and inventory management system can benefit customers and improve the overall retail experience.

There are three main systems that can increase the profitability of a business when updating from manual checkout processes. The first is a Point of Sale (POS) system, the second is an Inventory Management (IM) system, and the third is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Updating POS and IM systems are explored within the scope of this project. The initial POS system includes the technology used to complete and record sales transactions on the sales floor. Typically it involves barcoded items, scanning devices, a checkout interface or terminal, and additional features. This recorded information enters a database which is either stored on a company server (normally bought as a software package) or stored on a cloud-based server (Software as a Service [SaaS]). A POS system is the foundation for the other two systems to function.

Inventory information collected by point of sale equipment is summarized into useful data by the Inventory Management system. The Inventory Management system tracks inventory levels for every item on the sales floor according to its stock keeping unit. It is able to produce accurate and current inventory counts based on sold and damaged items which is accessible from either a company computer (software package) or through a POS terminal (Software as a Service). An IM system is highly recommended because consistent item tracking helps improve inventory decisions and reduce inventory costs. These two system work well together: demand planning from the POS system can coincide with inventory levels and ordering policies from the IM system to greatly reduce costs.

The third system is the Customer Relationship Management system. This system manages interactions with current and future customers at both retail and wholesale levels by creating individual customer accounts. Each account links customer information with past purchases collected at the POS system. This information is accessible at any time and is used for marketing campaigns, post-purchase email reminders, newsletters, etc. The CRM system is meant to better serve customers, increase customer willingness to pay, and retain customer loyalty. It helps to keep the customer satisfied after a purchase and provides detailed records of individual customer histories. Automated email reminders can be sent to customers after a purchase with specific care instructions and product recommendations tailored to their purchase. However, this system does not affect the core operations of a business, and should be viewed as an extra benefit as opposed to a fundamental need.

CHAPTER 2

    INDUSTRY PROFILE

This project highlights a systematic method for researching, identifying, and recommending a new point of sale system for a retail business. The project engages in a case study of a retail agriculture business, Wildwood Nursery Inc., interested in updating from a manual point of sale system to an electronic system. The case study approach is the most appropriate method because it is “preferred in examining contemporary events, but when the relevant behaviors cannot be manipulated,” and when answering “how” questions which are explanatory in nature such as with the present study (Yin, 2003). This project follows that guideline as it includes an observational study that does not change existing variables. In addition, the case study uses “an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident” (Yin, 2003). From incorporating this research into the project, a case study provides the most valuable method for solving the research question regarding selecting the most effective point of sale system for a business. The methodology is broken down into three main sections: 1) initial research and current process analysis 2) new system and process evaluation, and comparison 3) final recommendation.

Section 1 examines the business needs, capabilities, and current process. It identifies a variety of factors including product requirements, checkout procedure, employee utilization, inventory tracking and methodology, and information capabilities. It creates a process map of the current checkout procedure and identifies bottlenecks, time consuming processes, and areas for improvement. This information provides the basis for researching new systems and identifies what the requirements of those systems need to include.

Section 2 involves hardware and software research and comparison. This process requires researching commercial systems offered by merchant services companies and examining what comparable industry competitors use. After identifying potential systems, further research is done by contacting the provider companies and receiving elaborate information on their offerings. This information is then aggregated and compared to better understand features, procedures, reporting capabilities, price points, and other business needs identified in section 1.

Section 3 involves creating final recommendation for system selection for use by company management. This recommendation highlights the benefits and pitfalls of one particular system which would best fit the company needs. It identifies the features, price, and return on investment if selecting that system. Additional barriers to implementation are identified such as employee training, setup time, and a learning curve.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

In traditional point‐of‐sale (POS) systems, an in‐house database server processes all sales transactions it receives from local client computers. Such systems incur high costs because of operational requirements, such as professional maintenance, the sophisticated server hardware required, and scalability requirements. For small retailers that want to use POS systems but have relatively limited financial resources, these expensive operational requirements are big obstacles. Considering these issues, the purpose of this paper is to suggest a POS system that is adequate for small businesses.

