Costco POS System
As one of the largest big box retailers in the world today, Costco utilizes an innovative and complex POS system to handle its daily operations.
Costco uses the CRX platform as its global solution with major features that make it one of the best POS systems for high-volume transactions and supply chain tracking.
Continue reading to learn more about Costco's custom built POS solution!
History of the CRX Platform
Costco has partnered with Information Resources, Inc. to develop an exclusive Costco POS system known as the Costco Collaborative Exchange System. The CRX platform has been on the market since 2004 and has given Costco an incredibly detailed solution for tracking payments, inventory, and much more.
Instead of having to rely on a number of disparate sources of data to get necessary information, Costco can now use this high-end tool to gain oversight of the full range of the company's operations.
Here are some of the top features of the CRX Platform:
Enhanced Category Data
The "Category Tools" service present on the Costco CRX platform makes it a great choice for the big-box store. Before its implementation back in 2013, Costco vendors were only able to access data specific to them.
However, with new updates, these vendors can now check data in the rest of their category to see how other vendors are performing and measure their performance against those members.
Using this data, Costco and its vendors are able to track performance in their category, identify trends within their category, and gain very valuable insight into the landscape.
Beyond that, this tool also provides vendors and Costco managers with a deeper look into the competitive landscape over the past few years, allowing manufacturers that work with Costco to adjust the way they perform business based on any slight changes in performance or category. These insights reach out into the realm of product demonstrations, promotional activities, inventory quantities, and more.
IRI and Costco started releasing inventory data and daily sales back in December of 2012 for the community of manufacturers to see. This new update answered the requests of manufacturers for Costco to provide them with a real-time data solution.
Every week day, the Costco's CRX program provides all of the sales metrics for the previous day, giving manufacturers insight into all of the inventory that is available in all of the stores. This unique service is very exclusive to Costco, as there are not any other companies that are offering this kind of service right now.
The beauty of allowing this real-time information out into the community is that it allows Costco partners to create immediate reactions to the slight changes in the retail environment.
Supply Chain Management
Costco operates with very low margins, meaning that the company must be very careful about managing their orders and forecasting trends so that they do not end up with any inventory problems.
The new CRX system, which updates every single day, uses a very unique bundle of features to manage the supply chain. With inventory information and other POS features, Costco and its partners are able to make quick decisions regarding inventory.
They can collectively forecast and get an idea of how demand will pan out in the future.
On this new system is a bundle of three inventory metrics, including orders received, on order, and in transit. These new measures were made to complement the measures that already exist within the system, including average supply days and inventory on hand. In essence, all of these together create one of the most diligent and robust POS supply chain management solutions on the market today.
Nowadays, manufacturers that work with Costco have incredible insight into the way their products are reacting, even way before they actually make it to Costco. With accurate and detailed forecasting, any vendors that are subscribed to the Costco CRX system can optimize their inventory, not only in the warehouse but at all levels. In doing so, Costco and its manufacturers are able to reduce carrying costs, reduce out-of-stock items, and lower operating costs.
Seasonal Vendor Program Updates
When it comes to Costco's seasonal products, there are many differences between inventory insights, daily sales, and weekly sales. If these differences aren't carefully managed, it can cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of the great things about the new CRX platform is that it provides manufacturers with real-time data surrounding sales information, allowing them to make adjustments in the early stages if necessary.
Costco Offers Point of Sale Solutions
Beyond the POS solutions that Costco uses in its stores, it now offers Costco members the ability to purchase point of sale solutions for their own business. Costco Merchant Services resells solutions from Elavon, which is one of the biggest payment processors in the United States. It should be noted that Elavon performs credit card processing and any other processes necessary for maintaining merchant accounts.
Now, though Costco is best known for offering both executive members and non-executive members with incredible savings, the same isn't necessarily true for Costco Merchant Services. Costco Merchant Services provides its members with discounts compared to what one would end up paying if they signed up with Elavon directly, though the tiered pricing that is offered by Costco Merchant Services can end up being more costly for larger businesses. In fact, tiered pricing is often very expensive when it comes to credit card processing, which is why some larger businesses choose to avoid it altogether.
Some of the products that Costco offers its members through its Costco Merchant Services and credit card processing services include:
Costco offers its customers both traditional terminals and smart terminals. The traditional terminals are countertop terminals that make use of the latest in touchscreen technology.
Through Costco Merchant Services, customers can also purchase smart terminals, which are wireless and can accept payments from anywhere in your establishment.
As for traditional terminals, Costco offers Ingenico Desk 3500 credit card processors so that you can easily go through credit card processing.
Costco Merchant Services also offers the Poynt Smart Terminal for those who are looking for an all-in-one smart terminal for service providers, retail stores, and restaurants, as well as the Ingenico Move 5000, which is an absolute game-changer in the world of business applications.
With extremely powerful multimedia solutions, a 3.5" color touchscreen, and an intuitive interface, it is one of the most robust smart terminals on the market today.
Costco's Merchant Services offers POS solutions as well, which provide Costco executive members with payment processing speeds higher than most payment processing systems out there.
Costco Merchant Services has a wide variety of POS and ePOS solutions depending on your needs, though all of them provide high-quality credit card processing.
The main offering from Costco Merchant Services is the Talech cloud-based POS system.
This feature-rich system from Costco is made to simplify daily operations at high speeds, creating orders, applying discounts, managing inventory, and providing insight into valuable data.
Because it is a cloud-based system, you can manage your business from wherever you have an Internet connection. You will always feel connected with the ability to gather the data that you are after in real-time.
Costco Merchant Services offers business-specific POS solutions as well, including:
All of these systems can be tied in with additional equipment purchased from Costco's Merchant Services, including your debit card and credit card processors.
Converge Online Payment
Half of the total retail sales for any given company take place online, meaning yo need to be able to provide each customer with the option to purchase goods online securely and with flexibility, regardless of if they shop using their computer, their tablet, or their smartphone.
Converge Online is a very unique system that Costco Merchant Services offers. With Converge Online, you have the ability to set up online payment processing, which can increase sales and better the customer experience. Not only that, but Converge Online can also help with customer retention by creating a number of very easy ways to collect payments.
Converge Online combines a virtual terminal with a payment gateway, giving users additional security through a payment gateway.
Pros and Cons of Costco Merchant Services
So, as you can see, Costco uses a robust POS system to handle its worldwide business operations, though has also recently set up Costco Merchant Services to provides its members with unique POS solutions for their businesses.
We recommend checking out the POS solutions offered by Costco Merchant Services if you have a small business, as the tiered pricing for credit card processing can get a bit expensive for larger businesses.
To reap the savings that Costco Merchant Services has to offer, you will need to become a Costco Executive member.
Costco Merchant Services does provide financing through its program, which can make starting out with the merchant accounts program fairly affordable.
While fees for executive members are less, the difference isn't massive.
We would highly recommend checking out our reviews of some of the top POS systems on the market today for small businesses to learn more and find a POS solution for your business.