23 August 2018

by Jason Southern – UK Channel Manager

With the start of the new Premier League and Football League season upon us, we thought it was an opportune time to focus in on a niche retail sector that is enjoying championship form – sports stadium retail.

Whereas once upon a time, sales operations at football stadiums were all about half-time cups of tea and pies, nowadays professional clubs across all sports run their own sophisticated merchandising operations, with branded stores open to the public throughout the week, not just on match days.

There is good reason for clubs to be investing in their own retail operations. Despite the challenging times the UK high street is facing, the sportswear sector remains buoyant, seeing estimated growth above 6% in 2017.

Able to command the ultimate in brand loyalty from fans, sports clubs can benefit from high margins in apparel and footwear, making available exclusive lines and, of course, the customised club shirt. But running a retail operation from your stadium comes with its own unique set of demands, not least in terms of running an EPOS system capable of handling huge spikes in footfall on match days.

We asked two of our channel partners, Retail & Sports Systems and Touchretail, to share some insights from their considerable experience supplying EPOS to top level football clubs, and let us into some of the secrets of great stadium EPOS.

Integrated solutions

Touchretail supplies integrated retail management systems to a wide footprint of businesses, including fashion, footwear, sportswear and homeware retailers. It also has insider knowledge of the stadium retail sector, having installed systems at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium (formerly the Millennium Stadium), Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium and Ipswich Town’s Portman Road.

It’s most recent stadium project at Ipswich Town highlighted just how sophisticated modern stadium retail IT solutions need to be. The system installed focused on the club’s two-storey Blue Planet superstore, but also needed capacity to support pop-up stores and kiosks used around the ground on match days.

Dave Joyce, area sales manager at Touchretail, said: “In addition to supplying AURES YUNO till bundles, we delivered an advanced suite of products for inventory management in the form of TRIMS and complementary TouchPOS software throughout their stadium retail operation.”

“Modules supplied ranged from advanced stock balancing elements such as ‘Max/Mins’ and automated stock re-ordering/replenishment, to comprehensive reporting suites for accurate business metrics. We also provided POS enhancements such as our versatile ‘Kit Builder’ software which caters for stock-controlled customer shirt printing.”

TRIMS, which stands for Touchretail Inventory Management System, is the company’s flagship product, an end-to-end retail solution which integrates everything from warehousing operations to sales processing and eCommerce. It was installed on AURES YUNO terminals in the club store, and also on mobile handheld devices to be used at match day kiosks.

Lee Hyde, Ipswich Town’s director of retail operations, explained the difference this kind of all-in-one approach makes to sports club. “We have all of our reporting integrated into one solution offering us live data. We are able to process transactions in a much quicker timescale at peak times,” he said. “We are also able to eradicate a huge amount of manually intensive roles with the introduction of the new handheld devices. These are great for warehousing and logistics operations.”

High performance flexible hardware

Retail Sports Systems, which has worked with 19 professional football clubs plus three Premiership rugby union clubs, agrees that one of the secrets to modern stadium retail is making sure everything is integrated in one place, from inventory to different retail operations around a club. As a further example of this, when Retail Sports Systems installed the EPOS at Huddersfield Town’s new club store last season, it also built a new hospitality system at the club’s training ground, linking the two together in the same back end platform.

Like Touchretail, Retail Sports Systems is a big fan of the AURES YUNO. To date it has installed more than 150 units at various sports stadiums – including 50 at the London Stadium alone, the former Olympic Stadium which is now home to West Ham United.

Asked to explain the benefits of the YUNO in a stadium context, director Richard Waltham said: “Clients love it because it looks great and is reliable. AURES was recommended to us by another EPOS supplier. We were impressed by the build quality, price point and the three-year on-site warranty.  We quickly decided to use the YUNO as our preferred POS unit.”

The YUNO’s flexibility, whether it be different VESA mounting options, the choice of a touchscreen interface, or the ability to add customer facing screens, also provides another benefit very specific to the stadium retail context. “By supplying the YUNO with a customer-facing screen, we have been able to increase sales of personalised shirts by displaying the back of the shirt to the customer,” said Richard. “The ability to run adverts on the tills also allows an additional income stream.”

So end-to-end integration from inventory to sales, the processing power and speed to cope with high match day demand, the flexibility to extend operations with mobile retail, reliable hardware and visible kit customisation – they are the star players shooting for success in stadium EPOS solutions.

To find out more about EPOS for sports club and stadium retail, contact us here.