Retailers: What does Microsoft Have for You? (updated)

I bet that just about every day you walk into a retail store and interact with their cashier while the cashier interacts with the cash register. As a kid you brought your candy to the cash register, as a teen you brought your cd-player to the cash register and I guess as an adult you’ve recently brought your Ipod or some other gadget to the cash register. Let’s not forget out lettuce, batteries and shoes.
Unless you’ve bought online, as more of us are doing, the cash register is an important part of the transaction process we go through when buying many things.
Microsoft and other large technology vendors know this and continue to reach out to this market with more mature offerings.
The biggest “competition” in this market, for technology vendors, is not other retailers, but retailers who are NOT using point of sales solutions. These retailers are using paper/pencil or basic cash registers with no intelligence beyond adding numbers and opening a cash register.
Microsoft started developing a specific solution for retailers about 5 years ago, and launched its first product 4 years ago.
Brendan O’Meara, General Manager, Dynamics POS Solutions explained to me that Microsoft has two solutions – Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System and Microsoft Dynamics POS.
RMS is geared towards larger businesses for managing operations within stores and across the organization. It also has advanced functionality such as multi-dimensional inventory management, customized reporting, advanced purchasing, and receivables management.
The POS solution is designed to replace the cash register and is ideal for single store retailers.
So what’s new?
In POS version 2.0, Microsoft, is announcing 1) integration with Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 2) Customizable, roles-based UI 3) extending the store front to Web and 4) a competitive customer support offering to compete head on with Quickbooks POS
In RMS version 2.0, Microsoft is announcing 1) easy management of complex inventory 2) customized PO creation through Microsoft Office integration 3) Supports next generation hardware devices and 4) Partnership with Retail Owners Institute
How will Microsoft deliver its updated solutions?
Today Microsoft is also announcing that:
1. HP will have a “go-to-market”, turn-key POS solution (updated)in conjunction with ecommerce and payment solutions company First Data (Get more on this here)
2. Best Buy will sell Casio branded POS solutions
3. Microsoft IT partners will continue to play a role in selling Microsoft POS solutions
Computer World writes that pricing for Microsoft’s point-of-sale software starts at $799 for a single store; Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System starts at $1,190 for a single store.
Did you know that:
1.3 million retailers have 4.1 million lanes (combined) and manage from 1 – 9 stores each
8 thousand retailers have 620 thousand lanes and mange from 10 – 49 stores
1 thousand retailers have 750 thousand lanes and manage 50 – 500
300 retailers have 2.9 million lanes and manage 500+ stores
If you want to know more about the retail industry read Challenges of the future: The rebirth of small, independent retail in America
Get more information on RMS here and POS here.