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Turning point

Electronic point of sale systems were once used simply to record sales data. But Penelope Ody finds that even basic tills now have so much more to offer
There are very few retailers left in the UK that manage without a till. The die-hards may still prefer a shoebox and hand-written receipts, but for most fashion retailers a till of one sort or another is as essential as hanging rails and changing rooms.

Choosing the right till – and the necessary software – is quite another matter. The major IT vendors may offer slick systems, but few want to deal directly with small retailers. Key “EPoS” into Google and you’ll be faced with more than half a million sites to choose from.

But among those, there are some that focus on fashion. Glasgow-based M-Computer Technologies, for example, developed its Maeko EPoS system in association with women’s young fashion chain Quiz Clothing; while IT group Prologic produces a back-office application used by the likes of Ted Baker, Aquascutum and Fat Face. It handles both retail and wholesale fashion and has recently launched a new version of its EPoS application that is suitable for touch screen tills. Other vendors, including Futura Retail, VCSTimeless, Eurostop, and Retail-J (now part of Torex), all have strong fashion user bases. There are also general retail EPoS providers such as Microsoft RMS, BT Expedite, Oracle, SAP, and IBM.

Newer names include New Zealand-based operator Triquestra and fast-growing US firm Epicor CRS, whose clients include American womenswear chain Ann Taylor and sports footwear retailer Foot Locker.

Buying a new EPoS system outright is still the most common option, but Eurostop and Fujitsu now offer rental models, allowing smaller retailers to meet their EPoS needs for a monthly fee. South African company UCS has pioneered this EPoS rental model for many years, with customers including Moss Bros.

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