Before the sun rises on an April morning in Indiana, thousands of women line up outside the Ft. Wayne Memorial Coliseum for the first day of the 2015 Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. Row after row of products, all sporting the bright, swirling patterns that have become the signature of the brand, are waiting inside. As shoppers pour into the main hall to pick out their favorite bags, purses, accessories and stationery, the next phase of the shopping experience begins: checkout. To assist in coming up with a solution to keep checkout lines moving while gathering all the necessary sales and customer data, American Metro is on hand for support.
Since Vera Bradley is used to operating a full retail setup, they were used to many of the high end functions that accompany a full PC-based point of sale system. Due to the nature of a fast-paced, temporary warehouse sale, there are additional requirements. The large inventory, consisting of certain styles that appear in multiple sizes, colors or patterns, has price adjustments that need to be made. Therefore, when a certain style goes on sale, the change needs to affect all variations at once.
The sales floor is marked as well as possible, but customers like to be able to verify how much they will be paying for certain items. Price checkers installed on the floor help keep lines at the checkout counters moving.
Customer data tracking is also a factor. Most customers register online, before the event, however some will register on site. The point of sale system will need to integrate with the database of registered shoppers. That data is cross-referenced when a custom checks out, to track how much each person is spending. Since this is a public event, spending limits are put in place to prevent wholesalers from buying large quantities to resell.
Months before the start of the event, American Metro begins the preparations for the sale. Due to the limited space and desire to track purchase trends, each customer needs to register before they can shop. Online pre-registration is implemented as well as on-site registration kiosks. Details on each customer such as general contact info, eligible discounts and spending history are accessed by scanning their name badge at the checkout register. This ensures that in the 6 days of the event, the nearly 67,000 attendees coming from all 50 states and 8 countries proceed through the checkout line as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The on-site team from American Metro set up an integrated network consisting of 84 SPT-3000 terminals running AIMsi, the touch screen, PC-based system, set up in an adjacent room. Also on the network are the 4 customer service terminals, 12 registration kiosks and 20 price checker units. The result was that after a day of shopping, checking out only took about 7 minutes on average with peak times reaching a 20-25 minute wait time.
At the end of each day, the reporting options were accessible almost instantaneously. Using AIMsi software provided a system that is comparable to costly, permanent systems, and its reports provide a great deal of detail in many areas and formats.