Choosing an EPOS solution can be a significant investment in resources, time, and money. Especially if you want an intuitive omnichannel solution integrating all parts of your company with real-time knowledge of sales, stock, and customer data, giving you a holistic view.
That being said, you need to have a structural process and be careful how you plan out your implementation process. This is to ensure no time is wasted on unnecessary steps and where obstacles, if faced, are dealt with in a timely manner. The goal is to have a seamless experience for your customers, so you want to make sure your systems are well prepared and set up for daily business. Essentially, you want a smooth and efficient process.
The essential steps
One of the steps is to have contact with your solution provider. Having them at hand, you are able to consult and ask for advice should you need knowledge or guidance in the process. Allocate time for the project to be completed as overlaps of other projects can delay your implementation process.
A key point is to revisit and review your existing business processes and workflows so that you know how they will transfer to the new environment. Here you are able to understand where changes or development are needed and fulfil the necessary actions.
Who is involved in the process?
Additionally, it is critical to know who will be involved in the process from beginning to end and in the post-implementation management — such as the IT Manager/Director and developers. A project manager would also be ideal to help steer the project in the right direction, some key members of staff that will use the system day to day. Some workflows may change and this can allow you to develop best work practices. Knowing who is involved and delegating tasks will ensure that you are not greeted with unwanted surprises when you turn your system on.
Transferring and testing
Determine what you need to transfer – data on stock, suppliers, products, and customers, for example, will be required, but you will also most likely want previous sales data. Agree on what data formats and classifications your company needs, then try the process to determine how long it will take.
Testing while in development should begin on the first day, whether it’s fine-tuning features and functions in the new system to match your business or more extensive development work to link with third-party systems.
Prior to training user acceptance testing must be completed in order to test the solution by members of staff to identify any areas for improvement if necessary.
Training on the system for staff needs to be conducted but not too early in the stages as the staff may forget once they start working with the new system. Ideally, when the process is 3/4 complete, it may be ideal to begin training on the system. It will also help you identify workflow patterns of the staff with the system and how quickly they can adapt to the new workflow.
Also, having a relevant workbook/manual is ideal as when issues arise, it may be time-consuming for yourself to constantly call your solution provider for help. Having a set of references will help easily identify key fixes when they are needed to easily identify the issue and the solution.
It is essential to have as minimal interruption as possible to your business. What you do not want are issues piling up which would delay your system going ‘live’ from the time you had originally aimed for, or issues occurring once the system is ‘live’.
Additionally, having a set timeline of when certain objectives should be completed is crucial to keep a track of your progress. With this, you can see where you are and look at what has been accomplished. Without it, you may lose track of time, which can lead to a loss of money. The key aim is to have your steps organised and ensure the necessary individuals are involved in the whole process.
We understand that you may have questions and have many points to learn about the system once it is live. Retail is always full of changes, especially with omnichannel taking over. Therefore, we want to let you know that we will be here for support should you and when you need it.