Switched on

Seamus McHugh
Seamus McHugh

Investing in new technologies now can deliver valuable time and cost saving benefits, which can help retail businesses continue to survive and thrive



18 November 2011

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Switched onThere is a potent temptation in recessionary times to clamp down on technological spend, in keeping with a general spirit of make-do and mend. However, now more than ever is when retailers need to invest in cost-saving technologies, as these will enable them to keep one step ahead of their ever-hungrier competition.

Forward thinking groups such as ADM Londis and Musgrave, as well as individual retailers, have recognised that where possible, now is the time to implement new technologies. This is preferable to investing at some vague stage in the far-off future, when businesses will have already suffered further damage. For their part, retail tech suppliers have worked hard to stay abreast of the current consumer trends and deliver technologies that can potentially have a life-changing impact on retailers and their businesses.

CBE clients can reap technological rewards

Seamus McHugh

Seamus McHugh

Seamus McHugh, marketing manager, CBE Ltd, explains how the company’s offering can benefit retailers.

CBE’s ethos of investing in R&D when competitors are cutting their development spend has ensured that their clients can continue to reap the reward of their €1 million per year annual R&D spend.

Over the past 12 months, CBE’s innovation team has launched a number of new and exciting products for the independent retailer that will help their business grow.

Satisfaction guaranteed: Research has revealed that self checkout can reduce customer queue times by 35 – 40% and that when given a choice, 85% of customers select self checkout over conventional checkouts

Satisfaction guaranteed: Research has revealed that self checkout can reduce customer queue times by 35 – 40% and that when given a choice, 85% of customers select self checkout over conventional checkouts

Cashless self checkout

The CBE Cashless Self Checkout is the next generation in EPOS technology as it enables shoppers to process their own transaction, in their own time and privacy, and pay for their goods with a debit or credit card.

The Cashless Self Checkout solution offers several advantages for retailers including eliminating cash-handling at the point of sale, maximising use of a limited retail floorspace, and allowing retailers to redeploy personnel and improve labour efficiency.

CBE is at the forefront of contactless payment technology

CBE is at the forefront of contactless payment technology

Contactless payment technology

With contactless payment technology, customers simply hold their credit/debit card in front of the reader and the transaction is processed automatically, eliminating the need to enter a PIN.

Contactless technology has been rolled out in the UK during 2011 and will be introduced by Irish banks in early 2012. Once again CBE is at the forefront of this technology and has already configured its EPOS solution so that it is compatible with contactless technology. The recently launched Cashless Self Checkout is also designed to work seamlessly with the contactless payment technology, as well as Chip & PIN.

In store advertising

‘In store advertising’ has emerged as a new cost-effective method for retailers to influence customer behaviour and increase sales. CBE has been at the forefront of this development and can offer a fully integrated digital marketing solution.

The CBE solution includes supplying the in-store screens, integrating screens with the POS, integrating screens with the scales at the deli/fresh food counter, an in-store radio channel and most importantly, offering a complete content management solution.

Promotional functionality

More and more consumers are expectant of ‘special offer’ deals and promotional price reductions within their local retail store. With the multiples using specific products as a loss leader in order to increase footfall, this in turn has encouraged shoppers to look for promotional deals on a regular basis.

In order to cope with this latest trend, CBE has launched the next generation of its award winning promotions module with full EPOS integration. The software receives automated updates on wholesaler promotions but also provides full promotional analysis and reporting. The system allows retailers to set up local promotions, monitor existing promotions, plan for future promotions and importantly, understand which products not to sell at a loss.

Offering real value

As part of the CBE offer, free software upgrades are automatically sent to all customers via a web based portal thus ensuring that a system bought today will continue to be updated with all of the enhancements being developed over the coming years.
CBE also offers a complete project management strategy to retailers that are sourcing a new EPOS solution. This ensures that the retailer will receive a system that fits their exact requirements. As the only EPOS company in Ireland to offer this unique service to its business partners, CBE also provides continuous retail consultancy to its clients and organises group training days on a regular basis.

It is also worth noting that not only do retailers benefit from reduced capital costs, but the capabilities of the systems on offer have increased dramatically in recent years allowing retailers to reduce costs and increase their profits. The depth of business information available from these systems gives retailers the tools to compete, and beat, the larger multiples. In fact, the current CBE WinRetail product is the most powerful EPOS solution ever available to independent retailers in Ireland and the UK.

Achieving a return on investment

A number of the CBE solutions have provided a fantastic return on investment for many retailers.