When updating from manual processes, the first system necessary is the POS system because it is the core for business analytics by providing management with access to 5 comprehensive historic sales information. POS software helps to identify “not only daily and weekly POS performance, but also inventory levels by SKU and location, order status, in-stock percentage (in-stock in a store as a percentage of shelf capacity), and warehouse and store out-of- stocks” (Shapiro, 2008). Further research shows that a POS system streamlines the process of entering inventory into a computer upon completion of sales, thereby allowing for expedited inventory management for companies still doing this counting manually (Casison, 2013). POS data can be used to create expected sales forecasts based upon previous demand. This will impact purchase orders, which “should be determined by how much end-users are likely to demand, so POS data can be used to forecast what end-users will buy” (Simon, 2008). Forecasts are a very useful tool when considering how to price items and when to reorder additional units because they identify the frequency at which items are sold.

The flexibility and automation that a new point of sale system provides over manual processes is a key motivator for upgrading systems. A POS system is a means to collect and aggregate sales data automatically, which can then be used to produce a variety of sales reports including: daily reports with historical data, six week history reports, top selling categories, top margin categories, top margin customers, top margin items, customer rank by sales, top selling items, and sales by time of day (Polanz, 2011). Specifically for the retail agriculture industry, a good system can show a manager which plants are making the most money, which ones are stagnant, and which ones maintain the highest holding costs. This knowledge is crucial when dealing with perishable goods. (Youngblood, 2013).

POS systems can also tackle issues relating to seasonality that all garden centers must consider. It is difficult to sell particular plants, such as fall blooming flowering shrubs, during the start of the season comparative to others, like annuals for window boxes or flower pots, which would sell quickly during that time. Conversely, that same flowering shrub might outsell an annual greatly at the end of the season because its value is not subject to seasonal obsolescence. Often times, “many retailers do not (fully) consider seasonality in practice because of a lack of technical capabilities” (Ehrenthal, Honhon, & Van Woensel, 2014). However, “by accounting for non- stationary demand in inventory management, retailers can reduce inventory holding, handling, and stock-out cost substantially” (Ehrenthal, Honhon, & Van Woensel, 2014). Without the proper technology, there is a gap between a manager's insight into trends and their actual patterns. A POS system tracks the sale of individual categories of plants immediately when they occur and manages every transaction completely. This provides management with a greatly enhanced ability to plan orders, plant placements, and adjust strategies for the seasonal nature of the industry (Lombardi, 2011).

Wallitsch Garden center (in [city, state] if available) implemented the CounterPoint point- of-sale system to replace its manual system and as a result experienced much greater flexibility in pricing. The company had access to new data which allowed them to “price products individually based on margin, rather than grouping products into one price point” (Anonymous, 2008a). This is a crucial ability for retail agriculture businesses; oftentimes a company purchase will include a group of different products offered at a homogenized price. These products are then sold individually in the store with varying degrees of demand. Individual pricing allows management to capitalize on those demand trends. Wallitsch Garden center experienced further flexibility by using POS data to compare the price points offered by various vendors, and in turn was able to make smarter purchasing decisions for those products. Overall, the updated system helped manage and control inventory and increased the profits of the garden center by approximately 8 percent over the course of a season (Anonymous, 2008a).

Coupling historical data trends with better buying helps to increase inventory accuracy, reduce the need for end of year clearance sales, and ultimately reduce inventory obsolescence. Lakeview Nurseries in Massachusetts utilizes a just-in-time buying policy as a result of having an electronic point of sale system, and keeps a consistent flow of healthy products all deliverable within five days (Harvey, 2013). This system has also helped reduce end of year inventory significantly by carefully managing inventory levels throughout the season. The just-in-time buying system pushes those incremental costs back up the supply chain where, at the manufacturer level, economies of scale reduce expenses.

Research has proven that switching from a manual system to a computerized inventory system improved the efficiency of purchasing. Point of sale and inventory management gathers the information pertinent to ordering, and “historical data enables you to more accurately forecast seasonal sales and make better buying decisions for the future” (Anonymous, 2008b). Orders can be created more precisely and cost effectively. Garden centers without forecast insight typically utilize push inventory systems, which requires stocking large quantities of items and marketing them to sell as fast as possible. As a result, inventory costs rise as research suggests that “every time an inventory item has a birthday, it costs the retailer 30%” (Youngblood, 2013). This is explained by the perishable nature of goods because incremental costs rise as inventory levels do; plants need water, fertilizer, adequate light conditions, and proper care. Carrying costs are naturally high in the industry, and inventory left over at the end of each year damages retailers' margins.

