When James Dickenson recognised the need for a retail operation that would offer customers technologically advanced sportswear, he moved boldly into a market that has been dominated for years by “big name” operations.
In December 2007 and after extensive work in developing a sportswear range that figured only best-of-breed products, James opened Sports.Lab for business in the high profile Westfield Doncaster shopping centre.
Complementing the advanced product range is an equally advanced retail POS solution consisting of Toshiba ST-A10 TouchPOS terminals running Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems (RMS) and Toshiba TRST-A10 thermal POS printers.
Challenge: The best POS at every level
Starting a new retail operation in an industry where well-established competitors have been working for years – if not decades – on implementing systems to streamline operations and provide customers with an excellent in-store experience is a hard ask of anyone. For James, it meant hitting the ground running with a retail POS solution that was tried, tested and carried with it the all important vendor and solution provider
support. “I had a number of very clear requirements in mind for the Sports.Lab POS system,” James says, “and they all boiled down to the need for reliability, functionality, robustness, ease-of-use and style.”
Solution: Toshiba TEC and Advantage Solutions
Having evaluated numerous hardware and software solutions along with the support he could expect from the various solution providers, James made the decision to partner with Toshiba TEC solution provider, Advantage Solutions.
As for the POS solution itself – two systems each consisting of a Toshiba ST-A10 TouchPOS terminal running Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management Systems (RMS) and a Toshiba TEC TRST-A10 thermal POS printer.
In recommending the Toshiba TEC-based solution for Sports.Lab, Advantage Solutions Managing Director, Richard Maurer, states: “Given that RMS is software developed for the Windows operating system, many retailers opt for an inexpensive PC for their POS terminals, which can easily be a false economy. What they fail to realise is that the reliability of the POS hardware is one of the most crucial factors in a streamlined retail environment; and this is one of main reasons we recommended
the Toshiba ST-A10 TouchPOS terminal – total reliability!”
There’s a definite image that Sports.Lab is setting out to project – an image of quality and style designed to set the company well apart from its competitors. According to James, the Toshiba ST-A10 TouchPOS terminal represents a perfect fit for that image. “When I saw the Toshiba ST-A10, I immediately sent an SMS to my store designer, which said simply: bringing sexy back,” he says.
In discussing his reaction to the design of the terminal – which was awarded the 2007 G-Mark Good Design Award in Japan – James makes particular note of its simplicity of design. “The fact that the terminal takes less space on the counter than a piece of A4 paper; and everything – including the cables – is contained in a single streamlined housing tells me that the system has been designed by a company that understands retail business,” he says.
“It’s important to appreciate that when customers come into the store, they’re doing so because they are conscious about quality and
style,” James continues. “From my perspective, the quality and style must be demonstrated at every level of the business. With the Toshiba TouchPOS terminal, my customers are having their transactions processed quickly and professionally; and they see that our
commitment to style and advanced technology extends right through to the
point of sale.
“When you consider that the customer’s last point of
contact with a retailer is the point of sale, then you appreciate just how
important it is that their experience at that point gives a lasting impression.”
Keeping it easy
With his eyes fixed firmly on a future in which Sports.Lab emerges as a significant player in the sportswear industry, James recognises that business expansion demands a uniform POS solution that is easily managed and maintained – yet more reasons behind his decision to standardise on Toshiba TEC retail technology.
“I definitely have plans to increase the number of Sports.Lab stores,” James states. “And with the Toshiba TEC and RMS system from Advantage Solutions, I consider myself in a position where I’m able to concentrate on expansions strategies without having to concern myself with the POS systems.”
Key among the features of the Toshiba TEC POS hardware that contribute to James’ decision to mark it as the standard for all future Sports.Lab outlets is its absolute ease-of-use. “I need my staff to be concentrating on customers rather than the POS systems,” he says. “With the TouchPOS terminal, for example, the touch screen itself is clear and bright, regardless of a store’s lighting conditions, and even the paper rolls for the Toshiba
printer can be changed in matter of seconds.
“The entire solution,” James continues, “is one that I will be able to roll out to new stores, confident in the fact that staff members can learn how to use it quickly and concentrate on customers’ needs. I believe that a POS system isn’t there just to manage transactions – it’s there to help you build your business; and that’s what I see in the Toshiba TEC-based RMS system.”