November 07, 2018 08:00 AM
Real-time Sales Insights and Inventory Visibility
Helps Them Focus on Their Mission
Goodwill Chattanooga, part of the Goodwill Industries non-profit network, has a time-tested mission: To empower people with disabilities and disadvantages to achieve their potential, increase their independence
and to improve their quality of life. Founded in 1923, Goodwill Chattanooga serves more than 10,000 people annually through their 17 stores in 23 counties in Tennessee and Georgia.
Its mission is timeless. Its retail stores, unfortunately, were dated and plagued with inefficiencies. Using antiquated electronic cash registers to ring up sales, it was impossible to identify what was being sold and there was no connection to inventory. Each store could set its own prices, so there was no consistency. Not knowing what was sold, or for how much, opened the way for unaccountable losses. The accounting department manually entered data into Excel spreadsheets, a time-consuming and unreliable process.
In 2012 when Goodwill Chattanooga began looking for a better POS solution, even its credit card processing was done by dial-up modem. As Network Administrator Rebecca Glass put it, “There was no automation, and everything was a mess.”
Rebecca’s team sought recommendations from other top-performing Goodwill locations. A visit to a Goodwill outlet in Texas showed NCR Counterpoint in action—a convincing display of POS tracking, inventory management, and even customer loyalty. Goodwill Chattanooga inked a deal with NCR partner Retail Control Systems (RCS) to install the Counterpoint POS system and train Goodwill employees, a process they found to be thorough, fast-paced and easy to follow.
Real-time Sales Data Leads to Dramatic Growth
How well does NCR Counterpoint work? “We can track sales in real time,” says Glass. “With the integrated dashboard, our VP can check on sales at any given moment. They can reach out to our district managers to have a flash sale to get their sales back in line with current goals.”
Goodwill Chattanooga now has the framework in place to standardize prices as well as monitor inventory, so employees can respond quickly to restock shelves. And this isn’t the only way it’s increased sales. Rebecca raves about Counterpoint’s offline functionality: “We love knowing that our systems will keep running in case of a major Internet outage. Now we have an offline mode with backup for processing our customer’s credit cards so downtime is a thing of the past for us.”
Counterpoint’s automated checkout allows lines to move faster—great for customer satisfaction. And NCR Smart Alert provides text messaging to notify management when specific cash registers need a cash drop, or when a customer has made a large purchase (above a set threshold) so “we can immediately reach out and thank the customer for their patronage,” says Glass.
Customers are also reaping the benefits of Goodwill’s customer loyalty program. With NCR’s Customer Connect application, shoppers earn 4 points per dollar spent, redeemable on other items throughout the store. Goodwill Chattanooga can track sales and offer personalized coupons and reminders for relevant items, by email or in-store. “For example, on Sale Saturdays we may issue coupons for a free item valued at $2.99 or less, good for use on a future visit. We’ve found
that customers will return just to use the coupons,” says Rebecca.
“We can immediately reach out and thank the customer for their patronage.”
– Rebecca Glass
Round Up at the Register
Goodwill Chattanooga has also initiated a special program to benefit the local community: Round Up at the Register. Sales clerks ask customers if they would like to round up their sale to the next dollar, as a donation. Counterpoint’s highly-customizable interface handles this seamlessly, and “it has proven to be very popular. In fact, Round Up at the Register now contributes an additional $8,000 to $10,000 per month to our mission services programs,” according to Glass.
Goodwill Chattanooga had 13 stores when they moved to NCR Counterpoint. It is set to open its 18th store shortly. Notwithstanding the progress it’s made with Counterpoint, it keeps innovating. Rebecca says, “we are getting ready to launch a program to help save some trees by reducing our usage of register tape. Thanks to Counterpoint, we can email receipts to our customers who request them. This should also help grow our email list quite a bit, thereby expanding our advertising reach.”
In just 5 years, Goodwill Chattanooga has seen demonstrable cost savings and increased customer loyalty. Sales productivity and efficiency have increased, and both inventory management and loss prevention have improved.
Glass sums up Goodwill Chattanooga’s satisfaction with NCR Counterpoint, “All in all, NCR allows our Goodwill family to be better at operating our stores, so we can put more focus on what we do for our mission services.”