Both employees and customers are benefactors of implementation as manual processes typically requires heavy time inputs during checkouts and an electronic system expedites these transactions (Girsch-Bock, 2013). Electronic point of sale systems create a major competitive advantage for garden centers of any size. Customer inquiries can be handled much more quickly because “sales staff can locate stock on hand at any store location right from the POS terminal, and check the status of backorders, enabling [employees] to efficiently fulfill customer needs and move them through checkout quickly” (Anonymous, 2008b). Without inventory counts provided by an electronic POS system, employees cannot easily provide information to customers about product availability. Physical inventory counting is expedited by using sales data to keep track of current inventory levels; employees and managers no longer need to spend the day wandering the sales floor counting every item (Sandstrum, 2014).

Information obtained from POS improves marketing by helping salespersons make better judgments and ultimately practice smarter selling. Data reports highlight specific needs and eliminate guessing and biases that employees develop throughout the course of their work (Sandstrum, 2014). If need be, repositioning strategies can be applied to every item within the POS database. In particular high turnover items, like annuals, are very difficult to price individually because each specific item is relatively similar. However, there are clear trends in customer demand based upon color, variety, and growth characteristics (upright, spreading, trailing, etc) which appear in demand planning derived from POS data. Items such as roses, which normally are highly sought after plants, could be placed in the back of the center so that customers will be exposed to other plants prior to checkout (Polanz, 2005). A POS system with this ability will help able to track the sales data necessary to make better judgments on plant placement so that management can choose high margin items to place along the route to high turnover plants.

There are challenges and capital investment a garden center needs to recognize when implementing a POS system. While the advantages of a new system include inventory control, speed at checkout, and customer tracking, these systems can be complex and difficult to grasp if an employee is new to the system. In addition, while small systems can cost in the range of $1,000 to $2,000, larger more complete systems can cost in excess of $75,000. (Bame, 2008). Estimates suggest that if a garden center is making about $500,000 in revenue per year, then it is most likely losing money without a POS system.

Once a business takes the appropriate steps to implement a system and then begins forecasting, issues can arise with demand planning based upon actual sales data. Specifically, “in the event of a stockout, a backorder is not allowed, so all unfilled demand is lost... Real-world systems rarely include backordering at the retail store level and cannot record demand during stockout. Therefore, historical demand does not actually represent the amount of demand in the system, but just the amount of demand filled. Most analytical models assume complete backordering" (Nachtmann, Waller, & Rieske, 2010). It is important for a company to reduce stockouts to avoid untrackable, unfilled demand. This relates back to buying practices and smart ordering which helps to eliminate these issues. Creating accurate sales forecasts and eliminating stockouts through better buying provide synergistic effects, which increase the value of both functions individually. A forecast that best represents actual demand creates informed ordering, and informed ordering reduces inventory stockouts, leading back to forecasts more representative of actual demand.

MAJOR COMPANIES

• Bijlipay – Bijlipay is also a partner with Indian Overseas Bank's mPOS initiative. It was founded in 2012, and offers mini ATM facility to merchants as well.

• ePaisa – ePaisa terminals allow merchants to accept UPI payments and Bitcoin payments as well. Additionally it offers analytics, inventory management solutions & omni-channel payment acceptance solutions.

• Ezetap – Ezetap hardware solutions are compact and are suitable for eCommerce companies, and companies with outdoor field staff.

• HDFC Merchant Services – HDFC is the second largest acquirer bank after SBI. It also offers a mobile payment solution called ‘PayZapp for Business' to accept mobile payments through wallets or UPI.

• ICICI Merchant Services – ICICI Bank offers mPOS solutions in partnership with global payments company First Data.

• Mobiswipe – Mobiswipe offers robust hardware manufactured by POS leader, Ingenico.

• Mosambee – Mosambee also offers a mobile app specifically for accepting mobile wallet payments. Plus it offers an AADHAAR Enabled Payments System too.

• MRL Posnet – It has a digital POS solution called Paytivo, which comes with a touchscreen and a battery life of 48 hours.

• Mswipe – Mswipe also offers its proprietary hardware. It is used by several big brands in different sectors including Asian Paints, Jabong, McDonald's, Quikr, Spectranet etc.

• Paynear – Paynear also white labels its payment & hardware solutions. ICICI bank is one of its clients.

• PayU – It is also a payment gateway provider & offers quick availment of mPOS, with just the Pan Card and a cancelled cheque. It has no monthly rentals.

• Pine Labs – It claims to have over 60,000 retail merchants using its solutions. This includes large chains like Bata, Big Bazaar, CCD etc.

• SBI Merchant Acquiring Business – It also offers fixed/desktop based POS terminals. Even non-SBI merchants can use SBI's MAB Services.

