Intelligent Retail - A Review

Developments in Aquatic Retailing

Whether you are an experienced aquarist or just a beginner, you may have wondered about the history of your chosen hobby. Aquariums actually date back as far as the Roman Empire when some marine specimens were kept and when anemones were displayed in Venetian glass tanks holding seawater. The ancient Chinese kept carp as a food source and eventually developed the species into the decorative forms of Koi that we enjoy today.

However, it wasn't until the 19th century that aquariums came to prominence in the West. In the wake of Charles Darwin's revelations regarding evolution, interest in the natural world increased and people began establishing aquariums to study animals and plants. Explorers were discovering new species all the time and these required research. The new species fired the imaginations of enthusiasts but early aquarists did not benefit from the technologically advanced equipment that we have today and so set-ups were primitive and difficult to maintain.

Things began to move on in the 1920's largely because of the toy industry. The first widely available tropical fish were sold in toy shops with the American toy company Mattel being instrumental in the trend. At that time the only available fish were those which were easy to breed or which could be sourced close to home. The aquariums were made of glass with a metal frame and relied on live plants and natural sunlight to maintain their environments. Marine aquariums required water collected from the sea.

Commercial aviation, which took off (pardon the pun) after World War II, made it possible to transport live fish from their natural habitats to European and American destinations. In response to the more readily available livestock new equipment began to be developed to make maintaining an aquarium more practical. Air pumps and filters became available and were constantly being improved. However, marine aquariums were still almost impossible to maintain without ready access to seawater.

How very different life is for the hobbyist today! Scientific research has continued to improve our understanding of the livestock and the environments that are required to maintain the various species. Technological advances have produced ever more sophisticated equipment, lighting, heating, salt mixes and foods which have made maintaining an aquarium so much more straightforward and the hobby accessible to all. Even marine tanks can be managed successfully by comparative novices.

Marine Aquarium

There is another technological advance which has had a dramatic impact on the popularity of aquariums - the internet. Hobbyists now have easy access to all the help and information they need. People discover the hobby online and become inspired by what they see and learn. No wonder aquariums are more popular than ever! Many people now also initially discover Romsey World of Water online and our customers are able to buy their equipment and supplies via our website. We are glad to be able to reach a wider audience and we are thrilled at how many of you return to us again and again. However, trading online is not without its complications!

Contemporary Retailing

Those of you who have visited us at Romsey World of Water will know that we have a generously stocked centre and offer our customers over 5000 different products. Such a large and diverse range would be difficult to manage without the added complications of ecommerce but with online sales in the mix, modern retailing is a complex affair. Happily, technology for retailers has kept pace with all the other developments in our industry. We are able to offer a premium service and an extensive range because we have the right EPoS (electronic point of sale) tills and software.

Our EPoS system from Intelligent Retail - A Review

Not so long ago we realised that it was time to update our systems and so we began the search for the best option. We decided that Connect by Intelligent Retail was the most appropriate choice for our business. Connect is an award winning, premium multichannel system for retailers which makes stock control and order management easy. We were initially drawn to Connect because of its user friendly drag and drop approach. We can add new products quickly and then simply drag and drop them into our chosen sales channels.

Real time stock adjustments mean that we can always successfully fulfil your orders. If our online shop says that an item is in stock then it really is! The centralised management system means that we have all the information we need in one place and at our fingertips. Thanks to Connect we have a better understanding of our customers and their needs. We know what products you like best and when you like to buy them and so can ensure that we maintain adequate stock levels. We know which of you are interested in landscaping and who visits us for livestock. This means that we can let the right people know when we have a special offer or event which may be of interest. We are also able to identify trends and respond to them quickly.

Most importantly for you, our valued customers, Connect has enabled us to operate our customer loyalty scheme accurately and efficiently. Our Bonus Card scheme has been a great success and rewards our loyal customers for their purchases both in store and online. Rob Bayley, Assistant Manager of Romsey World of Water, feels that this functionality of Connect has proved to be the most significant for our business. As Rob recently explained -

"It is the customer loyalty scheme that distinguishes Connect from other EPoS systems"

We have been delighted with the fact that Intelligent Retail always treat Connect as a work in progress and never rest on their laurels. All software can have issues but with Intelligent Retail any problems have been resolved efficiently once they have been identified. The Connect system has been continually updated and improved and functionality has been added. As rob says

"We like the proactive approach and enjoy the fact that Intelligent Retail continue to develop the software."

We believe that both tropical and marine aquariums have an exciting future and we can't wait to see what happens next. We hope that you will stay with us and progress in your hobby with Romsey World of Water!