Thinking outside the box

CBE states research shows a third of customers prefer to use a self-service checkout
CBE states research shows a third of customers prefer to use a self-service checkout

Forward thinking retailers are continuing to invest in new technologies that deliver greater convenience for their customers as well as bolstering their profitability.


Brand Central

18 October 2012

Share this post:




During a recession, it is more vital than ever for retailers to invest in cost-saving technologies, as these will enable them to keep one step ahead of their ever hungrier competition. Progressive symbol groups, as well as individual retailers, have recognised that where possible, now is the time to implement game-changing technologies.

Just one area that is currently experiencing major growth is ‘contactless payment’. A number of stores have deployed this technology in order to provide greater convenience for their customers, and retailers are keen not to trail behind their rivals in providing this service. Self-checkout is another solution which is increasingly being deployed in convenience stores as well as supermarkets in order to help customers get served quicker and avoid having to waste time waiting in a queue. New and enhanced EPOS systems meanwhile, can provide retailers with greater intelligence and data about their sales, helping them improve their category management as well as saving valuable time.


Guarding your business  

David O’Brien, managing director, CashGuard, explains the savings this closed cash system can deliver for retailers.  

Key developments during the past year

This being CashGuard’s second year in operation in Ireland, we are seeing a big interest in CashGuard as word is starting to spread among retailers about the system. We have installed in more stores including another Spar store in Clondalkin and a Gala in Portlaoise and there are a number of installations scheduled in the coming weeks nationwide. This is in addition to our existing installations with Spar and Londis. With crime and theft on the rise, retailers are looking at ways to protect their staff and their money. CashGuard is a closed cash system which means that the store’s money at the POS is never exposed or handled. Even the emptying of the tills after the store is closed is done without exposing the cash. This coupled with the fact that the store’s money is monitored by our Store Manager software system in the back office gives real protection for stores and peace of mind for store owners.  

Competitive pricing

CashGuard brings savings to a business. Customers have reported an increase in margin as a result of having CashGuard in their stores as the system eliminates pilferage and mistakes. As a new company CashGuard is trying to attract customers. We offer a number of initiatives to make CashGuard as accessible as possible including a 90 day no obligation trial. However access to credit is very difficult for retailers at the moment. A number of retailers looking to install CashGuard have had difficulties getting finance. As a result we have recently piloted a scheme to rent CashGuard to stores and we offer a buy-out clause as part of this for retailers to take advantage of when credit does become more available.

Achieving a return on investment

The obvious benefits of CashGuard are cash management and security. However the greatest benefit of CashGuard is it pays for itself in the savings it creates.  A store using CashGuard does not have to organise till floats, count cash or carry out reconciliations as CashGuard eliminates mistakes. As a result, the return on investment is very short, on average between nine and 15 months. A store suffering from robberies that finds they have frequent reconciliations on the cash versus till receipts will enjoy an even shorter return on investment as we do not factor in these elements when calculating the ROI. 

Further advantages of implementation

The fact that a store does not have to manage the cash in store anymore allows for the re-allocation of staff and resources and this can deliver large savings on overheads. Furthermore the store’s cash will be managed more efficiently with less requirement to purchase coins and notes for change and there will be a reduction in the requirement for cash in transit collections.  


Leading the way

Adrian Devine, managing director, Leaders, explains how self-checkout is not just suitable for supermarkets, but also provides a useful tool for convenience stores

Key developments during the past year

The key development during the year is with NCR Self-Checkout. NCR became the obvious partner of choice as it has over 70% market share globally, therefore the consumer will be very familiar and comfortable with using the NCR solution. Self-checkout is not only suitable for large supermarkets, but is now running very successfully in convenience stores around the world. 

Customers use self-checkout lanes for speed and more control of their shopping experience. The NCR Self-Checkout systems feature intuitive interfaces and animated instructions so the customer always knows what to do next.

NCR’s approach is consultative led, where the group will analyse your existing sales data, looking at trading patterns, peak times, basket mix, etc, and will then visit your store, interview store management and staff, use store floor plans, and give you a very detailed report on the optimum number of units and where they should be positioned. This report will also show the expected return on investment (ROI). NCR is finding a typical ROI of 12 – 18 months. After installation we will continue to work with you to ensure you are achieving the expected ROI. 

