LS Central 14.00

Version 14.00 of LS Central, our unified commerce system for retail and hospitality, was released on June 6th, 2019. Let’s take a look at what’s new in the platform.

Get more functionality at the retail POS

In this release, we have strengthened the retail POS with more functionality, so you can easily adapt it to your business needs.

You can now:

  • Print the receipts barcode as a QR code
  • Automatically post a sale refund when voiding a card payment. Previously, the sale had to be posted manually.
  • Add a surcharge to a payment transaction, based on the type of card used in the payment. This feature was made possible by an update to the EFT implementation in the POS.

We have also improved the mobile POS.

  • You can now void a transaction with tenderline at the mobile POS.
  • In the past, the auto-refresh of data would take the focus on mobile POS and mobile inventory. Users had to wait for the process to finish before they could start to work. Now, the auto-refresh of data happens in the background, so you can go on with your work while the system takes care of it.

Accurately manage capacity for your stores, sections, and shelves

The Capacity Management functionality, part of LS Central Replenishment, helps retailers define target stock levels for product groups in stores, and continuously track and compare actual stock capacity values versus the set goals. In this release, we have extended the existing Capacity Management functionality so it can now support the capacity level definition and item tracking on both store section level and shelf level.

This means you can now:

  • Define capacity goals on the store section and/or shelf level
  • Easily create multiple capacity goals with the new Add Lines by location report
  • Track actual capacity with the Store Capacity page or the Store Capacity report

Maximize sales with better store stock redistribution

Fill gaps in size and colour ranges

Retail Item Availability by Location is a new feature of the Store Stock Redistribution functionality. This new page gives you an overview of what items and variants are available across your stores and warehouses and enables you to easily identify broken variant ranges – that is, items that do not have the complete range of size or colours. Using the Dimension Pattern and the calculated sales performance indicators (Average Daily Sales and Sell Through %), you can determine redistributable stock and assign it, redistributing items and variants across stores and fill gaps and maximize sales.

Manually redistribute items without transfer proposals

Manual Redistribution is a new type of redistribution calculation. This is a useful tool for retailers who wanted to use the new Retail Item Variant Availability by Location page without any transfer proposals. This is a great addition to the other inventory calculation types already available in the system, namely Sales Demand, Stock Balancing, and Reorder Point/Max.

Decrease out of stock with centralized lifecycle management

You can now link a Lifecycle Planning Worksheet to a Replenishment Template using the Manual Redistribution calculation type. This enables you to calculate the items from the Lifecycle Planning Worksheet n the Redistribution Replenishment journal, and manually redistribute them. This means you can now centrally manage items throughout their lifecycle, define new prices, apply discounts, and easily redistribute items between stores, so you can avoid out-of-stock situations and maximize sales.

Get step-by-step help in the Replenishment implementation Guide. Our newly released Replenishment Implementation Guide, available on the LS Central Online Help Site, contains step-by-step instructions on how to implement LS Replenishment for both new and existing customers.

The guide provides you with:

  • A clear implementation workflow
  • A list of what information is needed from customers
  • Examples on how to structure customer information
  • Best practices
  • Direct references to the LS Central Online Help to help you set up the application

Hospitality: simplify dish preparation in your kitchen

Recipe ingredients are now sent to the Kitchen Display System (KDS). This enables your chefs to use the display station to track what ingredients should be prepared using aggregate groups. For example, your chef at the burger station can now easily track how many patties should be cooked to fulfill large orders including many single and double burgers and cheeseburgers.

It is also now possible to set a speed bump button for a cell on the Kitchen Display Station. This way you can bump cell #1 to cell #4 if needed.

More functionality with LS Activity

Keep track of resource availability

Adding an extra charge to an activity can now trigger specific resource requirements i.e. related to inventory levels or resource availability.

Using the menu buttons setting at the POS, you can now set up graphical layouts to view at a glance your resources and their availability.

Cancel or confirm reservations online

Thanks to two new APIs, you can now cancel or confirm all activities in a single reservation from your online reservation system.

Create personalized offers for members

You can now issue price offers with limited quantity and period restrictions for members. The system includes many options, so you can tailor it to your business and each customer. For example, you might want to offer specific members a series of 5 spa treatments for a discounted price during the next membership period, specifying that the offer is valid only during working days, or between 10 am and 2 pm.

