Innovative Electronics integrates diverse retail information systems for large retailers. Instead of a brochure, we developed a Retail Connections Guide. And instead of producing a brochure no one wanted, we produced a Guide everyone could understand (even the buyers!). This Guide explained how the ideal retail system works, how the components work, and how to combine them. 
The Retail Connections Guide positioned Innovative as the Retail Connections Specialists, and encouraged potential customers to call, fax and e-mail with connections questions which become the basis for proposals. In it, we describe the Ideal Retail System.

Retail Connections Guide...A Guide to understanding and managing today's retail information systems.

By combining diverse technologies, successful retailers are increasing return on investment, reducing expenditures, and creating ideal retail information systems.

A Retail Information System consists of four components:
Point-of-Sale (POS) systems to record transactions, In-Store Processors (ISPs) to manage each store, the Enterprise Management System/Data Warehouse which stores data and manages the entire chain, and the networks which connect these components.

Ideally, data travels to and from each of three major components.
In an ideal retail information system, data travels between the data warehouse, the ISPs and the POS terminals in real-time over networks. The richness of the data (in terms of quantity, detail, and usability), the speed of the network, and the ability of the major components to work in concert relate directly to the quality and effectiveness of the retail information system.

Successful retailers rely on information-rich systems for effective management and profitability.
More than ever, retailers rely on information systems for effective management and profitability. A flexible, dependable, robust and accessible information system is essential to remaining competitive in today's retail marketplace. Price and service, the ability to identify trends, and the flexibility to make changes quickly are key factors to success in retailing. However, mergers, acquisitions, growth, and ever changing technologies continue to erode the quality of the information system. Retailers are left with a myriad of old and new components, diverse systems, platforms, and devices which are becoming obsolete and/or do not work well together.
As a result, many retailers are faced with a difficult choice: either forego newer or enhanced technologies, or incur the high cost of replacing old technologies. The cost to replace all the diverse hardware components, platforms and devices to create an ideal information system is not economically practical for most retailers. Since replacement does not guarantee that new technology will integrate successfully, retailers could once again be faced with the same dilemma.

Making the right connections.
Fortunately, solutions are available which enable retailers to create an ideal system today by combining existing components of varying ages, makes and models. This can be achieved with minimum disruption, and at greatly reduced cost as compared to replacement. Upgrades to existing equipment can occur all at once, a store at a time, or station by station. Better yet, with the right connections, retailers can choose the best components and devices, at the best price, from a variety of vendors, with the assurance of total system compatibility today and in the future.

The features of the ideal system, component by component.

The Point-Of-Sale (POS) Systems, in their most basic configuration, capture only essential sales data. But they can do so much more. As transactions are entered, the POS sends data to the In-Store Processor for storage, additional processing, and ultimately transmission to the data warehouse at corporate headquarters. The POS captures all mission-critical data i.e. price, quantity, item data and SKU information, etc. This information supports the
management of the entire retail enterprise.

The In-Store-Processor (ISP), to which all POS are networked, is a strategic store management tool. It acts as the in-store control point and each store's information gateway. The ISP monitors and collects all the POS transactions as they occur, and also processes this data into useful reports. In addition, the ISP can provide the POS terminals and other networked devices with access to added functionality such as: credit verification, inventory, back-order information, price look-up, e-mail, bridal registry and layaway, time clock and attendance, personalized customer information, and special preferred customer offers. While the ISP enables the Store Manager to monitor, track and control all operations for the individual store, it also processes and uploads this information to the Data Warehouse at Corporate. Ideally, the data is uploaded in real-time, which provides Corporate with up-to-the-minute flash reports on a store-by-store and chain-wide basis.

The Enterprise Management System/Data Warehouse, typically located at corporate headquarters, is the data repository and management system for the retail chain. The Data Warehouse collects, stores and processes all data from each of the stores in the chain. Networked to each store's ISP as well as all management workstations, it is capable of providing up-to-the-minute flash reports at all operational levels -chain wide, regional, store-by-store, or any selection of stores. From Corporate, managers can review store and chain performance, communicate with store managers, track costs, sales, profits and inventories on an item-by-item or multi-item basis, distribute regional or chain wide markdowns, and effectively manage all (or any selection of) stores from a central control point.

Networks are the backbone of the ideal retail information system, responsible for the speed and reliability of the information delivery, as well as the connections of all the diverse components. Typically, network traffic flows over leased lines, satellite, frame relay and/or direct-connect high-speed modem using a variety of protocols which may include TCP/IP and SNA/SDLC. Better networks provide built-in redundancies to avoid down time and move transaction information faster. Using new technologies, multiple networks and multiple types of networks can be effectively combined. The right solution is to combine existing components and increase functionality. Most retail technologies currently in use can be integrated and enhanced to
provide virtually any functionality via a combination of hardware and software, at much less cost than replacement. Innovative has solutions for virtually all components and devices.

Manage 1000 stores as easily as one.
Once all components are successfully integrated into a single retail information system, retailers can manage 1000 stores as easily as one. Store and Corporate managers, monitoring real-time operational data such as sales, inventories, and personnel, can adjust pricing on the fly, offer last-minute markdowns, and take advantage of last-minute opportunities. Both Corporate and Store managers can configure store parameters, load new POS terminal software, change price look-up files, and re-program POS terminals instantly. And ISPs and POS terminals can be re-programmed regionally and chain-wide from workstations at headquarters. Sale prices and special offers (complete with automatic start and end times and dates), can be sent to all or selected POS terminal groups at once, without the need to re-program each POS terminal individually.

The right connections are the key to successful retailing.
With up-to-the-minute information continually being processed and made available chain-wide in real-time, retailers gain control, reduce training and operations costs, and increase productivity. Management can monitor, control and manage stores more easily and more effectively. And mergers, acquisitions, and expansion no longer pose a threat to the effectiveness of the retail information system. With the right connections, retailers are able to concentrate on the business of retailing, and the success of the chain.

Get the right connections now.
Since 1977, Innovative has been providing cost-effective solutions to integrate diverse retail components of varying ages, makes and models. Utilizing our own solutions in combination with those of third-party developers, Innovative's team of retail connections specialists can help you create the ideal system today, using most of the technology and components you already have in place.

Get FREE Retail Connections information from the Connections Specialists. Need help connecting retail hardware and software or have questions?
Fax or e-mail to one of the following:
Connections Specialists Fax line: 1-954-432-0705
Connections Specialists e-mail:
Visit our web site at:

Count on Innovative for retail solutions.

At Innovative, we put it all together.

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