Solution Overview

Organization Profile
Belle Provence is a retailer of high-end home furnishings and gifts based in Mill Creek, Washington. Open since 1983, the store is owned and operated by Roy and Diane Reinsch and has six employees.

Business Situation
The store had outgrown its electronic cash register system. It needed a system that would simplify the cashier experience, allow inventory tracking, and integrate with a complete accounting solution.

Belle Provence deployed an integrated retail suite consisting of Microsoft Dynamics™–Point of Sale 2.0, Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional 2007, and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.



Intuitive, easy-to-use POS system


Enhanced customer service


Time savings via automated inventory


Integrated financial management



HP rp5000


HP credit card reader


HP barcode scanner


HP receipt printer


HP cash drawer

Software and Services


2007 Microsoft Office Suites

- Microsoft Dynamics POS
- Microsoft Office Accounting

Vertical Industries


Specialty Retailing



United States



Retailer Builds Competitive Advantage with Integrated Point of Sale and Financial System

Belle Provence has established a thriving business selling gifts and home furnishings, but co-owners Roy and Diane Reinsch were becoming increasingly frustrated with the limitations of their electronic cash register system, which limited employees’ ability to provide exceptional customer service and hurt the Reinsches’ ability to make informed purchasing and marketing decisions. Belle Provence installed an integrated retail management solution based on Microsoft Dynamics™–Point of Sale 2.0, Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional 2007, and the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Today, sales associates can easily navigate a system that enhances their ability to serve customers, while managers have the real-time information they need to make optimal business decisions in real time, saving the company thousands of dollars per year.


When Roy and Diane Reinsch first opened Belle Provence in 1983, it fulfilled a longtime dream to own and operate a shop selling high-end gifts and home furnishings. After nearly 25 years of steady growth and four location changes, Belle Provence now occupies a modern space in a prime shopping area of Mill Creek, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.

The reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale and Office Accounting Professional 2007 are incredible.
Roy Reinsch
Co-Owner, Belle Provence

The store offers over 5,000 frequently changing items, including decorative accessories, furniture, jewelry, pillows, linens, leather goods, personal-care products, and other unique merchandise.

“One of our biggest challenges is competing with the big-box retailers,” says Roy Reinsch. “In addition to our distinctive merchandise, we focus on differentiating ourselves with exceptional customer service.” Adds Diane Reinsch, “We want people to feel welcome here. Even if they don’t purchase anything, we enjoy having them, and we want them to enjoy their visit with us.”

As customer and sales volume grew steadily at Belle Provence, the Reinsches began to notice that the electronic cash registers (ECRs) they used to run their two point-of-sale (POS) terminals were causing a strain on the business. The ECR system was familiar to employees, but it had severe limitations that were hindering Belle Provence’s ability to track sales, manage inventory, and provide superior service.

“We faced a lot of challenges with the old ECR system,” recalls Roy. “For starters, it was very difficult to track our inventory at any level of detail. We would have a general sense of what products were selling better than others, but to be certain we’d have to take a physical inventory that would take a full week and require at least two staff members to complete. Furthermore, there was no way of linking customer names to specific transactions, so we had no way of tracking customer preferences.”

The ECR also severely hindered Belle Provence’s ability to view operating data and make business decisions. Roy recalls, “I used to track 63 pieces of information about our sales every day—date, categories, sales amounts, tax, discount, method of payment, etc. That’s almost 23,000 data points per year. All this data-entry was time-consuming, costly, and error-prone. More importantly, it meant that our crucial business information was almost always out of date.”

“Just as important as our inventory and sales tracking issues was the impact on our customers’ experience in the store,” Roy continues. “Because the ECR required so much manual work, it was difficult to carry on any kind of conversation with the customer at the point of sale. On top of that, there wasn’t any way to see any information on that customer’s preferences or personal history. Those things really hurt our ability to build customer relationships.”

Diane adds, “Since we couldn’t track our customers’ specific purchases, we couldn’t target any of our mailings or special offers. If we got in a shipment of glass sculptures, we had to notify our entire mailing list. I knew we were wasting money, but with that system in place we had no other options.”


With a background in high-tech, Roy knew that Belle Provence needed an automated, integrated point of sale and financial management system if it was going to serve its customers and manage its inventory effectively.
I have no computer experience whatsoever …. But it was easy to get the feel of Point of Sale. The menus that come up on the screen are very simple to follow, and at this point I don’t know how I could do without it.
Marjorie Strong
Sales Associate, Belle Provence

“When we set out to evaluate new management systems, we were looking for several things,” Roy explains. “First was the customer service package. Our new system would have to make the point-of-sale transaction pleasant and fast for our customers, while still recording a lot of information. Secondly, it had to be intuitive and easy to learn. We have employees with zero computer experience, so this had to be a system that someone could walk in off the street and pick up without any problem.”

“Next, we needed to be able to manage our inventory in real time,” Roy continues. “We want to track purchases by customer and supplier, know at a glance which items are selling well, and analyze our sales and inventory data any way we want. Finally, it was crucial that our new system would seamlessly exchange data with Microsoft® Office programs that I use in our back office.”

In the spring of 2005, Roy and Diane performed a comprehensive search of available point-of-sale software options. “We seriously considered about a half-dozen POS systems, including Cam Commerce, QuickBooks POS, and Retail Pro,” says Roy. “But we quickly decided that Microsoft Point of Sale gave us the best solution for all of our key criteria: a highly intuitive system that allows us to easily serve our customers, while providing us the information and analysis we need and integrating seamlessly with our back-office applications.”

