Image credit: Hudson Group
While the country—and much of the world—spent a good part of 2020 under shelter-in-place restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hudson Group got busy. The travel retailer, which includes Hudson News and Hudson Booksellers, partnered with Flooid, a retail systems developer and integrator with offices in the UK and Cincinnati, OH. Flooid had planned to upgrade Hudson’s point-of-sale (POS) systems in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit.
When flying ceased and airports were empty, Hudson accelerated the rollout. The team was able to successfully install the Flooid platform across more than 2,000 POS systems in nearly 1,000 Hudson retail stores across North America. The upgrade was completed in 10 months, five months ahead of schedule.
A Fluid Rollout
Hudson wanted a single platform to run its POS, finance, inventory, and logistics systems, which were composed of multiple legacy technologies and systems. Hudson also wanted a single view of all activity and the flexibility to support multiple sales channels and future ecommerce options. The company chose to work with Flooid, formerly PCMS, which develops Intel-powered retail commerce software that operates across online, mobile, and in-store environments. The comprehensive solution helped Hudson Group address an array of e-commerce and POS needs.
Flooid’s software integrates with existing store hardware, or it can be hosted on edge devices, such as the Intel® NUC Mini PC, or in the cloud. It supports SAP software, mobile apps, and ecommerce, as well as in-person interactions via cash register, self-checkout, and scan-and-pay.
The open platform offers a suite of tools that retailers can mix and match to meet their needs. The Flooid App Suite includes out-of-the-box applications for point-of-sale, mobile POS, self-checkout, inventory, and reporting. Flooid Digital enables retailers to merge multiple ecommerce and in-store sales processes and was the basis for Hudson’s vending machine rollout.
The solution also includes Flooid Core, which allows retailers to build their own apps or integrate existing systems with the platform. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool integrates back-end systems, giving retailers a single point to change prices, promotions, and inventory across all stores, and analyzes raw data to provide sales insights. It also captures analytical data from sales and other operational information. Flooid provides server, application, and database management through its managed services component.
Image credit: Hudson Group
Endemic to the Pandemic
The scalable solution proved beneficial even as the rollout was in progress. Soon after the pandemic hit North America, Hudson decided to add vending machines to dispense hand sanitizer, masks, and other personal protection equipment in 27 airports. Flooid adapted its platform to support self-checkout and contactless mobile payment at the vending machines and implemented the new service within three weeks.
Training was another pandemic-based issue. With social distancing in place and limited travel, getting techs together was nearly impossible. Flooid and Hudson revamped the software implementation training and delivered the majority of it online.
Hudson plans to expand its digital offerings this year to support mobile ordering capabilities and contactless in-store shopping experiences. Flooid’s technology and flexibility has allowed Hudson to adapt to changing markets, integrate new POS technologies, and still complete its technology rollout in record time.