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The Full Spectrum

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Consumer-shopping habits seem to change daily, and retail solution providers are constantly searching for that vital software to improve sales.

So what’s next? How about the ability to create promotional campaigns that are automatically available at the point-of-sale terminal — no manual intervention needed.

A new tool from Falls Church, Va.-based Criti offers just that: a PCI-compliant, modular, scalable and configurable retail business management suite that will drive sales and enrich the customer experience.

“The promotions and self-campaign-management engine is completely integrated with the point of sale,” says Chinar Deshpande, CEO of Criti.

The Spectrum suite, launched in the U.S. at NRF’s BIG Show in January, speeds up a normally slow process. “If you have a crazy idea, you don’t need to wait for IT to respond to it,” Deshpande says. “That could translate into increased sales and beating the competition during holiday seasons and peak hours.”

Deshpande says Spectrum adds 10 to 15 percent in sales, “because of your responsiveness and your speed to the market with any new idea.” It adds to the bottom line, too, he says, by trimming up to $50,000 from IT expeditures and creating a unified shopping experience, whether through a catalog, website or store.

“You will see the same products, the same pricing, same promotions, same campaigns,” Deshpande says. “For the retailers, it also translates into complete transparency on sales and inventory. That adds to your bottom line because you have not made any different inventories for your different channels.”

Promotional payoff
Brussels-based Prémaman has been using Spectrum in Ireland since April 2010, and the 350-unit baby accessories chain is in the process of rolling out the suite system-wide.

Prémaman general manager Bruno Escojido says Spectrum helps individual shops by providing previously unavailable information like stock, figures and reports. The biggest benefit has been in birth lists, a European concept similar to American wedding registries.

“The idea is that the parent could make a selection of birth things in the shop,” Escojido says, and “anybody worldwide could buy something for that parent as a present.”

Prior to creating a tracking device in Spectrum, Prémaman had no way of synchronizing its birth list efforts. “This feature is quite specific” to Spectrum, Escojido says, and “is very useful for us.”
He says it takes a mother two hours to use the store iPad to create the list that is instantly linked to the system via Spectrum.

“This is a fantastic customer experience,” he says. “All this integration with Spectrum, with our ERP, stock level, birth list and Internet gives a very nice impression to the customer.”

Spectrum prefers to target specialty stores, Deshpande says. “We will not be able to dislodge larger players from using their current IT systems, but we will probably change either that mom-and-pop store or a company with anywhere between 50 to 200 stores.

“We would want to go for retailers who have not really invested a whole lot in IT,” he says. “But because their business has grown, they feel the pinching need to improve their operations.”