• Susan Dickenson

By a retailer, for retailers


ShoulbergALISON ANDERSON OWNS AND OPERates A. Dodsons, a home décor and gift shop with locations in Suffolk, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va.

A retailer for 14 years, Anderson grew up perusing and playing among the aisles of her grandfather’s general store. As such, she’s very familiar with the joys and challenges shop owners face every day.

Recently, when one of those challenges – POS data entry and processing – became more of a problem, she took steps to develop a solution.

First, she surveyed other retailers about their point of sale systems and found that while there are a variety of software applications in use – Quickbooks, Shopkeep, Retail Pro, Shopify and Clover, to name a few – there’s no “common denominator.” Each system comes with its own operating handbook, specifications and technical requirements. There’s no consistent POS solution that “bands retailers together” or caters to their specific needs, Anderson observed.

She then sat down with representatives from home and gift vendors Evergreen Enterprises, Mud Pie, Creative Co-Op and digital developer Whereoware to discuss how data uploads and transactions between vendors and retailers could be made easier.

“I asked the executives how long they thought it takes us to enter a product into our POS,” Anderson said. “I quickly learned everyone at the table thinks small retailers are miracle workers and it only takes five to 30 seconds to enter a new product. In reality, it takes us somewhere between five minutes and 15 minutes per item to input a single SKU by pulling a picture, putting in weights and measurements, putting in titles and descriptions, putting in web keywords, etc.”

She challenged the group to come up with a solution that would enable vendor product data to be uploaded into a retailer’s POS system “with one stroke,” thereby streamlining what has become, for many, a time-consuming, tedious task.

Last month in Atlanta, Anderson – joined by Lenise Willis and Warren Shoulberg, editor in chief and editorial director of sister publication Gifts and Decorative Accessories – met with retailers to present the results: A new POS application that’s designed to save time, prevent errors, track inventory, enable online sales and facilitate reordering.

Best of all, it’s currently being offered free of charge to retailers.

“One of the biggest challenges for retailers is in how product and information flows to them, and between them and their vendors,” Anderson said in the presentation. “I really do want to change the face of retail but that begins with us all having the proper tools to work together.”

For downloading information or to learn more about this new tool, contact Alison Anderson at alison@adodsons.com, or follow “Rocking Retailers” on Facebook.

Susan DickensonSusan Dickenson | Editor in Chief

Susan Dickenson is the editor in chief of Home Accents Today, where she has spent more than a decade covering trending topics, best practices and news items pertaining to the manufacturing, retail and interior design segments of the home furnishings industry. A graduate of UNC, Dickenson spent 15 years in the Washington, D.C., area, writing and researching in both the public and private sector. After relocating to her native North Carolina in 2003, she freelanced as a writer of general interest, business, garden and home items for local and national publications before joining Home Accents Today in 2006 as retail editor.

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