From point of sale to powerhouse: the rise of Sophie Jackson in the EPOS industry

“Successful businesses have a variety of talented individuals,” says Sophie Jackson, Chief Operating Officer at leading UK EPOS company WRS Systems. “And we are lucky to have such a diverse range of people, all striving to achieve the same goal.”

“Successful businesses have a variety of talented individuals,” says Sophie Jackson, Chief Operating Officer at leading UK EPOS company WRS Systems.

“And we are lucky to have such a diverse range of people, all striving to achieve the same goal.”

For more than 10 years, Sophie has been working in the family business alongside her father David (CEO) and brother Chris (CTO). Between them they run WRS, which provides electronic point-of-sale solutions to some of the biggest retail and hospitality names in the country.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Sophie, however. As a woman in a senior business position, she admits she’s faced challenges over the years – and she is determined to make sure WRS continues to be an employer for all.

“At WRS we are very much about inclusivity,” she says. “No one should ever be defined by their gender. We empower our team to succeed.

“It actually saddens me there is still a stigma about ‘women in business’. It should never come down to the sex of an individual, but the attitude and aptitude.

“We have a growing workforce and some unbelievable talent, 17 of whom are passionate and incredible women.

“The sense of camaraderie and shared ambition is second to none, which is what drives us to new heights every day. Watching staff members progress into senior roles, is a clear reflection of our commitment to developing talent,” said Sophie.

Sophie grew up on the sunny Isle of Wight, eventually returning to work for WRS, but she learned the ropes elsewhere in the UK. “I was lucky enough to grow up on The Island, as we call it,” she explains. “But when I was 18, I headed off to university to study for my degree. It was a nervous and daunting time, but it was an experience I needed. Leaving home made me learn a lot about myself and I became independent. But I love living on the Isle of Wight and that’s why I came back.”

After university, Sophie stepped into the world of retail, working in a couple of different roles before becoming a manager at a leading high street sportswear brand.

“It was a good time for me. Retail can be a tough environment to work in, but it taught me about resilience. It was a learning experience, dealing with all sorts of situations.

“Now, with the clients we work with, I have an understanding of what’s it like on the shop floor and the pressures they face. It’s why providing a great product matched by excellent customer service is so imperative for us. We understand the day-to-day pressures.”

WRS Systems was founded in 2003 and employs more than 65 people. Such has the growth of WRS been over the past 20 years that the business supports almost 600 companies across 4,500 sites in the UK alone, with new overseas contracts adding to those numbers.

“Our EPOS can be found in pubs, cafes, fast-food outlets, Michelin-starred restaurants, music venues and even on ferries,” says Sophie. “We offer bespoke options, whether it’s tills, kiosks, kitchen screens or printers – matched with software solutions. We integrate with a whole range of partners to offer click-and-collect, loyalty and much more.

“We’ve seen a real uptick in kiosk and kitchen screens being ordered in the past two years. This has enabled us to successfully integrate cutting-edge products into our clients’ estates. These innovations are already enhancing the customer experience and streamlining service efficiency.

“We are very proud to be working with some amazing brands – Costa Coffee, Cornish Bakery, itsu, Dunkin’, Thunderbird Chicken, to name just a few.”

Being able to lean on her father for advice is something Sophie says she is lucky to be able to do. “I’ve seen the long hours and unbelievable hard work my father, and brother, continue to put into the business.

“My father has taught me a huge amount over the years, from managing teams to ensuring customer service levels and expectations are met. He told me early in my career that providing good service was critical for success and it’s something I carry with me now.

“WRS isn’t just a job, it is a career, and I am proud we can offer these opportunities to our team.”

Away from the office, Sophie is a keen sportswoman. She’s competed internationally for the Isle of Wight football team at the Island Games and can be regularly seen putting in the miles running along the island’s coastline. “Looking after your mental health is so important,” she says. “It’s why I like to be as active as I can.”

And where does Sophie see herself and WRS in five years’ time? “Our vision for WRS is clear. We aim to expand and create more opportunities for both new and existing team members. Our dedication to growth and excellence is solid, and it’s a commitment we make to ourselves, our clients and the community.”

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