Belle Provence initially deployed Microsoft Point of Sale at its two cashier stations and its back-office desktop computers. A year later, Roy and Diane installed Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007, which is tightly integrated with Microsoft Point of Sale. Belle Provence uses the Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 messaging and collaboration client with Business Contact Manager to manage its customer lists, and the Microsoft Office Excel® 2007 spreadsheet software for custom analytics. The company recently upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics™–Point of Sale 2.0, which includes enhanced ease-of-use, more checkout and inventory-management functionality, and a superior way to automatically exchange data with Office Accounting Professional 2007.

“The combination of Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale 2.0, Office Accounting 2007, and the 2007 Microsoft Office system has given us a complete point of sale and financial management suite that will last us the life of the business. It’s a state-of-the art system that supports our image as a cutting-edge retailer. And by going with Microsoft, we have the peace of mind that our system will be supported over the long haul,” says Roy.


Even the most novice technology users among the Belle Provence staff found Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale 2.0 easy to learn and use. Sales Associate Marjorie Strong says, “I have no computer experience whatsoever. None. But it was easy to get the feel of Point of Sale. The menus that come up on the screen are very simple to follow, and at this point I don’t know how I could do without it.”

Sales Associate Vicki Lee Johnson agrees: “I’ve been in retail for 10 years, and I’ve used a lot of POS systems. The biggest difference between Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale and others I’ve used is ease of access to information. The system is very intuitive; even if I’m not sure how to find a certain piece of information, it’s easy to navigate through the touch screens to find what I need.”

Roy adds, “One of the nicest features of Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale is the ‘practice mode.’ It allows an employee to go through every step of a normal real-world transaction, which helps build their confidence in the system.”

Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale is enabling Belle Provence to provide its customers with the kind of exceptional service that is an advantage in the competitive retailing business. Johnson explains, “We want people to feel welcome here, like they’re our friends. Because our POS system is so automated, we can keep eye contact with our customers while they’re at the checkout.”
It’s much easier to make thousand-dollar decisions when you don’t have spend all your energy gathering the data on which you’re basing them.
Roy Reinsch
Co-Owner, Belle Provence

Johnson continues, “We can keep track of what types of things our customers like, items that they’ve special ordered. Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale also lets us store personal information, so we can ask customers about their grandchildren while we’re making the sale. On top of that, returns are easy to process; if the customer has a receipt we can scan it, or if they’ve lost it we can look up their past purchase history. And if a price tag is missing from an item, we can enter a description or an item number and find a price quickly without having to call Diane up from the back of the store. We couldn’t do any of this with the old ECR.”

Roy adds, “We’re trying to make the shopping experience an exceptional one for customers. Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale allows us to complete transactions very rapidly while collecting the information we need to run more efficiently.”

Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale and Office Accounting Professional 2007 have saved Belle Provence valuable time while improving data accuracy. Says Roy, “Microsoft POS has taken all of the guesswork out of managing our inventory. Whereas we used to take time-consuming physical counts to value our inventory accurately, now the information is instantly available. When we receive a shipment, we scan the product in, assign prices, print customized bar-coded tags and place the product into stock. The minute a product is sold, it’s automatically decremented out of inventory.”

Roy continues, “We can now track inventory we donate to charities and lose to breakage or shoplifting. More importantly, we can see how long an item has been in inventory and estimate the cost to carry that item. The savings in terms of time and ‘unwasted’ inventory is easily in the thousands of dollars, which we can now devote to better decision making. It’s much easier to make thousand-dollar decisions when you don’t have spend all your energy gathering the data on which you’re basing them.”

Adds Diane, “With our old system, we only knew generally what we were selling. But our new system gives us better information so we can buy smarter. And with the ability to track specific customer purchases, we can send out targeted mailers about glass to customers who buy glass, and about scents to those who buy scents. It saves us money, and our customers respond to it.”

Belle Provence’s sales and excise tax reporting has also become fast and easy. Says Roy, “What was once a couple days’ work is now a couple of hours. We just run the sales tax module and it’s all there. You can get data for any time period, from a year to an hour, and I can always export to Office Excel 2007 for further analysis if I like."

The Reinsches have been pleased with the volume of data they are now able to collect, but data is only useful if it can be turned into action. Belle Provence is constantly looking for better ways to analyze business information. Says Roy, “The data exchange between Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale 2.0 and Office Accounting Professional 2007 is almost instantaneous, and it’s allowed us to manage our business in ways we never could with an ECR.”

Roy continues, “The reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale and Office Accounting Professional 2007 are incredible. We can look at our customer list and immediately see what their buying trends are. We can look at our suppliers and see how each one is performing. We can look at our inventory and see how each item is selling. We can also see our profit margins by item, supplier, or category. In addition, Office Accounting Professional 2007 is designed to allow uploading of items to electronic marketplaces like eBay, which is certainly the direction the industry seems to be going.”

The look and feel of Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale 2.0 is consistent with the 2007 Microsoft Office system products, allowing seamless transitions for further analysis. Roy explains, “For us the most important part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system is Excel. Being able to export data directly from Point of Sale into Excel and sort and chop any way you want is a terrific feature. And the new features of Office Excel 2007 such as the Ribbon user interface and conditional formatting options make it easier to run custom analyses more quickly.”

Says Diane, “The Microsoft Dynamics–Point of Sale system has meant that we can get the crucial information we need make our business that much more successful.”


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