Euro Shoe Group makes things easy for its staff and customers. In all of its stores, the company has installed intuitive till systems with Elo 17” touch screens. Customers see a full overview of their purchases on an innovative 15” customer display unit. When new products become available or prices change, the head office can send an immediate update to all of the till systems at the same time.
Ambitious retail group
Euro Shoe Group is a family-run business that has grown into a renowned retail distributor of shoes and textiles. Stores operate under the names Avance and Shoe Discount in Belgium and Avance and Bristol in the Netherlands. Altogether the group owns 400 stores with approximately 520 tills. With so few tills per store, stability and durability are crucial factors: because so many stores have only one till, that till must be 100% reliable.
After seven years, Euro Shoe Group was on the lookout for new hardware and software. The company’s strategy was to seek out the best possible provider for each component and programme so as to assemble a total package that would give optimal results. ICT Manager Guido Vanden Wyngaert led the search for a new till solution. “Euro Shoe Group prefers proven technology. We believe that solid quality is the solution that will provide most value for money in the long term. Our own ICT team set minimum criteria for each component. With an eye to future developments, we knew we definitely wanted a 17” touch screen. Standard screen size in till systems is currently either 12” or 15”, but a bigger screen has more advantages in terms of ergonomics. A 17” screen also allows you to use bigger buttons as well as images of products, and that contributes to a lower margin of error.” Choosing a non-standard format meant disqualifying most of the players on the Benelux market. “We finally met with twelve suppliers, and they all gave us conflicting information” says Guido Vanden Wyngaert. “After a while, we were no longer sure who to listen to. One thing that we did hear often was that Elo Touchsystems provided high-quality products. A number of the suppliers integrated Elo components into the screens they built.”
“Choosing touch technology was also far from straightforward. Everyone we spoke to had different preferences. The big advantage of DOBIT is that they are the only company who could offer us a full range of technologies. And that meant that they could help us make decisions based on objective expertise rather than commercial considerations.” Wendy van de Sande was the DOBIT sales engineer who worked on the case. “In the end, we proposed the Elo 1729L with Intellitouch. Intellitouch is a highly reliable touch technology that combines a number of advantages. The front glass panel is extremely durable and retains excellent touch precision throughout the product’s lifetime. This technology has the longest guarantee period of any. And the glass front ensures that images are clear and colours true. It is also an excellent finger-operated technology.”
“After a few discussions with DOBIT, we were convinced that they were our best bet,” says Guido Vanden Wyngaert. “They listened carefully to our needs and took a pro-active approached based on their own experience. The enormous expertise that DOBIT staff are able to draw upon allows them to think along with us down to the smallest details. In addition, they were able to suggest solutions for other considerations such as the customer display unit and RFID readers.”
“This is how the customer display unit came into being. We use these units to show customers their till receipt and a photograph of their purchases. We also use them as a digital signage tool to broadcast sales messages. There are countless possibilities,” adds Guido Vanden Wyngaert. “Based on our positive experiences with DOBIT and their expertise with digital signage, we set them the challenge of helping us with this component, and in the end we chose them again as our partner.”
Euro Shoe Group wanted to link RFID readers to the screens in order to simplify the work of sales staff. Wendy van de Sande explains. “An RFID reader is not a standard component in the Elo 1729L screen. Our knowledge of Elo screens together with our own expertise in electronics meant that we could build in an RFID component ourselves. In turn, we were able to offer our client a fully integrated system.”
“Our staff are happy with the till system,” says Guido Vanden Wyngaert. “The range of functions has changed little, and touch technology is highly intuitive. That meant that all we needed to get started was a brief on-the-job training session. In most stores that was a question of installation at 8 a.m., training at 9:30 and sales by 10. Managers received a brief instruction from a colleague and were able to train someone else the next week.” “Customers have responded positively to the displays. They actually stop and look at them, and they certainly appreciate being able to see their receipt and a photo of their purchases. We are happy with an opportunity to communicate with our customers in a new way. This is a tool that we will be expanding our use of in the future.”
Win win situation
Guido Vanden Wyngaert is thoroughly satisfied with the partnership with DOBIT. “Everything went very smoothly. We were always able to consult with them when we had questions. It really was a win win situation for us both: an interesting project for DOBIT and an injection of quality for us.” Sales engineer Wendy van de Sande can only agree. ”For us, this project was interesting because Euro Shoe Group has a high-profile presence in both Belgium and in the Netherlands. Installing the RFID reader especially for them was a good learning experience for us. And it was clear from the beginning that we were on the same page with this project. They knew exactly what they wanted and we had plenty of experience with Elo and a good understanding of the market. We really were a perfectly matched pair.”