Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR), founded in 1882, is one of the capital's oldest and best-loved teams. Playing in the Championship League from its home ground at Loftus Road, the club hopes to build a new stadium at Old Oak Common. From 2011, ownership has been in the hands of business magnates including Air Asia's Tony Fernandes.
An onsite superstore and web shop supplement the club's income through sales of its trademark blue & white replica kit, branded training and leisurewear, accessories and homewares, souvenirs and gifts. Personalised items can also be purchased via the web site.
In 2000, QPR made a significant investment in technology to uplift its retail operations. It purchased Genesis from Esperus Systems, specialist author with 30 years' experience of retail, wholesale, mail order, production and ecommerce solutions, to run its superstore. It went on to develop an online site for purchases of tickets and merchandise; this is not yet fully integrated with shop activity.
Explains Katie Ashby, who manages ecommerce operations: "Retail revenue is extremely important to QPR and our target is high. As new items come in fans and ticket holders buy them straightaway and when we launch new kit, the shop is absolutely packed. And of course we get kids spending their pocket money or Christmas money. We couldn't be without the shop."
By early 2016, QPR's retail operation was facing three challenges. To get the benefits of full multi-channel processing across the shop and website, it needed to upgrade to the latest software version, Genesis Enterprise Real-Time (RT). Existing Toshiba terminals could not support the upgrade.
QPR had also engaged with a CRM and loyalty software provider and was soon to launch a customer reward scheme. It needed terminals able to scan membership cards and tickets, bring up customer details and display cash available to be redeemed. By June 2016, suitable new hardware had to be in place.
Within the store, selling space was under pressure so more compact terminals were felt to be desirable. Esperus, now into its 17th anniversary with QPR, addressed these challenges by introducing QPR to the Yuno touchscreen of its hardware partner AURES Technologies. The Yuno met the challenges with ease.
- New Genesis Real-Time software means QPR has complete control of trading performance;
- Both stock management and reporting have significantly improved;
- Service is faster and slicker as a result of upgraded software running on the Yunos;
- The new compact terminals have released more space at the 6 till points;
- The Yunos are more ergonomic, more secure and easier for occasional staff to use;
- Support for QPR's new customer loyalty scheme and for contactless Chip & PIN payment are two of the new technology's many benefits.
The Solution - Software
Today, with the Esperus solution proven over 16 years of use, the latest version, Genesis Enterprise Real-Time (RT), is deployed. This is a full multichannel solution with transactional ecommerce and integrated stock management capabilities; elements which the club plans to exploit.
"Esperus is great at point-of-sale," enthuses Katie Ashby. "Now we have the real-time system, we can be completely up-to-date with our mail order business. If something is sold in the shop, we immediately see this carried through to the back-office and stock files updated. On match days, our commercial director often rings up to see what has sold. I can now tell him there and then. It's all much quicker and completely accurate."
QPR aims to sell the same products instore and online. Online stock is warehoused in large premises near the ground. "With real-time working I can always see what I have in the superstore and what's in the warehouse and call the warehouse for stock transfers. Over the Christmas period, the shop kept running out of items and we needed fast replenishment. Before Genesis Real-Time, I couldn't be sure what was in stock or where."
QPR find reporting a particular strength of the new Genesis Real-Time solution. For a complete, instant and accurate trading picture, they produce:
- Daily reports to compare system-generated totals with cash and card receipts;
- Regular reports weekly, fortnightly and monthly for the CEO and Accounts;
- Instant stock valuations on total stock or particular items;
- Item analysis by timeline, including late-night shopping;
- Mail order-only sales reports;
- Match-day spend per head averages and totals across all tills;
- Best and worst selling product reports.
The Solution – Hardware
Katie Ashby recalls first seeing the Yunos and being impressed by how neat and streamlined they were compared to the club's Toshiba hardware. "Technology had clearly moved on. With 6 tills running in the shop we needed a lot of counter space to accommodate our sales activity, especially at busy times. The Yunos were not only better looking but were also slimmer."
One of the Yuno's most useful attributes is the ability to angle the screen and alter its height. The QPR superstore is largely staffed by young ladies. "We can simply move the height and screen angle to be comfortable for each of them. Compared to the Toshibas, staff find the images sharper and the touchscreens more sensitive. They're very excited to be using them."
Each assistant has her own login code and PIN. As a result, management is confident that the tills are secure. Staff sign in, and then are immediately logged out after each transaction. "We have complete traceability and can audit who made which sale. It's a much more secure way of working."
The ability of Genesis Real-Time to load images on the Yunos is a boon. When faced with a number of similar products or at particularly busy times it's helpful (especially for staff who work on match days only) to scroll through on-screen images and bring up product details at the touch of a button. "Everything is now so quick, it's really great," says Katie.
The arrival of new Chip & PIN devices to support contactless processing is something the Yunos have taken in their stride. "Our new set-up is brilliant on match days. We scan items in an instant then the buyer taps the new unit and they're on their way in seconds. None of this would be possible without the move to Genesis Real-Time and AURES Yunos."
Also part of the point-of-sale configuration are new AURES ODP 333 printers, designed to visually complement and work with the Yunos. They sit neatly on a shelf underneath the terminals, with no visible wiring.
Barcoding processes have improved too. Printing of barcoded labels is now faster with the ODP 333s. New scanners are housed in small holders on the side of the terminals. "There's not much space behind the tills and on busy match days our scanners often got knocked off the counters in the past. This is much better."
For QPR, the compact Yunos have been the key to better space utilisation, plus they provide new componentry, greater reliability and faster performance. They are the ideal vehicle to run the new real-time, multichannel Esperus solution. Together they form a contemporary and powerful platform from which the club can confidently grow its retail operations.