CBE Self Checkout

The CBE Self Checkout solution is installed in numerous sites throughout the country and its success to date has revolutionised the independent retail sector in Ireland. With, on average, 32% of transactions going through the self checkouts, retailers have benefited from improved labour efficiencies, longer opening hours for checkouts and more checkouts available with no extra staff required.

The compelling business rationale of self checkout enables retailers to receive a return on their investment within 18 – 24 months. No other EPOS solution in the marketplace can offer such a strong quantifiable return.

CBE in-store advertising

Increased revenues from installing CBE in-store advertising screens have seen many retailers garner a ROI within eight months.

CBE WinRetail Mobile

The CBE WinRetail Mobile is the most comprehensive hand held available to retailers in Ireland.  

The WinRetail Mobile can dramatically reduce labour costs when creating or receiving an order. It can ensure accurate pricing of products on the shelves and it is also the only handheld on the marketplace to offer ‘actual’ live stock.

Research undertaken by CBE has revealed that the average ROI on the CBE handheld is 11 months.

Many advantages

As well as delivering all the above benefits, the latest generation of CBE’s EPOS systems allow for the integration of many third party solutions.

For a free consultation contact CBE on 1890 373000, sales@cbe.ie or www.cbe.ie.

CashGuard helps guard retailers’ profits

David O’Brien, managing director, CashGuard, explains more about the unique CashGuard system which was launched in Ireland just over a year ago.

CashGuard is a closed cash management and security system that prevents staff and potential thieves having access to cash held in till drawers. All cash transactions including emptying are administered by CashGuard, eradicating theft and mistakes. Operations, floats and balances are monitored and reported by CashGuard.

Since its launch, CashGuard has been promoted within the retail community culminating in its first installation in Spar Clondalkin where the owner, Jimmy Farrell, is enjoying the benefits that CashGuard has brought to his store. Ray Sheehan, proprieter of Londis Parkgate St in Dublin, has also adopted CashGuard to streamline his operation and add a new dynamic to the management of cash in his store. As a result CashGuard is now working with a number of other retailers and is getting ready for more installations of the system.

Keeping costs down for retailers

Given current conditions, costs are a concern on every level. CashGuard works with store owners to show them how quickly their investment can be recovered giving the savings CashGuard creates. CashGuard eliminates the need to count cash, organise floats, reconcile cash registers and furthermore it cuts out cashier mistakes and theft of cash from the store’s cash registers. CashGuard allows store owners and managers to monitor cash levels either from the office or remotely which frees up their own time also.

Achieving a return on investment

CashGuard has 18,000 installations in Scandanavia, Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Based on this large number of installations the average return on investment ranges from nine to 15 months. CashGuard consults with store owners on their current cash management procedures. The company then uses the store’s own information to compile a return on investment analysis after the installation of the CashGuard system in their store. CashGuard has done this with numerous retailers and they have agreed that the return on investment is very short for CashGuard. While robbery protection and cash management are key advantages with CashGuard, it’s the savings it generates for the owner that is CashGuard’s main feature.

Advantages of upgrading to CashGuard

CashGuard brings a host of advantages to a store. Robbery protection for the cash in the drawers, streamlining of cash procedures in that there is no requirement to count cash, organise floats, or reconcile tills as CashGuard looks after all these functions. The cash in the tills is monitored at all times and transaction times are reduced. It also improves the working environment as cashiers are no longer responsible for the cash in their tills. But the main advantage of CashGuard is that it pays for itself.

Datapac can help retailers improve their margins

Datapac is Ireland’s largest indigenous ICT solutions provider, in operation since 1982 with offices in Dublin, Wexford, Cork and Belfast. Simon Collins, account manager at Datapac, outlines how employing retail technology can improve profits. 

Key developments within the past 12 months

Probably the most exciting development in EPOS in the last year has been the introduction of apps to aid the interaction between mobile devices, products and payment. These developments will open the door to hugely faster stocktaking and checkout-free shopping.

Keeping costs down for retailers

Costs from manufacturers have remained stable but resellers have significantly reduced prices to try and capture some business from retailers in these difficult times. However, lack of credit from banks has seriously restricted sales of EPOS systems as this would have been a major medium for retailers investing in EPOS systems in previous years.

Achieving a return on investment

How quickly a retailer can gain a return on their investment varies from retailer to retailer depending on how many manual processes they currently use and whether they truly have their finger on the pulse of their business. Reports from EPOS systems with the automation of manual processes can bring a six month return on investment in the worst cases. One of Datapac’s customers, the Altitude Outdoor shop in Waterford, experienced a 2% increase in margins within six months of implementing Microsoft RMS.

Advantages of upgrading your EPOS system now

Prices are lower for systems, retailers can manage loyalty schemes and promotions more effectively to increase business, and reporting can help to manage stock levels to ensure there is no wasted money.

