Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A POS Rental Possibility

Are you looking to cut 2009 holiday season expenses? (Who isn’t in this economy?) If so, Ted Ave-Lallemant, president of AVE Investments, has a recession-friendly proposal that’s unique in the world of retail POS hardware.

AVE Investments is renting its POS system, the pcCashdrawer bundle, for just $99 a month with no minimum monthly requirement. While there are other companies out there that rent POS hardware, the open-endedness and price point of AVE’s offer make it so rare. The bundle includes a custom-designed computer (with a 1 GHz Intel fanless processor, a 1 GB hard drive, and a Windows XP OS) built into the cash drawer, a thermal printer, a POS keyboard with MSR, and an LCD monitor. The deal also covers on-site staging, integration, testing and burn-in, installation, and maintenance.

The program's flexibility essentially enables you to schedule your POS hardware the way you would your workforce: adding systems for high-demand times, reducing them during slower months. There are no upfront costs (since the systems are rentals), and in theory, you would have fewer idle POS systems in your stores.

Last holiday season, AVE tested the concept with Hickory Farms, which has retail outlets throughout the U.S. and Canada. Hickory Farms rented 750 POS systems for November and December 2008, and returned them over the course of January and February 2009. “We wanted to see if the idea would work,” Ave-Lallemant told me. “We built them, delivered them, set them up, and then picked them up. And Hickory Farms has already renewed for this year.”

Ave-Lallemant’s company has been in business since 1984, with clients including Chanel, Charlotte Russe, and A.C. Moore. He came up with this particular rental concept when competitors lowered the sale price of their POS systems to his $1,500 range. “You have to hope that once you get a customer, he’s happy with you,” Ave-Lallemant told me. “We’re betting on our service and our hardware.”

That’s a bold bet, but Ave-Lallemant’s POS rental offer is so uncommon that retailers just might take him up on it.