Identifying new EPOS solutions for Shelter, to streamline business processes and increase business capability

Identifying new EPOS solutions for Shelter, to streamline business processes and increase business capability

The challenge

Major charity group, Shelter, reached out to Searchlight Consulting to evaluate and identify an appropriate replacement electronic point of sale (EPOS) solution for the organisation’s retail stores. Shelter’s current EPOS solution had reached end of life and was unsupported.

Shelter is a large non-profit charity organisation, with 83+ stores across the UK. The organisation’s replacement EPOS solution will enable them to achieve their strategic objectives.

Understanding the challenges faced by Shelter

As part of the EPOS selection process, there were some key considerations to keep in mind. Shelter operated under old networks and with old computer equipment posing a cyber security risk, (payment card industry) PCIcompliance concerns, and constrained eCommerce opportunities. Shops were prone to technical failures as they were connected by individual broadband links, with no overall support contracts.

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    David Cryer at Shelter, notes, “As our existing EPOS solution was reaching end of life, this was a good opportunity to update our tech and processes to optimise our business and deliver an enhanced customer experience. We turned to Searchlight as they have a proven track record with the creation of RFPs and could provide expert guidance for us in the selection process.”

    Managing the end-to-end process

     Searchlight Consulting managed the request for proposal (RFP) process for the selection of an appropriate vendor to provide a replacement electronic point of sale (EPOS) solution across Shelter’s retail network. To do this, the Searchlight team followed their expertly crafted value proposition for vendor and partner selection and adapted the framework to meet Shelter’s specific requirements.


    Over three months, the team worked closely with the Shelter Shop Operations, eCommerce, IT, Procurement and Business Change Management teams, to create the request for proposal (RFP) documentation and engage with several EPOS vendors.

    As part of this Searchlight created all the required documentation and managed the engagement process with vendors. While Shelter provided input into defining their requirements and making the final decision on their preferred vendor. The selection process involved.


    • Showing an understanding of the business
    • Outlining a shortlist of requirements
    • Carrying out an RFP assessment, evaluation, and rating
    • Vendor demonstrations
    • Detailing the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) and statement of work (SoW)
    • Agreeing the contracts and final SoW
    • Establishing appropriate support agreements

    Ongoing and clear engagement with the key business Shelter stakeholders was critical to success of this project, as Searchlight managed the end-to-ended process to minimise disruption to day-to-day business activity. Searchlight summarised key elements of the substantial documentation provided by the vendors. This ensured all critical information was relayed to Shelter to support their decision-making process.

    As well as developing the RFP, Searchlight also stepped in to provide additional programme management capabilities to ensure the continuous progress with the programme.


    The RFP project was delivered in just three months, with the complete selection process managed by the Searchlight team.


    The implementation of the selected EPOS solution will enable business processes to be simplified, maximise Shelter’s ability to reclaim gift aid, and increase reliability and security. The benefits to Shelter from the support delivered by Searchlight include:


    • Access to Searchlight’s team of industry experts, with broad experience with similar projects
    • End-to-end project management, with detailed updates to keep key Shelter groups informed on progress
    • Extensive information obtained from vendors on their products and services
    • Functional and non-functional requirements documented
    • Business pain points and strategic objectives defined
    • Best value for money, with competitive costs obtained for software, hardware, implementation, and support
    • Vendor delivery approach challenged, to minimise the risks in the implementation of the preferred/selected solution

    More Information

    Searchlight are experts at aligning business and IT strategy, shaping business transformation programmes and helping our clients build business and IT capability throughout the transformation journey. Contact us today to find out how our independent advice could help you grow, develop new capabilities and future-proof your organisation.


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    Steve SharpIdentifying new EPOS solutions for Shelter, to streamline business processes and increase business capability