After an extensive software evaluation process, Modell’s partnered with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to deploy TCS’ OmniStore solution. The solution allows retailers to transform historically proprietary and closed POS solutions into a single open architecture that enables a seamless experience across channels. Modell’s POS strategy was to create a variety of in-store touch points beyond the traditional POS registers, including mobile devices, self-service kiosks, and customer concierge tablets. within a unified POS solution that provides personalized customer service and loyalty capabilities.
“We were drawn to TCS’s open and tiered architecture,” says Strobelt. “It allows us to connect across channels and leverage our digital assets. Our vision for the future is to be able to sell in-store and out, on a variety of different media. We needed the flexibility to be untethered from the cash wrap. The traditional siloed point of sale model was not going to be a good fit for us.”
Modell’s legacy POS solution required associates to be bound to the cash wrap. TCS’ software solution empowers associates with one version of the truth regardless of where payment is tendered. Both behind the traditional counter and on the sales floor, associates have access to gift card, loyalty, price, and promotional information in real time, allowing them to provide personalized, differentiated service.
Another key aspect of the new POS solution was to enable tighter security. The new POS is chip and pin capable, and centrally tokenizes sensitive customer cardholder data across all channels, lowering Modell’s exposure to in-store fraud.
The POS software has been remarkably stable since it was first piloted in October of last year and system response times have all exceeded expectations. In fact, the solution has never been turned off since it was installed on the first register. This success metric is even more impressive when you consider that each Modell’s location sells hundreds of thousands of SKUs, which are all subject to a litany of promotions including coupons, discounts and special offers, that must be accurately calculated on the spot and personal-ized to the customer. While the first iteration of the software is executing admirably, the solution is far from its final state. Currently in 46 stores, the first version will be fully deployed chainwide by the end of Q2, and the next version is already undergoing user acceptance testing.
The software’s agile development methodology allows Modell’s and TCS to continually enhance the offering to increase the frequency of functionality updates and address any potential bugs in the system. The onshore/offshore development team has been an added benefit. TCS operates in four cities in India, while Modell’s has IT staff in both New York and Cleveland, ensuring that if and when issues arise they can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
While upgrading its POS software was a crucial mile marker on Modell’s omnichannel digital transformation, it is only one stop on its ongoing journey. The retailer has released and continues to develop exciting next-gen initiatives that will work in concert with its shiny new POS to further differentiate the Modell’s experience.
In January, Modell’s launched a new website powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud that ushers in a new era of personalization, customer experience and integration to
“Traditionally we never had access to or shared information across channels with our old website,” says Strobelt. “We are in the process of integrating the new site in many ways across the business. The new platform has a lot of personalization and customer experience features and makes navigation and checkout frictionless for our customers. Our e-commerce team is hard at work testing and trying out new and unique experiences.”
The Modell’s and TCS team continues to iterate its POS software project and integration with the Salesforce e-commerce platform is next on deck. The team came up with a few quick wins, which are being incorporated into the solution and will have a positive impact on the store experience. Shopper e-commerce data like wish lists and cart history will be available to in-store associates to tailor the path to purchase and spur the sale.
“We have a lot of POS features we are building in alignment with our new website,” says Dorsey. “One of them being increased visuals. When the cashier scans an item, a little thumbnail image of the product will pop up. It is a visual indicator to ensure that we are selling the correct items. If the associate selects the image they can see a full-size version as well as details about the product, inventory, price and promotional history in real-time.” In addition, an information bar on every POS device indicates how many online orders have been allocated to that store, giving real-time visibility on ship-from-store activities.
In concert with the minor tweaks to the front-end experience, Modell’s has some major in-store initiatives on the docket for the remainder of the year. In the third quarter the sporting goods retailer looks to introduce new mobile POS units, a portable next-gen register setup, and a self-service kiosk option.
THE BIG PICTURE
The sporting goods business is a commodity business. Consumers have various shopping options and are making purchase decisions based not just on price, but on experience. Only those retailers that continue to invest in their backend firepower and customer-facing prowess will stand the test of time in today’s ultra-competitive landscape.
“Our entire effort has been to make it more convenient for our customers, and we will continue to explore new capabilities as part of our omnichannel roadmap,” says Strobelt. “We invested in our POS solution for flexibility, accessibility, and to be a leader in the omnichannel space.”
As long as Modell’s continues to make big strategic bets on differentiating technology there is no reason to believe that the 129-year-old brand won’t be meeting customer expectations for another century to come.