Microsoft Business Solutions Retail Management System Helps Keep Bicycle Retailers on Track

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 6, 2004 — Microsoft®
Business Solutions Retail Management System is proving itself a serious contender in the race to offer small and lower-midmarket retailers of bicycles and associated merchandise affordable, easy-to-use, point-of-sale (POS) technology. To demonstrate how specialized bike retailers can benefit from a POS solution and increase their business success, Microsoft Business Solutions is exhibiting at the Interbike International Bicycle Expo, an annual trade show for bicycle retailers, this week in Las Vegas.

At Bike Stop, a nine-person shop in Colorado Springs, Colo., the owner had witnessed too many legacy POS and information technology (IT) solution breakdowns, as well as the technology’s failure to flex itself on new terrain. Bike Stop considered it essential for a POS solution to be accurate, reliable and capable of managing Web sales. At Cycle Loft, a full-service bicycle facility near Boston, a plan to trim inventory collided with an older system that couldn’t provide the speed and agility required to give the owner the reports and instant data he needed. And at Treads Bicycle Outfitters, integration among three stores in the Denver area was nearly impossible due to incompatible technology at each location.

To meet these challenges and more, each of these businesses, working in tandem with Microsoft Certified Business Solutions partner Digital Retail Solutions (DRS) Inc., turned to Microsoft Retail Management System. Microsoft Retail Management System is easy to install and use, and flexible enough to be configured for a business’ specific needs. Microsoft Retail Management System helps retailers get up and running quickly and at a low total cost of ownership.

Microsoft Retail Management System Builds Strong Stamina With Bicycle Retailers

Microsoft Retail Management System continues to be a popular choice among bicycle retailers. Cycle Loft is one example. A full-service bicycle retailer that offers a variety of bicycles, related accessories, triathlon gear and clothing, Cycle Loft’s Fit Lab customizes stock and made-to-measure, custom-fit bicycles for each rider. Cycle Loft has 17,000 square feet of space and sells more than 4,000 bicycles per year that range from $200 (U.S.) to more than $6,000. As Cycle Loft’s customer base grew, the inventory ballooned unprofitably due to an information system that was error-prone and from which exporting data was difficult. To manage inventory and suppliers and thus turn inventory more efficiently, owner Jerry Slack selected Microsoft Retail Management System to upgrade his DOS-based legacy system. The solution, which runs in harmony with a number of other Microsoft technologies, has delivered several benefits. While Cycle Loft has cut its inventory by 50 percent, its sales have risen by 33 percent. The ability to see margins at the point of sale regularly helps Cycle Loft close sales. It is easy to export POS data into the financials, and managing complex work orders and layaways is no longer a problem.

Slack urges other bicycle retailers to automate their POS system — and quickly. “I would advise others to not regard the IT purchase as an expense, but rather a strategic investment,” he said. “You save money because you are saving employees steps in jobs they do many times a day, many times a year.” Regarding his selection, Slack says his biggest requirement was complete data portability and compatibility. “And nothing,” he said, “delivers that better than a Microsoft-made POS management product.”

Giant Bicycle Endorses Microsoft Retail Management System

Giant Bicycle Inc., a leading global manufacturer and designer of bicycles and bicycle parts, recommends Microsoft Retail Management System to its extensive network of bicycle retailers. According to Giant Bicycle, which already uses Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta®
in the United States, Asia and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the benefit of having its network of stores use Microsoft Retail Management System is a higher level of coordination between Giant Bicycle and its retailers, resulting in better inventory management and, ultimately, improved customer service. Giant Bicycle will collaborate with retailers that use Microsoft Retail Management System to help them establish efficient stocking levels at stores and warehouses. To streamline order processes, Giant Bicycle can download product updates to Microsoft Retail Management System, automate order placement from Microsoft Retail Management System to its financial management solution, Microsoft Axapta, and build efficiencies into shipping and invoice receiving.

Giant Bicycle’s decision to recommend yet another member of the Microsoft Business Solutions product line is rooted in the technology’s quality. “The quality of Microsoft Retail Management System is such that we trust the solution to become an integral part of the mutual supply chain of Giant Bicycle and its network of retailers,” said Skip Hess, president of Giant Bicycle. “By recommending Microsoft Retail Management System to our network of dealers, we believe we are taking the important first step of ensuring a reliable and adaptable front end for their entire value chain.”

Digital Retail Solutions Offers Bicycle Bundle 2005 for Microsoft Retail Management System

Microsoft Business Solutions partner Digital Retail Solutions is enhancing the POS solution by offering Bicycle Bundle 2005 for Microsoft Retail Management System, a customized suite of integrated utilities. Bicycle Bundle 2005 builds on the elite framework of Microsoft Retail Management System, adding components developed to help bicycle retailers flourish in an increasingly competitive retail arena.

According to Digital Retail Solutions, Bicycle Bundle 2005 for Microsoft Retail Management System will benefit bike retailers in a number of ways. It will help retailers compete more effectively with online mail-order companies; manage databases in a more automated fashion; retain existing service codes; track serial numbers from parts delivery through final sale; increase visibility into critical customer and data items; allow salespeople to see margins so they can make deals more strategically; more efficiently set up and customize the solution; synchronize with electronic vendor applications; simplify the balancing of cash drawers; maintain a fresh and up-to-date retail database that includes most current catalogs from suppliers and manufacturers; conveniently populate databases with the catalogs of major bike lines and suppliers; and generate product signage from templates that pull information from the database. In addition, the Bicycle Bundle 2005 for Microsoft Retail Management System includes dozens of custom report templates, premodified templates and customized label formats.

“In today’s highly competitive bicycle retail industry, independent dealers need cutting-edge POS technology that helps them stay competitive,” said John Chang, vice president of Digital Retail Solutions. “I am confident that our Bicycle Bundle 2005 for Microsoft Retail Management System will provide our bicycle retail clients with the tools necessary to enhance the way they manage internal processes, work with trading partners in the supply chain and, perhaps most important, provide outstanding service to their customers.”

Pricing and Availability

Microsoft Retail Management System is available in the United States and English-speaking countries through authorized reselling partners. Pricing begins at $1,290 (U.S.) MSRP for a single-lane license.*

At Interbike, Microsoft, working with leading manufacturers and distributors, will offer a POS breakthrough: fully integrated POS stations including Microsoft Retail Management System starting at $2,995 (U.S.). In addition, fully integrated POS systems including Microsoft Retail Management System and the Digital Retail Solutions Bicycle Bundle 2005 will be available from $4,195 (U.S.), or $160 per month. And exclusively at Interbike, retail business owners can enter to win one of two complete POS systems customized for bicycle retailers and valued over $5,000 (U.S.).

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions offers integrated business applications and services that allow small and midsize organizations and divisions of large enterprises to connect employees, customers and suppliers for improved efficiency. The financial management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and analytics applications work with Microsoft products such as Office and Windows®
to streamline processes across an entire organization, giving businesses insight to respond rapidly, plan strategically and execute quickly. Microsoft Business Solutions applications are delivered through a worldwide network of channel partners that provide specialized services and local support tailored to a company’s needs.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Estimated resale price; reseller prices may vary.

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Microsoft Business Solutions ApS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

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