Power at your fingertips
Within recent living memory, the capabilities of electronic point of sale (EPOS) solutions have multiplied dramatically. With this in mind, ShelfLife spoke to both some of the country's leading retail technology suppliers and retailers' IT experts, to discover how you can ensure your store doesn't lag behind in customers' perceptions
22 April 2014
The days when EPOS systems existed merely to service customer transactions are long gone. Nowadays retailers expect to receive a wealth of information from their EPOS solution. Not just real time information about their own store’s sales, but data about how categories are performing across their group’s entire portfolio of stores – thus allowing them to benchmark their own performance within this and improve sales even further. That said, it is nevertheless vital that customers experience a quick and seamless transaction at the till, otherwise this will negatively impact a retailer’s hard-fought-for reputation. In this regard, self-checkout and self-scanning facilities which focus on ease-of-use for shoppers can be an important tool in a retailer’s arsenal in terms of attracting time-pressured customers into a busy retail environment.
Due to the prevalence of smartphone and tablet usage among today’s customers, new EPOS technologies are coming on stream all the time, which are centred around helping retailers to engage with these tech-savvy consumers. These can use geo-location technology to send consumers relevant messages to their mobiles, regarding a store or its promotions, when they are actually still in the area. Such forms of direct, personalised marketing have a proven ability to drive sales at a retailer’s chosen time of day.
Enabling the adoption of the next wave of personalisation applications
Chris Donnelly, head of IT at ADM Londis plc, outlines how integration to the group’s intelligent iSIS ecommerce solution will help Londis retailers make the best purchasing decisions, and how embracing personalisation applications will truly deliver destination stores in the future
In these challenging times for independent retailers, it is the mix of integrated technical solutions which will allow retailers to react quickly and work closely with their symbol group business partner to present the most compelling offering to their consumers whilst managing their cost base.
Making the right purchase decisions
For ADM Londis retailers, the EPOS solutions implemented within the group are specific to the independent retail market, offering real time information of sales, thereby allowing each retailer to make the best purchase decision for their stores.
However, the challenge is delivering on an IT strategy which allows individual Londis retailers to benefit from information shared between all the group members, to deliver the right offerings for their target market.
Integration to the ADM Londis intelligent iSIS ecommerce solution is key since this solution simplifies the store’s buying decisions by presenting the right mix of products with the best margin for the store be it supermarket, forecourt or foodmarket store. Visibility of group wide information means that individual Londis stores can also benchmark their offering against suitable similar stores and make necessary range adjustments.
Personalisation will revolutionise industry
Early adoption of mobile platforms such as iPads and smartphones, not only allows ADM Londis retailers to have visibility of all retail systems through one platform but as a group enables the adoption of the next wave of personalisation applications which will revolutionalise the retail industry.
The emergence of technology like iBeacons from Apple, will allow retailers to target unique and relevant messages to individual consumers at the right time. Unlike with loyalty data analysis which can tell us what is purchased, without knowing the actual behaviour associated with the shopping trip, iBeacons makes it possible to identify the actual and optimum path for in-store browsing thereby knowing everything that happens before a purchase is made. Potentially, ADM Londis retailers will be able to influence behaviour via a live dialogue using the consumer’s smartphone, thereby driving increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Personalised messages will strike a chord
For example, the local Londis store could see that the consumer was in five minutes ago, but didn’t buy any milk, it could then send a message to that consumer, “Have you forgotten the milk?” It can link instant, email, text, IM and positional based messaging – this will really make the store the choice of destination for its consumers!
Geo-location technology can boost sales at specific times
Dominic Feeney, systems director, CBE, outlines how consumers’ increasing attachment to their smartphones and tablets can provide new opportunities for retailers to reach them through their preferred medium
As shopping habits change and the modern consumer is now more empowered than ever before, the idea that the store is the only ‘destination’ ignores the fact that there are many other touch points that retailers have to embrace in order to meet the needs of today’s technology savvy customer.
Fitting shoppers’ busy lifestyles
Smartphones and tablets are providing retailers with enormous opportunities to engage with their customers and offer new and innovative ways for them to shop at their stores.
Many retail chains have developed specific shopping apps whereby customers can scan products on their phones which are then added to their shopping list. The customer simply uses their shopping list to order online and can select to have the groceries delivered, pick them up in-store or collect them at the store’s drive-through bays. These convenient services are designed to fit around the customer’s busy lifestyle and are working very successfully in CBE’s pilot sites in the UK.
Smartphones can also be utilised in tandem with location based loyalty programmes where tailored promotions can be offered to customers if they are within the vicinity of the store. Using geo-location technology, the retailer can decide what offer they wish to send out and any subscriber will pick up the offer if they are within a specific distance to the store. CBE has used this unique promotional tool to enable its customers to boost sales at specific time periods during the day or to shift perishable products such as baked goods or deli items that are nearing the end of their shelf life.
Capitalising on mobile phones’ potential
In-store, mobile phones are also increasing in importance due to the enormous potential that they offer. CBE’s innovation team have enabled retail chains to move the self-scanning of products for loyalty customers from handheld devices supplied by the store to apps on the customer’s smartphone. This has reduced the capital outlay required for each store as they no longer need to invest in a collection of handhelds and also encourages the customer to use the store’s shopping app on a more regular basis.