GROWTH CHART

The number of point of sale (PoS) devices installed in the country is likely to increase five-fold to 76 lakh in the next five years, according to a report.

Increased penetration of debit and credit cards, growing e-commerce sector, increasing disposable incomes together with government's massive thrust on promoting a cashless economy provide a lucrative opportunity for growth of PoS devices in India, said the report.

Post-demonetisation, the PoS transactions have grown manifold in the country. The cash transactions in the country has come down, said Assocham national secretary general D. S. Rawat on the joint study by Assocham and RNCOS.

The country's retail industry together with sectors like healthcare, hospitality, food and beverage are major contributors to growing revenue of PoS market, he said.

At present, the PoS penetration in the country is just about 16 lakh and will grow at a compounded annual growth rate(CAGR) of 30%, according to the study.

The study found with over 74 crore debit and credit cards in India, there was a huge potential for growth of PoS machines. The value of transactions can reach ₹7.5 lakh crore by 2022 from ₹63,500 crore in 2016, it said.

The total transaction volume of PoS in India was 30 crore in 2016 and  likely to grow at a CAGR of 48% to reach 310 crore by the end of 2022, it said.

However, Assocham noted that issues pertaining to factors like privacy, security, trust and lack of complete integration of telecom infrastructure need to be sorted out effectively as this was a major roadblock for the industry.

SWOT ANALYSIS

STRENGTH

• Quicker registration and re-registration in instances where recipients don't have any identity files or have misplaced them.

• Want to enter a password or different verification information or any time change account information.

• Requiring simple wave of phone or payment has been made and the transaction is robotically recorded for later viewing.

• Flexibility to make payments from different accounts.

• Strong passwords ought to be enabled on the person's phones, pills, and different devices earlier than e-wallets can be used.

• Guidelines could put extra pressure on such firms which have so far enjoyed a free run.

WEAKNESSES

• Cash is more valuable than any other form of investment.

• Evolved international locations in card payments, gradual adoption of plastic collectively with the astonishing increase in smart cell phone adoption to best for e-wallet.

• Smart phone's models have changed the all over world.

• Growth is slow, flat or declining. the term can talk to the economic system as an entire or a aspect of the financial system.

• Includes learning the way to use PowerPoint, Photoshop, blogs, video recording and editing, pod-casting, and more, the way to enhance, promote, and put it on the market our

• Creative, educational and expert lives.

• Various not unusual phenomena are associated with strength, including lightning, static strength, electric heating, electric discharges and plenty of others.

OPPORTUNITIES

• Surprising extent of black cash has activated a parallel financial system within the u . s .and it influences the important sectors of the economic system.

• The authorities had expected to gather taxes, which encompass earnings tax and corporate tax.

• Irregular expenses are costs that come up throughout, to find reaching for a credit card when that expense comes up.

• Government and its supporters, pushing towards cashless or less-cash transactions, fighting corruption, to ending poverty, to modernizing society.

THREATS

• Impersonation occurs when a fraudster steals information and then poses as a genuine user to do a transaction using the stolen e-wallet details and password.

• Sophisticated threats like Man-in-the-Browser or Man-in- the-Middle attacks intercept online transactions payment data.

• Malware attacks on apps have threatened the safety of user's money.

CHAPTER 3

COMPANY PROFILE

ApnaPay is the only integrated hand-held hardware which includes Iris Authentication certified by STQC, payments via Aadhar card, UPI, debit/credit cards, mobile wallets; GST invoicing, GST returns and much more. To provide the most cost-effective way to promote Digital India. We believe that everyone should have access to advanced technology and right to Digital Governance, Digital Services and Digital Financial Inclusion. Apnapay BANK IN A BOX can help you convert your existing merchant base into Banking Correspondents. The solution also fits the needs of your merchants with Smart, Biometric enabled PoS hardware. Secure FinTech bus that does on boarding, inventory management, payments, invoicing and billing, and settlements, GST Compliance. Biometric capability of ApnaPay device is UIDAI compatible. It allows

• Customer authentication

• Customer EKYC

• Instant customer onboarding

ApnaPay device is equipped to handle card as well as low cost card-less (AEPS, UPI) transactions for

• Cash Withdrawals

• Cash Deposits

• Money Transfers

Using ApnaPay device the customer can

• Check Account Balance

• Print Mini Statement

• Print Mini Statement

• Update Account Info

The curated ApnaPay MERCHANT IN A BOX platform allows SMEs to

• Perform Sale, Purchase entries

• Inventory management

• Accept payments through AADHAAR, BHIM, BHARAT QR, CARDS, CASH, WALLETS

• See through various sales, settlement reports

• GST filing as well as tax payment

ApnaPay is committed to helping India to become a leader in digital services and payments. The unique platform offered by the company enhances the reach of Digital India to the rural parts of the country.

