Microsoft has announced that Aurum Holdings has selected its Surface 3 mobile device after years of searching for a suitable mobile POS solution.
Microsoft posted the news on its Surface Enterprise Initiative blog yesterday, from the Microsoft division recently set up to promote its Surface convertible tablet/laptop to business customers.
The blog states, talking to Aurum’s Paul Smith, that the watch and jewellery retail group – which owns and operates Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths and boutique.Goldsmiths – was attracted to the device because of its compact, 10.8” form factor, design, build quality and compatibility with its existing Microsoft-based software systems.
Customers which have already selected the Surface 3 for enterprise solutions include BASF, Emirates, Prada and Skywest.
Paul Smith, IT Development & Integration Manager at Aurum Holdings, told Microsoft: “We have been experimenting in our retail stores for several years to find a way to bring ‘a transaction to a customer’, rather than take ‘the customer to the transaction’.
“Before the Microsoft Surface we have trialed a number of different mobile devices to help achieve this goal. Our initial attempts were using small laptop devices, these did give us the mobility we required, but no matter how small the laptop they were neither as portable as a tablet, nor as performant as a fix till point. These devices also suffered from limited battery life, our sales consultants need battery powered devices that can last an entire day’s trading – without running flat when helping that important client.”
However it was not just the hardware that attracted Aurum Holdings to Microsoft’s Surface 3, with integration of existing software systerms critical to the final decision. Smith added: “We have found other devices to be well designed in terms of size, mobility, battery life, however we have over 25 years of software technology we use in store which has been built for a Microsoft platform so the practicality of porting or redesigning this software to another operating systems is both undesirable and extremely costly”.
“Not only did it require no software development, but also adding it to our Microsoft based infrastructure was a very simple step. We were able to get the Surface up and running in our stores in a very small space of time.”
According to Smith, Aurum had been searching for a device that would allow its sales teams to sit down with clients anywhere in its stores and manage every step of the sales process. Smith explained that the new system was also far more cost-effective than its existing Fixed POS system used in stores.
Smith added: “We run everything on the Surface, everything our stores and our customers need. One of our most recent additions to our software suite is our extended aisle technology. We developed a Universal Windows Platform app which acts as a container for our standard ecommerce site. This container enabled us provide an in-store platform for customer assisted online transactions, where payment can be taken by using a standard chip & pin payment terminal.
“We are also able to use Windows 10 kiosk mode to instantly deploy a self-service version of this application, whilst still using standard payment terminals when the customer checks-out. The most startling aspect of this project is the delivery timescales; using Windows 10 we were able to build this capability in days, an approach which saved us from an otherwise huge project cost.”
It is not clear from the blog post which of Aurum’s retail brands will be adopting the Surface 3-based system. WatchPro has contacted Aurum for further details.