Aligned with the use of smartphones in-store is the introduction of the mobile wallet whereby the customer simply pays for their goods using their mobile phone rather than using cash or cards. Whilst in its infancy for in-store payments, near field communication (NFC) enabled phones are becoming more prevalent and in the interim, payment platforms such as PayPal allow for payments to be charged at the point of sale using their own smartphone app. CBE is currently trialling the mobile payment solution from PayPal in a number of sites in the Dublin region.
Opportunity to implement MPOS
The rise in adoption of tablet devices has also presented retailers with the opportunity to implement mobile POS (MPOS) terminals to satisfy sales demand at peak periods. The MPOS devices use the same software as the normal EPOS system and as such have access to the product file and all sales are synced to the reporting suite in the back office. MPOS units do not require checkouts and as such only cover a small area of the store and can be located at a convenient area within the shop.
CBE showcased its MPOS solution at the recent NCS show in Birmingham and is currently rolling it out to a number of locations in the UK with a major catering company.
As market leaders in retail technology in Ireland, CBE is now bringing its innovative products to the global marketplace. CBE continues to expand its market share in the UK and supports installations in Europe, North America, Australia and Africa.
To speak with Dominic or to arrange a demonstration of CBE’s latest technologies first hand, phone 1890 373000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cbe.ie for more information.
Delivering a seamless omni-channel customer experience
Tracy Wallace, head of Retail Technology Strategy, Musgrave Group, explains how new innovations are creating exciting times for EPOS, but that the potentially high cost of keeping pace with all the latest developments, makes finding the right retail technology partner essential
The role which EPOS plays in-store has changed significantly over recent years and will change even more dramatically in the coming years with further technology innovation.
In the past, EPOS was simply required to scan products, handle payments and print receipts. However, nowadays retailers demand a lot more of their EPOS solutions – it needs to be a promotions engine calculating complicated offers for their customers, a marketing tool with the customer display showing the latest offers, a loyalty engine recognising and rewarding loyal customers and an insights engine to provide analysis.
However, customers still demand a fast, accurate and easy checkout experience. The checkout is a key touchpoint for shoppers in-store and needs to deliver a great brand experience each and every time. The handling of contactless payments was a further ask of EPOS and now with the trend moving towards mobile payments, EPOS needs to keep pace.
Smartphones are playing an increasing role in-store where the phone has become the loyalty card and the coupon or voucher so the EPOS solution needs to play its part by reading this data (via NFC or 2D barcode reader).
Customers also now expect choices like self-checkout and self-scanning. These solutions are also changing with the introduction of different format self-checkouts like hybrid where it can be switched from a manned till to a self-service one and self-scanning moving from expensive handhelds to customer smartphones as the barcode readers improve.
It can be a real challenge for retailers to keep pace with this new innovation and it can also be expensive so new and different funding models, efficiency tools within the EPOS solution and the right technology partners are essential.
A seamless omni-channel customer experience, whether in-store or online, is what retailers need to deliver. Customers want their brand experience to be consistent and personal. In-store, the EPOS solution is the key tool to deliver this by recognising the customer and offering personalised and relevant coupons and offers.
These are exciting times for EPOS with even more changes to come in the future.
Offering a full range of checkout options for shoppers
Dave Byrne, managing director, Dualtron, outlines how intelligent self-service systems can cut both waiting times for shoppers and retailers’ processing costs
Dualtron, with partners Wincor Nixdorf, can offer Irish retailers the wealth of experience of one of the world’s leading providers of IT solutions to the retail sector, combined with Dualtron’s local knowledge of the Irish retail sector.
The company’s modern technologies, from traditional point of sale systems to kiosk systems, offer extra service combined with a distinctive shopping experience for the customer.
Bridging gap between e-commerce and bricks and mortar
These solutions integrate with its Omni-Channel Data Manager which bridges the gap between e-commerce and bricks and mortar retail to provide your customers with a seamless retail experience.
Customers are frustrated by long waiting times; retailers complain about high process costs. Intelligent self-service systems help to meet both of these challenges.
A powerful conventional checkout
Wincor Nixdorf’s TP Application Suite allows retailers to offer a full range of checkout options to their customers. The TP Application Suite coupled with the reliable Beetle iPOS range provides a powerful conventional checkout. The suite also includes back office and head office applications for management and control of business processes.
The TP iScan range of self-checkout solutions is a flexible platform allowing for different payment methods and a range of footprint sizes.
TP iShop is an innovative mobile application which gives the benefits of conventional self-scanning on the customers’ own smartphone. Customers can scan their own shopping as they journey through the store, mirroring the online shopping experience.
One-stop for cashless payment processing
The Aevi portfolio provides a one-stop integrated ecosystem for cashless payment processing. Wincor Nixdorf provides an end-to-end mobile POS solution for larger retailers including the revolutionary Albert mobile payment system, which is an Android-based payment tablet with POS apps downloadable from the Aevi marketplace.
“We look forward to introducing Wincor Nixdorf’s new mobile POS and self-service kiosks which will drive more sales and enrich customer experience for Irish retailers,” says Dave Byrne, managing director, Dualtron.