Cash flow is king. There is nothing more important to a retail business, no matter how big or small, than keeping their cash registers full of the Queen’s finest tender. But as well as simply filling it, every retailer must be safe in the knowledge that the cash register will not let them down, can be easily monitored, and works smoothly in any situation. It’s the principal point of contact with the customer, and without it, most businesses would simply break down.
It’s not the sexiest piece of tech, and while customers often take in a lot of visual and sensory details of the retail experience, few notice the stalwart Electronic Cash Register (ECR) or Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) system that forms the all important link between them and the shopkeeper.
Sharp is one of the world leaders in ECR and EPOS technology, producing a number of cash registers from entry level, through to mid range and PC based terminals with 15” high resolution LCD colour screens.
Kevin English, Product Manager for Sharp’s information systems, told Humans Invent why a cash register should never be overlooked, and how a reliable unit is essential to a successful business.
“At Sharp we have a wide range of electronic cash registers and EPOS terminals to suit a diverse range of businesses. We believe one of the most important points for businesses is to enable them to focus on what they do best, which is selling their goods and services. And we try to help them take the pain out of the cash management side of their business, which should actually be a mainstay of their business.
“Sharp believes there are five key points that need to be considered when selecting a cash register, or EPOS solution. Accountability, usability, security, speed, and robustness.”
This was made abundantly clear when Humans Invent spoke to two retailers about their Sharp installations: bicycle workshop-cum-café and bar, look mum no hands, and bespoke micro-roastery and coffee house Nude Espresso. They explained the benefits of having a reliable cash register, and, how Sharp’s EPOS solutions have helped improve their day-to-day business activities.
“We are open from 7:30 am to around 10:00 pm or 12:00 pm at night, so speed is very important to us.” Matthew Harper of look mum no hands explained to Humans Invent.
“We print out multiple receipts for most transactions, one for the customer, one for the Barista, and one to the kitchen making the food. So it is important we have detailed, time stamped, sequential receipts with lots of information to help us serve our customer properly.
“A useful feature is that the clerks can log in individually, and then feel as though they are taking ownership for the transactions that they are a part of, and also for us to be able to look back and see which of our staff are doing what on the till. It is very useful to be able to trace back during the day every transaction that has taken place.
“The journal feature enables us to look at every transaction with a time stamp, and see where mistakes have been made. It has been known for people to accidentally charge £10, 000 for a piece of a cake, and obviously that raises some flags and it is good that we can identify the exact problem and rectify it.
“It’s also important that the system is robust. At any time the till can come into contact with coffee, or icing from cakes, gravy or beer, anything could get sloshed over the top of it. So it is important we can wipe it down and continue to use it. We have never any pause or glitch in our service because of the till. Without our Sharp ECR I don’t know where we would be. We would be stuck.”
Not only do Sharp provide cash registers, but working alongside Postillion Limited, the development company behind ExNOW, the company can provide real-time data from the cash register that is accessible from any web browser.
It’s an innovative solution that lets retailers run their business without geographical limitation. They can check sales, or individual employee activity, at the click of a mouse, or the tap of a smartphone, anywhere in the world. It is low cost, simple to install, and can be accessed from wherever there’s an internet connection anda web browser.
John Johnson from Postillion Limited explained the concept to Humans Invent, and how its cloud-based system can help retailers everywhere.
“The system interfaces with a certain number of Sharp cash registers, primarily with their XEA range, and it downloads all of the transactions from that individual register within a business, or multiple registers within in a business. Ex-NOW will actually link them altogether via a web portal so you can view everything that is going on in your company.
“If you have several locations, with a number of cash registers in each one, it will bring all that information together and you can determine and analyse all your different types of transactions. For example what type of payment was used, who sold it, when it was sold, and stock that is needed. Therefore wherever you are in the world, as long as you have web access you can go into your personalised portal and find out what is going on in your company to the most minute detail.”
The system was implemented by Nude Espresso when they set up a pop up café with cycling brand Rapha. Nude Espresso boss Richard Reed was running his two London based cafes, and micro-roastery, as well as the pop up café, but never without leaving his web browser. The remote cloud technology became invaluable to the running of his business.
“Sharp set up the cash register systems for us alongside the Ex-NOW solution system which meant we could monitor all sales, or stock sales remotely via smartphones” he told us.
“We could get real time practical information from that site, so we could forecast how much coffee we needed, how much food we needed, and what kind of staff numbers we needed for the busy hours, which made our life a lot easier.
“The ease of use of the information was just fantastic. Being able to print dockets for what we needed, or not, and then if someone wanted a receipt we could just pop in and get that last receipt, or even the last few different transactions printed. It is a very good, reliable, quick system to use.”
The cash register is an integral cog in the retail industry that is often dismissed, or taken for granted. But chosen with care and careful consideration of how it will be used, the right ECR or EPoS system can dramatically improve the running of a retail environment, providing peace of mind for businesses, while letting them monitor their performance in detail. If cash flow is king, the queen is a reliable cash register.