Modernization Secures a Bright Future — and Budget Savings — for a Legacy Retailer

May 22, 2024

A U.S. department store chain with more than 100 years of success needed to modernize to stay competitive. The company had the advantage of diversifying beyond apparel to offer portrait, optical, hair, and white glove delivery services to its customers. But for as broad as its retail business aimed to reach, the company’s retail system kept its stores stuck in the past.

Twenty-year-old POS hardware kept sales associates tied to the register. Payment processing was split between in-store purchases and online instead of allowing portability that could close the gap between customers and the company’s diverse products. In addition, this created the impression of two separate customers in its database if the same person shopped online and in-store. Plus, the application process for a store credit card was slow and cumbersome, triggering long waits for approval before completing a transaction.

To secure a bright future for the next 100 years, the store came to Kitestring recognizing an urgent need to modernize its POS environment. Here’s what we did.

Designing a Custom Enterprise POS System with a focus on Quality and Support

Fundamentally, the store needed to modernize the experience for both its customers and sales associates in stores and online. The majority of its POS hardware was sourced from a competitor going out of business, and its outdated user experience was cumbersome and poorly suited for the modern omnichannel retail landscape. To stay competitive, the retailer pursued an aggressive deadline to roll out a new hardware and software system.

Kitestring consulted with the store’s team to develop a solution-agnostic approach through a 16-week selection study during discovery. Once we identified the store’s needs as well as those of its customers, we designed a custom solution to improve the retail system’s hardware, software, and processes and a tight deadline.

Our breadth of experience and close vendor relationships allowed us to design and customize cutting-edge form factors and hardware selections to serve the needs of each different department. As a result, the store was positioned to unify online and in-store sales and create a more dynamic experience for both sides of the transaction.

Mobile Checkout Serves Customers and Sales Associates

Kitestring worked alongside the retailer to identify a Next Gen POS system with an extensive vendor analysis. Together we decided on a system from GK that would unlock new capabilities for their team. Mobile devices enabled associates to provide check-out services on the floor, which minimized wait times for customers. We also streamlined the credit application process, allowing customers to be approved instantly and complete a purchase with a store card during the same transaction.

Developed in another 16-week pilot program, the new, flexible retail system also adapts to the user’s needs. Working from our comprehensive jobs-to-be-done analysis (JTBD) during the project’s requirements stage, we solved against the many use cases a team member might encounter during a transaction. For example, if an associate is working with a customer shopping for draperies who needs to see a product on a large display, the store’s handheld devices dock with a larger screen to offer a full view.  At the same time, the device becomes a credit card reader to facilitate checkout at the new station. This flexibility offers operational efficiency by allowing associates to dock and provide support at the cash wrap area during busy periods. Plus, it improves the store’s cost model for operations by ensuring these workstations remain active and readily available.

At the same time, the system integrates the differing services the store provides. Associates working in beauty or hair styling can use handheld devices to help customers find other items on their shopping list while they’re in the chair and suggest complementary items from the rest of the store.

Transforming a Legacy Retail Brand’s Future with a Modern POS Experience

After two 16-week engagements, the retail chain met its aggressive deadlines to implement a modernized system. By the end of 2023, 31 stores were live with a Next Gen system with critical business features in place.

With Kitestring supplying documentation, continued education, and upskilling of the store’s team in agile processes, the company has the confidence to pursue expanded goals for its retail system. We provide some staff augmentation for software development, but since handing the solution off to the company’s scrum teams, they continue to implement a backlog of projects to further enhance its current ecosystem.

Along with a streamlined checkout and credit approval process that better serves the company’s business needs, the retailer secured a key benefit to its budget. Through Kitestring’s guidance with choosing a solution and negotiating contracts, the company saved 17% on hardware purchase and support – around $6.2 million.

What can Kitestring do to usher in a new era for your business? Contact us and let’s build something great.