To find out more on LS Central contact allonline365 on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | LS Retail 

POS Implementation in a Large Restaurant Chain

pos

Five top tips for managing a successful POS implementation in a large restaurant chain

LS Retail has shared some important insights on the POS transformation. What do you think of when you hear the words “new point of sale (POS) system implementation”? Does the idea fill you with dread or have you had a positive experience? As one of our customers CIO put it, there is your company’s reputation – and yours too – at stake with the selection and implementation decision.

Either way, we know that few businesses enter into technology upgrading lightly, especially when we’re talking about a system that will affect every facet of your business for years to come. When your existing technology still gets you by, it can feel like a huge risk making such a big change. And, let’s face it, it’s not like we all have the extra budget and resources going spare.

Technology is one of those things where the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, does not apply. There comes a time when you must consider upgrading your systems if you want your business to remain competitive. Perhaps you need to boost efficiency in your kitchens, or maybe you’re looking to improve guest satisfaction. Modern POS solutions can make all the difference when it comes to simplifying your operations, having better oversight of your inventory, keeping track of your customers and speeding up service.  Today, this technology is no longer nice to have; it’s a strategic imperative.

So where do you start? How do you choose the right technology, and ensure the implementation project runs as smoothly as possible and you get the most from your investment?

One of our customers, a large restaurant chain in the US, faced this exact challenge a couple of years ago. They faced an end-of-life situation with their 20-year-old POS system. No new versions were being built and it was no longer supported. It was time to choose a new platform, and embark on a company-wide implementation project.

Fast forward to today: they’re running their brand new unified POS and ERP system, LS First, in over 70 restaurants with many more to follow. Sales are up, efficiency is at an all-time high, and they’re able to open new outlets faster than ever thanks to their integrated platform.

Here are five tips they shared to help you manage a successful POS implementation too.

Tip #1: plan, plan, plan

From start to go live, our customer’s project took eight months. We would say this is a fairly typical timeframe for the implementation of this scale. And this includes periods where the system is on lockdown as a result of seasonal constraints.

To ensure the project progresses as smoothly as possible, don’t cut corners in your planning. Look at your business and understand how the project will impact it at every stage of the process. Make sure your milestone dates are sensible and won’t place unnecessary strain on your business during busy times.

Leave no stone unturned and break the project down into manageable chunks – from the pilot phase to initial implementation to company-wide rollout. Consider important factors such as how you’re going to train your staff effectively, and when you’re going to install new hardware.

Remember, the work doesn’t stop once you’ve completed the pilot. Be prepared for multiple pilots and a lot of learning before you rip off the band-aid. It’s all a learning process.

And when you think you’re ready to roll the system out, take a breather. Don’t steamroll ahead; take a moment to see how the system is working and identify any issues that you couldn’t have planned for in your testing environment. Companies that are successful in projects like these take a considered approach.

TIP #2: set realistic expectations and ensure your key stakeholders are onboard

Get the buy-in from all stakeholders right from the beginning, and make it very clear what the goals and objectives of the project will be. Everybody needs to fully understand the desired end results. Don’t sell them a dream you can’t deliver on.

It may sound extreme, but sometimes businesses have likened a POS implementation to a heart transplant. It’s a big deal. POS data drives so many of your business decisions, and you don’t want to get anything wrong. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the decision-makers in this project are available to answer the critical questions when you need them to.

Equally, you must understand how much time should be devoted to a project like this for it to be a success. And then you need to give your project teams sufficient time to carry out the work. Make sure everybody knows what’s required of them, and ensure your IT and operations stakeholders communicate with one another.

And don’t rush. Set sensible, realistic timeframes from the start, and put the effort in to make sure you’re getting everything right, at every stage of the process.

Tip #3: be prepared for changes along the way

Even the best-prepared projects still encounter hurdles along the way. Know that when you’re dealing with an implementation of this nature and scale, it’s hard to plan for every eventuality. So be willing to adapt.

For example, our customer’s plans for staff training ended up being revised several times. At first, they intended to spread out their pilot restaurants across multiple districts. But then they realized this would make matters unnecessarily complicated for their district managers. In the end, they decided to roll out the new POS to all stores in one district at a time. This way the managers were fully invested in the project, and the organization was able to focus their training resources in one place at a time.

