Bike World: Pedaling a Better Product
With the slogan, "Online since 1995. On bikes since 1971," it's clear that San Antonio-based Bike World is every bit as committed to using technology as it is to being the premier pro cycling shop in Central Texas.
"Bike World knows first hand, believes in and understands the business value derived from updated technology solutions," said Whit Snell, founder and owner of the retail chain.
While Bike World has always set itself apart from its competitors by using technology to be more efficient and productive, the company recently faced an issue that impacts many small businesses -- its dated and inefficient inventory tracking system was impairing customer service. Patrons didn't like the long lines, slow transactions, pricing errors and slow credit card processing.
These issues became a thing of the past after Bike World opened a new, state-of-the art store and replaced its outdated point-of-sale (POS) systems with Dell hardware and point of sale peripherals in its two other locations. In addition to getting customer service back on track, Bike World was able to effectively reduce the amount of out-of-stock products and share inventory between its three stores with automated inventory management. The system also allowed for more accurate employee performance tracking.
As it was for Bike World, relying on outdated technology is a widespread issue among small businesses. According to a 2005 poll conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)*, many small businesses use their technology systems for too long before deciding to upgrade.
"One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is taking complete control of their organization in three key areas: inventory management, customer tracking and transaction processing -- and then finding the right technology solution that suits their specific needs," said Melissa Hovey, manager of Dell's small business retail marketing team.
In other words, just as each small business is unique, so is their technology solution. And that's where companies like Dell can help.
"Dell understands that retailers' needs vary widely depending on the type of retailer they are -- specialty, restaurant, convenience," said Hovey. "Unfortunately, there is no cookie cutter POS solution that fits every business model. That is why we have dedicated retail specialists to help design custom retail technology solutions and develop an easy, step-by-step approach."
Dell worked with Bike World to develop a POS system for its three stores. It installed a new system based on DellTM PowerEdgeTM 2800 and PowerEdge 830 servers running the Microsoft Windows XP 2003 operating system and Microsoft Retail Management System software. It also purchased Dell touch screen registers, Dell OptiPlexTM GX620 desktop computers running the Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system, and Dell peripherals, including receipt printers, cherry keyboards, and countertop displays.
Setting up and installing a new POS system is relatively simple based on your software requirements. While many small businesses are able to do it on their own, Dell offers a help desk support service with every POS system to help walk companies through the set up. Additionally, Dell will factory install Intuit's QuickBooks Point of Sale software which is a great fit for many types of retailers.
Is it really worth the investment?
When a company aligns its IT goals with its business objectives, it inevitably saves time and money.
More importantly, an updated POS infrastructure can help small businesses build stronger relationships with customers and help increase the speed and accuracy of transactions. Unlike the electronic cash register, Dell's systems are designed to allow businesses to identify customer buying trends, which can help companies develop better marketing plans and drive consumers to make quicker purchasing decisions.
"The right POS solution not only enables faster transactions, allowing businesses to get customers in and out more quickly, but helps them track their best customers for personalized marketing." Hovey added.
Especially during the holiday season, increased sales and customer volume can make it more difficult to manage customer expectations and inventory. As the books turn to black, there is often more pressure to make customer-friendly changes. It is important that small businesses are equipped to handle the holiday rush in order to stay competitive with mass retail chains.
The National Retail Federation's 2006 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey* found that nearly 70 percent of consumers plan to use either credit or debit cards for holiday purchases. If small businesses want to get a piece of the $457.4 billion in projected holiday sales (National Retail Federation forecasts), an up-to-date POS system that can withstand the increase in transactions will help.
For more information, call Dell or go online at www.dell.com/QBPOS to check out point of sale solutions. Dell prices start at $2,499 for a complete point of sale solution which includes Intuit's QuickBooks Point of Sale software and 3 years of Next-Business Day Retail Support.
For more on Bike World's business story, download the Bike World Case Study
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