20 December 2018

“The AURES tills and printers we use are gloss black, they look good and are compact and neat. The tills’ processing power is fast and the touchscreens are adjustable, responsive and clear. All of this allows for a clean, fresh look and a faster, smoother till experience for the customer – a happy customer is our ultimate goal.”

Ewan Moody, IT Manager, Caulders

Caulders is a thriving garden centre chain with five outlets across the central belt of Scotland, from Braidbar to the south of Glasgow over to Cupar in Fife. Founded in 1999 by Colin and Mandy Barrie, Caulders has retained the close-knit spirit of a family-run business as it has grown.

From the original small plant centre in Mugdock Country Park, the business has enjoyed steady expansion over the past two decades and today employs more than 200 staff. As well as beautifully stocked plant and garden departments, each centre also boasts a high-quality restaurant and gift shop, with staff trained to deliver the very best service in both retail and catering settings.

The Caulders business motto is to pursue new ideas built on a solid foundation of old-fashioned principles. True to that philosophy, the company has readily embraced new technology as it looks to achieve excellence in all areas of its operations, including keeping up to speed with the latest developments in EPOS.

On that journey, Caulders has been assisted by another family-owned Scottish business, ACR EPOS Systems. Ayrshire Cash Registers, as the company was originally known, has been operating since the 1970s, when it was launched by the grandfather of the present owner. ACR now specialises in end-to-end EPOS system supply covering hardware and software, consultancy, integration and support, with clients across food and convenience retail, visitor attractions and fashion.

The Challenge

Caulders and ACR first started working together in 2014 when the garden centre company took over a new site at Erskine. The Erskine centre already had a Bleep EPOS system installed, supplied by ACR, whereas the other three sites Caulders was operating at that time were still running legacy cash register systems.

Roddy McKenzie, Retail Systems Support at ACR, said: “I convinced them of the benefits of EPOS and they agreed to use the system in the centre they bought for a trial period to assess performance and operation. I provided 24/7 support and help in the initial period and they saw the benefits of using EPOS. This led them to buy from me for the other outlets.”

Ewan Moody, IT Manager at Caulders, added: “We knew the limitations of our old existing system and we could clearly see the advantages to Erskine. We asked Roddy to assist us as we took over the system. Within a short time, we could see the flexibility & benefits. With the excellent customer support, we received from Roddy and the system’s adaptability, we knew it would be able to grow with us.”

Roddy explained that the main demand in building out the system so it would integrate all of Caulder’s centres was supplying appropriate hardware. “Caulders wanted a system that was easy to maintain and use day to day, they also wanted local support from someone with many years of retail and wholesale experience. We had to bring together a cost-effective server-based EPOS solution that was adaptable, customisable and affordable but also reliable and scalable. 

“My priority was to supply hardware I was confident was reliable and of quality manufacture with support I could rely on if I myself needed help. Cost was also important and I needed to provide the hardware at a competitive price.”

In terms of functionality, Ewan said his priorities were to combine simplicity with a much greater level of insight and control over sales and service management compared to what was possible previously. “We wanted a system that was not just simple for staff to use but also for the customer to understand, clear and simple, i.e. receipts itemised, what discounts they received and how much they saved etc.

“We were always able to see sales figures through the old till system, but were unable to analyse in detail what made up those figures. We wanted the ability to look to see what was selling at our other centres and make informed decisions as to why a product is selling at one but not another.

“We wanted to run sales reports, best sellers top 50 lists, sales by departments, we wanted to be able to record promotion vouchers returns, damaged stock, spoilage and so on. We wanted to be able to quickly and easily search for documents and to compare weekly sales from previous years to forecast required stock or staffing.”

The Solution

Looking for an EPOS hardware option that was robust and versatile enough to meet the needs of all of Caulders’ retail and restaurant operations, ACR turned to the AURES YUNO. “We’ve been selling AURES terminals for around 14 years,” said Roddy. “AURES hardware is at the premium end so the cost had to be justified. Design and adaptability were also important as well as the overall appearance.”

Ewan commented: “The AURES tills and printers we use are gloss black, they look good and are compact and neat. The tills’ processing power is fast and the touch screens are adjustable, responsive & clear. They have reduced glare when the sunlight is on them. The integrated loyalty card readers on the side are small and unobtrusive too.

“All of this allows for a clean, fresh look and a faster, smoother till experience for the customer – a happy customer is our ultimate goal.

“With over 200 staff, many have come from other shop environments so they are used to using other EPOS systems,” Ewan continued. “Many comment on how easy the tills are to use. Most staff with no previous EPOS experience can be trained to use the tills or back office within 30 minutes. It is very straightforward and logical.”

“System performance has been noted,” added Roddy. “The quad core processors in the YUNO offer great performance and as Caulders’ product file is in excess of 60,000 lines, speed of product lookup is important. Feedback about the YUNO in general is good, the design is sleek and suits any environment, it also popular with large retailers so the brand is often seen on the high street which adds to its credibility.”

Overall, Ewan says the company is very happy with the complete EPOS system and the impact it has had on operations, as well as with the assistance they have received from ACR.

“The system is now implemented at all our centres,” he said. “It has worked well for us, it is certainly not all bells and whistles as some of the systems out there, but we didn’t want or need that, as previously said we needed a system that was fully functional, simple & adaptable.

“Without a doubt ACR customer service is second to none. As IT Manager I usually try not to access the Bleep system until after 6pm, when trading has finished, but I can email or phone Roddy just about 24/7 and he’ll always come back to me quickly.

“We need a fast response to software or hardware failure. We also have a fail-safe built in for loss of internet connection. If our server goes down in head office, the tills can all still trade.”

The latest project Caulders has undertaken with ACR is to develop an EPOS loyalty scheme that is currently being rolled out across all centres. Once the bespoke software has been finished, discounts will automatically be applied by a swipe of a card at point of sale, further improving the customer experience with faster, easier and clearer sales processing.

AURES YUNO Unit Highlights

The AURES YUNO combines robust performance with stylish, compact design, making it a flexible choice for use in a wide range of retail and hospitality settings.

Available with a choice of three different processors, the YUNO features a shock- and scratch-proof PCAP touchscreen monitor, either a standard 4:3 15.1’’ screen or a 16:9 15.6’’ widescreen version. The durable casing also stands up to dirt, dust, grease and spillages. VESA fixings mean it can be mounted on walls or poles as well as used on the table top.

Overall, the YUNO’s combination of advanced technology, ergonomics, flexibility and design make it an ideal value-for-money investment for any customer-facing business.