Optimizing business through Unitech Europe

Unitech Europe announces its latest personal digital assistant (PDA) solution, the PA500 II. This new enterprise companion is the restyled and upgraded version of the successful PA500. By combining future proof functionalities for fast and familiar usage and an ergonomic design, this new enterprise PDA puts flexible, durable and cost saving computing in the hands of mobile workers.

Ease-of-use is paramount

With its screen oriented design and a keypad with only few buttons the PA500 II offers a familiar style of operation to the user. Users in retail can trust on PA500 II for purposes such as mobile POS. Connect with a mobile printer via Bluetooth for printing on-site. Worker flexibility and output will increase significantly, as will customer satisfaction.

Case study: ADM Londis

Investing in better business

This year ADM Londis introduced what is possibly the most exciting phase in its advancing IT investment programme. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past two months, this was of course its famous iPad/i-Retail launch – the climax of a €5m five-year plan to transform the Londis group into a super efficient, fully integrated, intelligent operation. Now with the roll out of iPads to Londis retailers, the group is cleverly using the device as an integrated business tool, enabling extraordinary capabilities.

In a nutshell, the iPad allows retailers to access: Londis’ e-Wholesaling platform ISIS (an intelligent ordering portal that delivers customised real-time data about a store’s stock, relevant promotions and suggestions to improve margin mix); category plans; their store’s EPOS system for managing all back office functions; and a host of other applications enabling peer review (to view their store’s performance against other stores), compliance checks, security monitoring, and even managing social media and emails, to name a few.

The net result of all this is that the retailer ends up with a refined offering – one that maximizes margin and profit, wastes as little as possible, and is procured through an efficient business operation that leaves the retailer with more time. As Cathal Hughes, a Londis Plus retailer in Mountbellew, Co. Galway comments: “Londis’ i-Retailing strategy makes running the business so much easier, whilst adding genuine value to my bottom line. Using the iPad I can download up-to-date planograms, check current offers and promotions, check what are the bestsellers in my own store, and order stock – from anywhere, at any time. This means I’m always carrying the right offering, I’m up-to-date on current promotions and I’m never over or under stocked, and all with the added bonus of such a convenient mobile device. It’s truly brilliant, it’s totally changed the business. We’re more efficient, more profitable, and it’s all so easy to use.”

The saying ‘you have to speculate to accumulate’ certainly rings true for Londis’ IT investment, and not just because the speculation in this case was of considerable scale. The group’s i-Retailing strategy has produced both increased profits and ample cost-savings. With so much of its operation utilising cloud infrastructure, Londis is now one of the lowest-cost symbol partners in Ireland.

The iPad, ISIS and the launch of i-Retailing is not the end, however, as Londis is committed to a long-term vision for its business. The group is currently working on business development projects for 2012, the delivery of which will require further enhancements to its IT systems. Ultimately, though, the aim of all innovations is always firmly fixed on creating as lean and as profitable a business as possible.

Case study: The Musgrave Group

Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland takes stock with VisionID and Eirpoint

VisionID, a Tipperary-based mobile computer technology company, has announced a lucrative deal with Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland to supply Motorola handheld computers to the Centra and Supervalu retail outlets nationwide.

As part of a major investment drive to boost efficiencies, Musgrave looked into mobile computing and asked Eirpoint, its handheld software development provider, to develop a handheld platform to improve stocktaking, stock ordering and online shopping.  Under the terms of the agreement, VisionID is providing over 1,000 Motorola MC75 and MC1000 handheld devices running Eirpoint software.  VisionID will also provide managed services supporting the hardware in the field. Eirpoint, a Musgrave select handheld software partner since 2004, will provide software development and support.

VisionID sales director Cathal Murtagh said the deal would include the preloading of software and staging of the devices before delivery to the store, making the process as seamless as possible.

‘‘It is great to see Musgrave supporting fellow indigenous Irish owned companies like VisionID and Eirpoint ” said Murtagh.
On the strength of the delivery and deployment as well as the service and support of this project, VisionID was also picked as the supplier to supply and deploy over 250 handheld devices for each of their trucks to help in the tracking of combi delivery trollies and EPOD.

‘‘This deal will have an extremely positive impact on both VisionID and Eirpoint. Most importantly it will be a beacon for similar Irish companies seeking a one stop shop for in country service and support. We look forward to working with Musgrave as they continue to support Irish business and local communities,” added Murtagh.

Established in 2000, VisionID specialises in the provision of mobile computing, wireless LAN, RFID and barcode printing and scanning solutions, with a particular expertise in integration to ERP systems and managed services and support.



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