Advantages of EPOS upgrade

The capital cost of EPOS systems have not necessarily reduced in the past year, but have significantly reduced over the last few years. We would find a typical ROI of approximately 12 months on the upgrade of your EPOS system.
There are a number of key advantages for a retailer to upgrade their EPOS system including better business analysis tools to look at sales and margin trends. It is also key for a retailer to be working with current technology for the implementation of solutions such as contactless card payment, loyalty solutions, sophisticated in-store promotions, etc.


Cutting-edge solutions

Seamus McHugh, marketing manager, CBE Ltd, explains how the business is continuing to innovate and deliver new solutions that make retailers’ lives easier

Key developments during the last year

Continuous innovation is the mantra within CBE and our in-house software development team continues to lead the way in developing cutting-edge solutions to allow retailers improve their business and increase their profits.


CBE has doubled its installations of self-checkout in the past 18 months with a number of existing stores installing extra terminals to cope with the volume of customers using the system.

 to now, a number of retailers decided against installing self-checkout as they felt that it went against the ‘customer-service’ ethos of their store. Recent research has debunked that theory as it has revealed that a third of customers actually prefer to use it and will choose a shop that has it over a store that doesn’t. Interestingly, the research also revealed that a certain amount of customers will not use self-checkout and that is why CBE would always advise retailers to offer both options to satisfy the needs of all customers.

In addition to conventional self-checkout, CBE has also launched the Cashless Self-Checkout solution which will allow stores to have a system in place that eliminates cash at the point of sale. This ensures that tills will always balance, less reconciliation at the end of the day and it also eradicates the possibility of pilferage at the till.

CBE was the first EPOS company in Ireland to offer contactless payment technology to its customers

CBE was the first EPOS company in Ireland to offer contactless payment technology to its customers

ontactless payment technology

Launched earlier this year, contactless payment technology offers a quicker and more convenient method of paying for goods or services in fast moving retail outlets. Customers simply hold their card in front of the reader and the transaction is processed automatically, eliminating the need to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

CBE was the first EPOS company in Ireland to offer ‘contactless’ to its customers and has now installed the technology in all of the symbol groups in Ireland. Having launched the solution in July with BWG and Musgraves, CBE has now installed the system with Costcutter, Gala, Londis and a number of independent operators.

As the banks continue to update their customers to contactless enabled debit cards, the demand for this technology will only grow.

Innovative software module

CBE has launched an innovative add-on software module to its EPOS solution which will allow both landlords and tenants access to sales figures on turnover based rental agreements.

Sean Kenna, CBE’s managing director, feels that the new solution is a win-win for both tenants and retailers, stating, "our latest software development ensures fairness for both parties".

As the nature of lease agreements has changed in recent years, many tenants now agree to pay landlords a specified percentage of their turnover as part of their rental agreement. For example, a guaranteed minimum rent with a percentage of turnover top-up. In this case both the landlord and tenant share the risk.  Unfortunately, in some cases the turnover figure used has caused consternation for either the tenant or landlord, so the CBE solution ensures transparency for both parties.

Having discussed this issue with a number of clients (both tenants and landlords) CBE developed a software solution that will allow landlords access to turnover figures on leased properties – but only with the tenant’s consent.

With both parties agreeing to implement this new solution it will in future negate the possibility of rental disputes as both parties will have access to the figures if/when required.

No need to change entire solution

CBE’s strategy of always installing top-class hardware ensures that its retailers are now in a position where they are upgrading to their third or fourth generation EPOS solution, and as such can reuse certain elements of their existing system. This allows them to benefit from installing the latest generation software but without having to change their entire solution.
As CBE designs and develops its own software, the group is able to offer clients a solution that exactly matches their requirements, therefore eliminating the possibility of retailers purchasing off-the-shelf software packages that do not match their needs.