Ultimately, you need to accept that what you thought was the best approach initially may, in fact, need to change for the good of the project and the company.

Tip #4: Choose a trusted partner

The importance of selecting the right partner should not be underestimated. When deciding on a solution, ask yourself who your long-term partners will be. Once the pilot and system rollout are complete, who are you going to be left working with? At first, you may be dealing with resellers. Take the time to figure out who you’ll be dealing with directly once they’re out of the picture. Will they provide the ongoing support that you need? Do they fully understand your business needs?

For our large US customer, it was important that they found an IT partner which had a deep knowledge of both the retail and hospitality industries. They needed someone who could relate to their business needs, appreciate the unique intricacies of both sectors, and be open to making a positive change in the product. Success comes down to establishing a mutually beneficial partnership based on trust and gained through transparency.

Tip #5: Make sure you look at the bigger picture

In some ways, installing a new POS is like putting a new roof on your house. It will prepare you for the storms ahead.

So while it’s important to focus on the immediate benefits your new solution will bring to your business, it’s just as critical to consider the longer-term impacts too. For example, our customer has seen a significant rise in efficiency on the restaurant floor as staff can take orders much faster using mobile POS. But the benefits reach far beyond this. Equipped with a modern POS, the business is now able to grow. With a modern platform to rely on, it’s far easier to open new stores. Leaders can now explore how to expand the business in different ways.

Keep an eye on how you’re going to achieve a return on investment, but make sure you’re constantly re-evaluating what those returns will be, and keep your perspective open: in some ways, you cannot really put a price on a platform which will future-proof your business, scale with your needs and adapt to your unique requirements.

But don’t just take our word for it. Starfleet Research’s latest survey on Restaurant Management and POS Systems found that almost three-quarters of fast food and fast-casual restaurant owners saw a significant or dramatic improvement to their overall performance and financial results when they upgraded their restaurant management and POS system within the last three years. The response was even more positive from full-service restaurants. More than eight out of ten said their POS implementation had a dramatic effect on their business.

Want to find out how we can help you with your new POS implementation journey? We are a proud LS Central partner and can offer advice and guidance on how to fast track your business into the digital age. You can contact us on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650

www.allonline365.com 

Resource Credit | LS Retail 

Future of retail will be fueled by intelligence, technology and experience

future of retail

The Retail EXPO, formerly known as RBTE, brought to London all the best and most knowledgeable retailers, trend experts and retail technologists of Europe for a very intensive two-day event. So where is the future of retail at? Here are some core takeaways from the show:

Information is the currency and the content in the future of retail

Consumers have more power than ever – because they can access more information than ever before. Products, too, are becoming hubs of information. On the one hand, they can store data (think of how wearable devices, or IOT-connected kitchen appliances, can communicate how they are being used). On the other hand, a product’s value increasingly has to do with the information it delivers to retailers. When you know what is being sold where, when, and to whom, you can easily optimize your stock, minimize costs, and personalize your offering.

Social responsibility matters

In the UK, 80% of the public thinks companies have a responsibility to do social good, Alison Hutchinson, CEO at Pennies, reported. Pennies is a solution that digitizes the charity box, simplifying donations across the channels. The solution has been extremely successful: not a single retailer using Pennies has ever abandoned the system, Hutchinson proudly reported. To date over 400 charities, including many small and local realities, have benefitted from it. According to Nick Lowe, Operations Director at forecourt operator Rontec, the best part of Pennies is that it requires no hard selling from the staff: customers decide to click the “yes” or “no” button on the POS – no pressure. Running a socially responsible company, Lowe added, is not just good for public relations: it can also really help boost morale and pride among staff members – a great benefit in an industry that often struggles at keeping employees.

Finding the right technology is key in the future of retail

Consumers move quicker than ever before. How can you implement the right tech, when it is already out of date by the time it hits the stores? Retailers discussing the topic agreed on what is needed:

  • Suppliers who can give competent advice, have a long-term vision and can deliver quick deployments.
  • Highly scalable technology, to support rapid expansion.
  • A partner who understands the retailer’s niche, its roadblocks, and current and future requirements. Retailers are too busy with day-to-day work to figure out what innovation they actually need, what is feasible, and how to get there. On top of that, many businesses lack the internal knowledge. “You don’t even know what it is that you don’t know”, Andrew Jackson, Head of Retail Technology Europe at BP, put it. Businesses require partners who analyze their flow, find the gaps, and show a solution.

