Since opening its first store in the UK in 2007, women’s fashion retailer Apricot has crafted an impressive story of success. In addition to opening a further 11 stores, it has also secured more than 900 concessions across the UK, Europe and as far as the USA, working with major retail brands including New Look, House of Fraser and Debenhams. It also operates a very successful ecommerce business.
Apricot offers affordable, fashionable clothing made to the highest quality standards aimed at women of all ages. Its range extends from wardrobe staples to limited edition and on-trend garments. The brand is particularly well known for its signature prints sourced from all over the world. Alongside its exciting clothing collections, Apricot prides itself on the quality of service it provides to customers, whether in a store, in a concession or online.
Since opening its first store in 2007, Apricot had sourced all of its point of sale systems through fashion industry POS specialist Fashion Master.
While the relationship with Fashion Master remained good and the systems served the company well through its initial expansion, a decade on it was becoming increasingly obvious that POS was in need of a revamp.
“Our current systems were getting old and were getting to be a bit of an eyesore in stores,” said Sandie Beaverstock, an area manager at Apricot. “A lot of the old systems were run on Windows XP so they needed changing due to age and support. We also wanted a system that had better speed to be able to serve customers more efficiently.”
The old PC-based systems were taking up space and took away from the chic, sharp design of Apricot stores. Based on Windows XP, there were no longer any security updates or performance patches available from Microsoft, and Fashion Master had stopped development on the Matrix software platform the company was using.
Looking forward, Apricot wanted to prepare for the future by installing a system which could handle multi-channel integration between stores and online. Plus, if they wanted to switch to modern touchscreen interfaces, their existing Windows XP operating system was not capable of supporting them.
The spur for change turned out to be the buyout of Fashion Master by Cunninghams.
“Cunninghams has made our relations much more enjoyable,” said Sandie. “It is very easy to talk directly with our account manager Steve [Beechey] and business gets dealt with a lot more smoothly now.”
Steve started working on the Apricot account in 2016 and quickly became a driving force behind the upgrade to new EPOS systems in all 12 of Apricot’s UK stores.
Based on Apricot’s requirements, Steve recommended the AURES Sango all-in-one touchscreen terminal as the main hardware component for the new system.
“We wanted to install Fashion Master Retail, which is a much more modern and powerful platform than the software Apricot was using,” explained Steve. “FM Retail is designed for touchscreen terminals, so we had to switch the old PC-based till system.
“Sango is ideal, it offers powerful processing so everything it does is fast and efficient. And as an all-in-one terminal it is cost effective because it means the client does not have to buy all of the different hardware components separately, plus it saves space.”
Sandie said of the new Sango terminals: “They look clean and modern, they blend in well with our colour pallet in store. The touchscreens are very easy to use. Staff find them easier considering today’s mobile phone technology, they are all used to touchscreens. Because they are all-in-one terminals, there is less equipment, so that helps with PCI training and making sure staff understand the set up.
Apricot also recently opened its first in-store cafe in Basingstoke, opting for the smaller AURES Nino terminal and again running Fashion Master software. The company is planning to expand with a series of new store openings over the next year and is happy it has found the right EPOS partnerships to support its ambitions.
“We are certainly happy with the EPOS solution we now have and aim to stay with it as we continue to grow,” said Sandie. “We have purchased 14 systems so far and wouldn’t hesitate to purchase again.”
Apricot is a women’s fashion brand founded in 2007. Sourcing fabrics and prints from around the world, all of its clothing and accessory collections are designed in house. It operates 12 stores across the UK and Ireland, and has an international presence with more than 900 concessions in major department stores across the UK, Europe and the USA. For more information, visit www.apricotonline.co.uk
Founded in 1989, the AURES Group manufactures EPOS hardware, open-system equipment and peripherals for all points-of-sale and points-of-service operations, including specialist food and non-food stores, retail outlets, superstores and catering and hospitality.
Headquartered in France, AURES has subsidiaries in the UK, Germany, Australia and the USA plus a network of distributors and resellers in 50+ countries. For more information, visit www.aures.com.