MARKETING STRATEGY OF APNAPAY

 TARGETING RURAL AREA : Rural Indians have been getting online in increasing numbers, and are expected to catch up with urban India by 2020, when 48% of the online population will be from rural India (up from 36% in 2016). And if Digital India delivers on its promise, rural India will likely soon outnumber urban India online for a more real representation of the country. Previously underserved rural areas will have the benefit of remote access to a range of digital services, including healthcare, education and banking. Recently everyone came to know that services can be provided and accessed digitally even where no physical banks or branches exist.

 EMAIL MARKETING : Sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.

 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING :

• Facebook

• Instagram

• Twitter

• Pinterest

• LinkedIn

• YouTube

 TARGETING GOVERNMENT SECTORS

 FOCUSING MORE ON BANKS

     

    

     CHAPTER 4

ISSUES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE ORGANIZATION

• Multiple Configurations: Testing a POS application with different settings and configurations is a cumbersome task. Test cases should be designed covering each and every scenario (positive or negative) in detail. Therefore significant budget should be put in testing of such applications to prevent any major issues at the customer end.

• Peripheral issues: The peripheral issues may be related to devices which are connected to a POS like barcode scanners, scales, printers, towers and cash drawers.

• Complex interfaces: Integration of POS System involves numerous interconnected systems and third party elements. Systematic test design techniques are followed to reduce the complexity of interfaces

• Test Lab Maintenance: As a significant amount of hardware is normally connected to a POS, so it requires a large amount of space to house this hardware. You also have to put some effort and expense in to keeping the hardware is in good repair.

• Upgrades: Rapid technological advancements necessitate a frequent hardware and software upgrades which requires more infrastructure.

• PCI Compliance: Care must be taken to adopt of PCI-compliant, tamper-proof infrastructure at all POS terminals to protect cardholder data and identity.

• Rapid innovation in technology– The modern POS must deliver the reimagined connected customer experience, while still adhering to the POS ‘fundamentals' of high transaction speed, flexible payment options and robust security.

• Managing Promotional Offers/ Discounts – This is a complex testing area which can give rise to multiple challenges. Since promotions are short-lived by nature and not applicable everywhere, testing for discount and coupons requires extra care.

• Online security & Mobile POS Security-Care must be taken to meet security requirements across the online and mobile platforms. Testing practices must therefore create a security testing framework and include tools to minimize the security risk of the web/mobile interface for the customers. Besides, the sheer number of POS applications, POS credit card enabled mobile apps, credit card reader devices, and wireless technology, necessitate thorough security checks for the core infrastructure.

     FUTURE OF APNAPAY

Brands are now merging their physical and digital channels on a single platform to deliver the seamless, consistent, unified commerce experience that shoppers crave. As part of this evolution, they are introducing new store capabilities and new transaction types. For example, services such as click ‘n collect, endless aisle and last-mile delivery give shoppers options and allow retailers to provide a more flexible, personalized shopping experience. These new services facilitate shoppers' interactions with the brand, leading to stronger customer relationships and increases in both conversion and basket size. Today, the POS market in India is huge. In fact, we no longer define POS as Point of Sales, we prefer to call it Point of Service. Look at the spread and reach of the POS industry in modern, digitalized India. From the milk packet that gets delivered at our doorstep in the morning to newspapers, soaps, white goods to even vegetables, every transaction we do, every receipt we get, comes printed with a barcode. APNAPAY is a smart device which includes all the payment methods. There is not any device in market which have IRIS authentication for payments.  India POS terminals market stood at $ 235.57 million in 2016, and is forecast to exhibit a CAGR of more than 11%, in value terms, during 2017-2022, to reach $ 724.14 million by the end of 2022, primarily owing to increasing government focus and initiatives aimed at digitizing the country's economy. In 2016, retail sector accounted for the largest market share in India POS terminals market, on the back of increasing awareness among retailers about the benefits of POS terminals. Increasing use of new technologies such as mobile wallets, rising demand from the urban population for more secure ways of making transactions and ease of use associated with POS terminals are expected to fuel demand for POS terminals in India during the forecast period.  

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