Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

Greetings Connect offers supply chain solution

A stock control system which is helping to reinvent how independent greeting card retailers manage their operations has been short listed for a Retail Systems award later this month.

The company behind the concept, Intelligent Retail, have developed 'Greetings Connect', a complete retail system that integrates the EPoS tills back through to the supply chain.  This gives total real time visibility of stock across all locations, letting clients track and manage product availability easily and efficiently.

Traditionally, independent retailers have relied on paper-based stock control, with slips inserted in between cards on the racks to warn when card stocks are running low. Greetings Connect runs on a PC and the kit includes a till which could be touch screen, barcode scanner, receipt printer and cash drawer.  Clients would need to make an initial investment to pay for the necessary hardware and software.

David Mackley, Managing Director at Intelligent Retail said: “Greetings card retailers have very specific issues with fast moving stock and need to stay on top of trends and stock availability to be successful.

“The benefits to the retailer first and foremost is stock control. Hard data on card sales is recorded, allowing retailers to build a picture over time.  It improves efficiency for retailers and helps them with day to day tasks” Mackley comments.

“While cards can be very seasonal in a changing environment, feedback is still important for retailers. They can look at the viability of what’s selling, or check back and see what they sold last Christmas.

“Knowing the proportion of products that sold well in their market is invaluable. It means that less product is left on the shelves and they are more likely to stock the right product at the right time.  This brings the type of information the chain stores rely on to improve their stock holding within reach of the independent retailer. Being privy to this information can even make the difference between success and failure.” Mackley concludes.

One of the biggest challenges with systems like this is product turnover.  Cards change so frequently and yet the database needs to be kept up to date with the details of new ranges, allowing retailers to scan the barcode and identify the card.  This is one of the main reasons why an earlier competitor to Greetings Connect failed, failing to cope with the continuous updating of the industry’s product catalogue.
“We have a growing network of around 40 greetings suppliers who update the database with new ranges," explains Mackley.

The company has worked closely with card manufacturers including UK Greetings and retailers including RSVP Greetings who have been a great help in developing the system specifically for greetings card retailing, aimed predominantly at smaller independent retailers.

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