The POS will still be there – but in a slightly different role

With all the focus on experience over the transaction, how will the Point of Sale have to change to support a new way of doing retail? The POS system of tomorrow will have to:

  • Enable and support two-way conversations between staff and customers who need personalized attention.
  • Help consumers who like to DIY make the right choice, with little to no interaction from staff required.
  • Help share information across the whole chain, and deliver it where needed.
  • Support different types of payments – and be ready to support even more, as the environment is moving fast (for example, payment by bank account is expected to become commonplace).
  • Be open, so companies can easily adapt it to quickly changing demands and requirements. This was a very big topic during the show. British supermarket chain The Co-op described how they have been moving data to the cloud, Azure in specific, to reach this goal. The cloud will enable the retail chain to tie together in-store and online data, and ultimately speed up innovation. “Thanks to the cloud, even the tiniest decisions will become data-driven,” said Cliff Austen, Senior Technical Manager for Retail IT at The Co-op.

Customer experience is still the grail of modern retail

So how do you get there? Here are some pieces of advice from the conference:

  • Give exclusivity. Why would a customer visit the M&Ms World stores, when they can get the very same candy at any supermarket, for a lower price? Because only at the M&Ms World you can get the (very Instagram-worthy) experience of seeing hundreds of thousands of colored candy pieces all over the walls. And only there can you get a bag of M&Ms with your face printed on each candy piece. These are highly personalized items, and special moments, that the brand’s resellers just can’t reproduce.
  • Use the data. Dutch retailer HEMA was very surprised when data showed that their restaurant customers were their most loyal ones. This discovery led to a store redesign, changes in the assortment, and even the creation of an internal cooking school for interested staff members.
  • Create chances for interaction. At Le Gavroche, the London restaurant of two-star Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr., the menu is in French. This is not just to hold up to tradition, the chef explained. With the menu in a foreign language, guests end up talking to each other, and to the front-of-house staff, as they try to figure out what the dishes are about. This creates a shared experience, and special memories tied to every single meal.
  • Respect your customers. Do not create an experience with the sole goal of creating Instagram moments. This is not what engagement is all about. “Consumers are smart, and their time matters,” said Amy Brown, Head of Creative Strategy at Google.
  • Make it fun. In the Google Curiosity Room, a temporary store to promote the Pixel phone, all experiences had to fulfill two requirements: they would need to be tightly related to the product, and they would need to be enjoyable. If people have fun and are impressed by your product, you don’t need to do any more promotion – they will want to share the experience.

Take it to the next level

In the words of Sezin Tumer, Principal Retail Innovation Manager at Vodafone, “retail isn’t dying – but boring retail is.” A common thread during the conference is that it’s not about your products anymore. People can get stuff anywhere. You need to make your brand relevant to consumers. The selling part will come afterward.

Some ways you can do this:

  • Find your point of difference. “Being cheap and convenient is not a selling point anymore,” said Andrew Jones, Format Director at HEMA. Focus on what only you can provide –whether it is your history and provenance, your sustainability efforts, or the way you connect to and support local culture.
  • Adapt by changing your “how”, not your “why”. Stay true to your identity and your core audience, but do not be afraid to evolve. Michel Roux Jr. explained how at Le Gavroche, a restaurant his father opened in 1965, he adapted the service to modern expectations while maintaining the same standards. “Today’s guests want to feel welcome, and see a smile on the server’s face – they don’t care to see the staff stand to attention,” the restaurateur explained.
  • Don’t try to be everything for everyone. That’s Amazon – and you won’t compete with them by playing their same game. Instead, go niche, and use the data you have to deliver the most curated product selection and personalized service to a specialized group of customers.
  • Focus on nearby customers. “Near me” searches grew 900% last year alone – and 76% of local mobile “near me” searches resulted in a same-day visit to the store, said Miya Knights, author of a best-selling book on Amazon. Location can be a proxy for relevance – use it.

Find out more about one of our retail solutions, LS Retail. If you have any questions on how to digitally transform your business, let us know! Call  +27 (21) 205 3650 or email us on info@allonline365.com.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | LS Retail