When it comes to technology implementation, the old adage that you get what you pay for applies. But manufacturer and retailer Skagen Designs is getting even more for its technology investment than one would expect, thanks toPioneer POS and High Meadow Business Solutions, a Manchester, Vermont-based point of sale software developer and hardware reseller.

With U.S. headquarters in Reno, Nevada, Skagen Designs sells its Skagen Denmark line of watches at major department and specialty stores. Skagen Denmark watches, jewelry and sunglasses can be purchased at many independent jewelry or gift stores, as well as at Skagen Denmark outlet stores. Not long ago, the company commenced the rollout of six new retail stores. Management decided it needed to equip these locations with a POS and inventory management system that was not only user-friendly, but highly affordable and flexible.

To fit the bill, High Meadow specified a system comprised of Pioneer POS Stealth-M5 all-in-one touchcomputers running its RetailEdge POS and inventory management software, plus Star Micronics TSP 143 receipt printers. A custom data export solution created by Skagen using RetailEdge’s API links the system to Skagen’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) application from Great Plains.

Two Pioneer POS Stealth-M5 all-in one POS systems have been installed at each of three new Skagen Designs stores; deployment at the remaining three stores is scheduled to occur during the remainder of this year. On-site employee training required just under eight hours. Each store was ready to go live with the system a few weeks after installation, with slight delays caused only by construction as individual sites were readied for opening. Installation took approximately one day per store, at a cost of under $8,000 per location.

“The rich feature-set and versatility offered by the hardware and software alike enabled us to meet Skagen’s needs for a price that fell far below budget,” said Sasha Unruh, who headed up the project for High Meadow.  Powered by Intel’s Atom and available up to Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz, the Stealth-M5 can run as a thin client utilizing solid-state disk or compact flash with Windows XPembedded. Additional add-on features used by Skagens include an integrated credit card reader/ magnetic stripe reader, and customer display. Unruh also likes the product’s durability, having once dropped a receipt printer on it from a height of three feet to receive a mere scratch on its monitor.

Meanwhile, RetailEdge provides all the functionality of software with a $5,000 licensing fee, at only $450 for the first workstation and $225 for additional workstation. On the POS side, the solution supports bar code scanning and integrated credit card processing, affording Skagen the rapid customer throughput it desired. The software also generates and tracks customer lists; issues, tracks and redeems gift certificates; supports loyalty card programs; handles marketing/advertising campaign tracking; and more. On the inventory management side, it supports integrated purchasing; tracks inventory by multiple variables; and generates purchase orders based on inventory levels and/or sales histories; among other functions.

“By using a POS solution comprised of the Pioneer POS Stealth-M5 and RetailEdge software, Skagen now has the speed and multi-functionality it wanted in a POS hardware software solution that keeps operating expenses low and is not accompanied by an outrageous monthly support plan,” Unruh concluded. “It’s a ‘win-win’ situation.”

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