POS Designed for Specialty Retail
Number of clients: close to 11, 000
Number of employees: 72
Strength of concept: POS system designed with the specialty retailer in mind, low-cost hardware and 24/7 technical support.
Headquarters: San Diego, CA
LivePOS is designed with the specialty retailer in mind; it helps specialty retailers affordably manage their locations remotely and in real time.
For many specialty retailers, a point-of-sale system is a prohibitive up-front cost, particularly in these times when financing is hard to come by.
Enter CSS with their LivePOS Specialty Retail Point of Sale Solution. The San Diego-based company’s easy-to-use turnkey solution includes hardware, software, service and support, and currently serves over 10,000 customers across the globe.
“We are a solution provider,” says Liad Biton, Chief Sales Officer for the company. Biton says the company is committed to providing customer solutions that work. In late 2009, the nine-year-old LivePOS acquired a hardware manufacturing company in Taiwan. “We wanted to lower the barrier of entry and at $2,000 per unit the hardware was too high. After the acquisition, we started selling the hardware at cost, allowing our customers to enjoy a fully featured Touch POS system for less than $500; something that is unavailable anywhere in the world,” Biton says.
He points out that the continuing monthly plan keeps the company on its toes. “When you buy software, people will try to squeeze every possible cent out of you because after the deal is done, they will never see you again,” Biton says. “Our module works on a monthly commitment, we only get paid if we do a good job, so we have to make sure our customers are happy or we will lose their business.”
All the bells and whistles
The LivePOS system is a unique hybrid of software at the location (to allow offline capability) and a web-based backend (called the Online Dashboard). When a sale is made, the transaction uses a secure Internet connection to travel to the LivePOS data center. Within a few seconds, the information (items sold, prices, employee names, etc.) is available to be viewed on the Online Dashboard from any laptop, anywhere in the world. “It’s important to stay away from web-POS systems,” emphasizes Shiran Biton, Liad’s brother and Chief Technology Officer at LivePOS. “Unlike our system, which will continue to function even without an Internet connection, web-POS systems will outright stop working if they lose connection and you are back to pen and paper.”
A pay-as-you-go plan costs $145 per month, while clients on an annual plan pay $120 per month. The plan includes 24/7 telephone technical support, unlimited training for company owners as well as employees, free automatic upgrades of new functions and features, and next day hardware replacement. “A kiosk is a tight place, spilling coffee or knocking the printer to the ground is just the reality of our business; as a specialty retail solution provider, we have a deeper understanding of this business; therefore we included the next day hardware replacement for our customers at no charge. We will make sure you are up and running before you open the next morning.”
Targeted at specialty retail
LivePOS is designed with the specialty retailer in mind—about two-thirds of its users are specialty retailers.
“We service clients with anywhere from one to 200 locations,” Biton says, adding that the average customer has seven to 12 locations. In all, the company has close to 11,000 clients, with about 60 percent of them in the United States and the rest can be found in the UK, Finland, Singapore, Australia, and 14 other countries around the world. “This makes us a true 24/7 business, we never close.”
With LivePOS, an owner can manage multiple locations remotely by logging in through their laptop or mobile phone. “If you look at other POS systems, they were built with the notion that the owner is primarily spending their time at one location,” Shiran Biton says. “In specialty retail, the majority of locations are remotely managed.”
The system sends near-instantaneous updates to keep a company owner abreast of sales for each location, the particular products that are selling and the remaining inventory. It can also detail which employees have clocked in and how sales numbers are being met.
“Most systems out there will only be updated once at the end of each day, usually at midnight” Shiran Biton explains, “knowing at 12 o’clock at night that you had a bad sales day is not very helpful, there is nothing you can do about it. With LivePOS, the information is sent to you live, in real time, which means you can easily find and fix the problem, saving the day and making more money.”
If inventory is running low at a given location, the owner can see this and get more in the pipeline. “Inventory count reports are very important for specialty retailers, [who] usually can only carry a limited amount of items at the location because of space constraints,” Biton says.
Specialty retail is also a business of haggling. “The owner can program the system so that the employee cannot go below a certain price when negotiating with a customer,” Biton points out. “The system can facilitate deal-making by giving employees guidelines to make good deals without having to call a manager.” Employee commissions can be tabulated using the system as well.
Each new LivePOS system is a blank slate, waiting to be customized for a particular business, all at no additional cost. In all, the company offers over 500 features and adds a new one about every two weeks.
Different levels of employees will have different levels of access. For instance, an owner will have access to all locations, while the regional manager will have access just to their region. Employees will only have access to the functions that owners deem appropriate—for instance, employees will not be able to look up commissions of co-workers or adjust sales prices beyond the programmed range.
This year has been one of growth for CSS. Since acquiring the manufacturing company and lowering hardware prices, LivePOS has added 500 new clients in the first three months of 2010. “Usually we add about 1,500 clients per year, so 500 in only three months is a great achievement,” Biton says.
As the company has grown, it has implemented changes. It has restructured processes and assigned a dedicated account manager for each specialty retail account. This change came about after listening to feedback from customers, Biton points out.
In addition to its San Diego headquarters, LivePOS has offices in the Philippines and Israel and a manufacturing facility in China. Biton and his team have traveled the globe to interview each of the 72 employees personally. He believes this goes a long way in hiring people devoted to providing excellent service. “I know all of our employees personally—I even know how many dogs and cats they have,” he jokes.
The company is coming out with a new product in May: a wireless system called mPOS (“m” stands for “mobile”). The new hand-held product will feature a built-in touch screen, built-in printer, and a built-in credit card swiper. The new LivePOS mPOS is set to once again make waves in the specialty retail industry.
For more information, please visit LivePOS.com.