Amit Patel is looking for advice from fellow retailers. Actually, he asked me if I could recommend a good epos supplier, but I’m afraid this immediately turns me into a jobsworth. If it goes wrong – and it’s computers, so yes, it will go wrong at some point – then I really don’t want it on my conscience. I originally suggested to Amit that he contact the Association of Convenience Stores to see who its recommended suppliers are (they are Torex, YP and CTN). But the prices, at £5,000 and more, represent quite a big risk for him if it does go wrong. His is a family business which has been trading for 25 years, selling a broad range from candles to toiletries, newspapers, alcohol, Fairtrade and organic products, lottery and PayPoint. The main customer base is students.

“The locals often refer to us as an Aladdin’s Cave,” says Amit, “but the experts who have visited with regard to shopfitting have told us to narrow our range significantly.”

He feels he needs to cut down on the more mundane tasks such as delivery accounts (approximately 100) and get to grips with pricing and stock control. But he has another, rather more delicate problem in that other family members are resistant to change and very concerned about cost.

So, if anyone has had a good experience with a good but cheapish epos supplier, please share it with us.