by Jim McMahon
Just attend any retail trade show and you will see scores of vendors offering retail technology products, in fact, there are more than 300 software developers currently providing point-of-sale and inventory-control software systems. For retailers, this can present a confusing challenge in the selection of components and systems to fit their specific needs, with the downside being that storeowners frequently purchase software and hardware that is not the best fit for their requirements. Even worse, once retailers install the latest and greatest systems, they are too-often minimally trained on how to use them, resulting in production slow-downs and wasted man-hours that are unnecessary. The National Retail Technology Federation™ (NRTF) has been formed to help retailers understand what software and hardware applications are best suited for their needs, and to facilitate the retailer’s ability to get the most utilization out of the technology they have selected.
The NRTF is a national organization composed of value added resellers (VARs) who specialize in different aspects of retail technology. As a group, they are able to bring a much broader depth of technological experience to retailers who are in the process of selecting a system, or upgrading. Retailers who are informed of all possible options, and the pros and cons of each system or piece of equipment, are in a better position to select technology that fits their objectives, and works better for them overall.
Many retailers, because of just not understanding the technology, over-purchase on equipment, sometimes using only a fraction of its capability. Add to this insufficient training - which is widespread in retail - and it creates a real dilemma for storeowners, who are just trying to put in a system that will streamline their operations. They can have the best technology in the world, but if they don’t know how to use it, then it is little more than a very expensive cash register.
The needs of the retailer, when it comes to technology, are pretty consistent, but within that framework there exists a multitude of variations. The NRTF helps retailers with all aspects of their technological supply chain operations, including:
1. Point of sale
2. Inventory control
3. Loss prevention
4. Internet security
"We wanted to build a much larger technology-solution capability for retailers than currently exists," says Scott Kreisberg, Founding Member of the NRTF, and President of One Step Data, Inc., a retail-market value added reseller based in Glendale, California. "There is so much technology out there that retailers are having a difficult time making decisions on what is best for them. Most don’t even take the time to define what problem they are trying to solve with this technology. They know they need it, but from there on out retailers are quite a bit lost."
"But that is only a part of the problem," says Kreisberg. "The main mistake that retailers make when they purchase point-of-sale and inventory-control systems is that they don’t get trained properly on how to use it. What good is it to have all this state-of-the-art technology if you can’t use it, or if you can only use some of what you have purchased? Unfortunately, a large proportion of retailers are in this situation. After the equipment purchase, proper installation, thorough training and continual support are chronically missed necessities, and really should account for 50% of the decision-making process when selecting a system. The NRTF addresses all of these issues with retailers when they are considering a purchase, the full spectrum of the technology. This allows a seamless roll-out of any retail technology application, whether it is for one store or fifty locations."
Retail technology is continually in a state of development, and getting more sophisticated. With the NTRF, retailers for the first time have the opportunity to capitalize on a technological resource - with more than 100 years of combined experience in retail technology - literally at their fingertips, to help retailers arrive at the most efficient solutions to their point-of-sale and inventory-management needs. Solutions that will undoubtedly pay off in lower capital outlay, streamlined efficiency and optimized man-hours.
NRTF members, combined, have provided technology solutions for thousands of independent and chain retailers, both nationally and abroad, including The Mill Stores, City Sports, Pet Quarters, Berkshire Hathaway, Sean John, Kenco, Diesel USA, and Warner Brothers.
The National Retail Technology Federation is open to assist retailers with their technology issues and solutions. For more information on the National Retail Technology Federation, please contact Kevin McAdam; 320 West Arden Ave., Suite #110, Glendale, CA 91203; Phone 866-479-6770.
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