AURES and Futura help landmark department store put on a new face for the future

When Dublin-based Clerys, the world’s first purpose-built department store, reopened in late 2013 after a disastrous flood and subsequent complete remodelling, it chose sango POS terminals from AURES to complement its glamorous new interiors and to run its tried-and-tested enterprise software from Futura.

Since 1853, Clerys has been a long-standing part of Dublin’s retail landscape. On a July night last year, the hands of the famous Clerys clock stopped when the power supply failed, as water cascaded through the store after storm damage to the roof. The lengthy process of planning restoration started straightaway. Its focus was to make the store an enticing and forward-looking destination and to reveal more of Clerys’ heritage.

The flood presented Clerys not only with the necessity to rebuild but also with the opportunity to reassess its technology provision. Explains Nigel Brookes, Head of IT for the retailer: “In 2005, we partnered with Futura Retail Solutions. Futura ticked all the boxes for us. It is all-encompassing solution, involving everyone and every department.”

AURES’ sangos using Futura's EPoS solution in use in Clerys

He continues: “Our business splits 60% concessions and 40% Clerys own-bought. We host scores of brands such as Oasis, Best Menswear and Moda in Pelle. Each has its own floor format and trades with its own staff and products.“


Challenges Managing Concessions

From 2005-2013, Clerys offered each concession partner the option to use its own till system or to use Clerys’, in which case it provided a full Futura ERS solution running on a Digipos terminal. However, this freedom to choose created an unwelcome customer service challenge.

“In a competitive trading environment where customer comfort and loyalty are paramount, we struggled to provide fluid service,” observes Brookes. “Our floors are open plan so customers wander from one area to another, and frequently purchase multiple items across brands. Given different concessions had different EPoS (and relied on them for their stock control and replenishment), the customer would often have to go to more than one till to pay for their purchases.”

One of the pleasures of shopping in Clerys is the availability of personal shoppers. Adds Nigel Brookes: “This compounded the problem. The customer and personal shopper would amass items from around the store, each of which might need paying for at different tills. It did not make for a relaxing experience and detracted from the pleasure of shopping at Clerys.”


Bringing Concessions onto Futura and installing new EPOS hardware

The flood gave Clerys the impetus it needed to make two major technology changes. The first was to supply each concession partner with a fully-configured FuturaERS solution; the second was to migrate to state-of-the-art EPoS hardware. In November 2013, when the new-look Clerys opened, the old Digipos terminals had been replaced and 94 sango tills from AURES had been located throughout the store.

“EPoS tends not to be too sexy,” jokes Brookes, “but the sango is unlike anything else. It’s a nice-looking till and has fitted right in with our new persona: modern and progressive but mindful of our history. It’s functional and stylish, just ideal for us. And great, too, to be able to colour-coordinate our tills with our branding.”

He continues: “We also wanted to do more with our tills. Both hardware and software have moved on since 2005 and POS terminals are now much more than just devices for taking payment. Today, our staff use the sangos as complete PCs, for email, product lookup and access to a host of sales tools.”

The sangos have proved to be more efficient and faster than their predecessors. “We went for an i3 processor with 4 gig’ of RAM so we get very high performance.”

Staff find the touchscreen-operated sangos more comfortable to use. “The Futura software is functionally identical so it’s familiar, but the touchscreens give a new feel from the sales person’s viewpoint. I was very impressed how quickly staff adapted to the new interface. They clearly find the sangos more user-friendly. A touchscreen is so much more natural and lends itself to learning.”

AURES’ sangos in use in Clerys

The most distinctive feature of the design-led sango is the absence of stand or foot, and the space -traditionally occupied by the CPU and motherboard -that is now available under the touchscreen at the point-of-service. “We’ve kept the space as clean as possible. We didn’t want cash drawers but in some cases we’ve had to put receipt printers there. Our high-sided counters hide our cash drawers and the sangos soar above them, giving the impression of floating.”

Better than Ever

“With FuturaERS on the sangos, we can do much more than ever before. FuturaERS runs the full cycle of our business, from buying to reporting and everything in between. It gives us all the data we need to make informed buying decisions and it’s clever enough to allocate sales to our different brands, so is ideal for concession operations. We’ve been able to build workflow to pull in concession partner products so they receive sales files when items are sold. Then each brand automatically gets full transactional data at each day-end, which they can feed into their own ERP system if they wish.”

Concludes Nigel Brookes: “We’re a progressive company and our new store succeeds in marrying history and innovation. Our technology today builds on our history with Futura and our confidence in their solution, and has introduced the fantastic sango tills. Thanks to Futura and AURES, we have a better sales flow and the customer experience is hugely better, whether they’re buying a Clerys product or from a concession brand.”