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. This unique feature extends the longevity of the software and ensures that the retailer will not have to update their EPOS solution as frequently as they did in the past.


 POSitive result

Graeme Crowther, senior sales executive, POStech Ltd, outlines the advantages of its new EPOS system 

New EPOS system launched

POStech Ltd, the IT arm of the Shop Equipment Ltd (SEL) group recently launched its new (to Ireland) EPOS system for the retail market. For over 25 years, Shop Equipment Ltd has provided top class EPOS systems to the hotel, restaurant, bar, salon and spa sectors. This division of SEL has been largely unknown outside of the hospitality arena, although, with over 250 installed sites throughout the country, it enjoys a high market share in that sector, based on the quality of its EPOS offering and its superb support service. In 2011 SEL launched this division as a standalone company under the name POStech Ltd.

 2012 POStech decided to build on its proven support structure which gives 24/7 support to all its customers, by launching an EPOS system that would meet the needs of the retail sector.  To that end POStech formed a partnership with Toshiba and Datasym, two of the top names in EPOS systems in the UK, to bring its products to the Irish market.

Strong partners

Toshiba is a world leader in computer hardware and has brought all of that knowledge to bear in providing hardware systems specifically designed with the retailer in mind. Datasym has over 30 years’ experience in providing retail EPOS systems throughout the UK to both multiple and standalone retailers. With over 18,000 licenses deployed and a 30 year track record, Datasym’s proven EPOS solution provides retailers with the control and insight they need to fully manage their operations and make innovative, real-time decisions.

The combination of these three companies, with all their vast experience, will allow POStech to offer a new, cost effective and capability rich system to the Irish market.

A tailored solution

This reliable and cost-effective retail solution can be scaled and tailored to meet the needs of single outlets, franchises, and multi-site retail businesses with solutions including:

  • Actual real time sales reporting
  • Remote access to reporting, stock control, POS configuration, promotion management, staff management and loyalty
  • Automated reporting and anti-fraud alerts via email and SMS
  • Age verification and restricted sales by time
  • Barcode scanning
  • Shelf-edge labels using standard receipt printer

POStech Ltd offers a range of services to compliment the Datasym software including initial consultancy and site surveying to determine the best solution for the retailer, set-up of the retailer’s database and stock listing, training of both management and cashiers, provision and installation of required hardware and nationwide hardware and software support.

In addition to the above, POStech can also offer a full credit card integration solution, providing both the hardware, software and support to enable retailers to seamlessly link their EPOS system with their banks and the credit card providers.

All in all, POStech represents a single point of call for all the retailer’s EPOS needs. For further information about POStech and the services provided, contact POStech’s senior sales executive, Graeme Crowther, on 087 967 5000 or at

Full of Merit

Pat Kelly, general manager, Merit Solutions, explains how retailers can benefit from the group’s technological expertise

A powerful solution

At Merit Solutions over the past number of years we have developed our product towards the cloud and we are the only EPOS provider with a web based solution, MeritWeb. This is a very powerful retail management solution. Following on from this we have developed Merit Smart which is an application that can sit on any smartphone or smartpad which enables the retailer to snapshot their sales data live for any day, week or month. It will also show yearly comparsion figures with the previous year eg, sales, sales ex agency, profit, margin and turnover etc. giving a clear indication to the retailer on how their outlet is performing. This clever app can work over wireless or the 3G network enabling the retailer to access the data from any location at any time.
The main focus at Merit Solutions has been to reduce the time and cost to the retailer of maintaining their retail system. To aid in this we have developed easy to use remote tools that allow the retailer to manage all back office functionality and product maintenance from the shop floor as well as the office. This has huge time and cost saving benefits to the retailer and enables smoother management, more time with staff and customers and gives them up-to-the minute critical data.

Competitive pricing

EPOS systems have reduced further in price over the past 12 months. Merit Solutions has always seen the importance of affordability to the retailer. To assist retailers who have to invest capital expenditure in retail EPOS systems, not only has Merit Solutions reduced our pricing we have introduced very flexible payment plans for all retailers.

Based on the significant cost and time savings made using our remote tools that allows the retailer to manage all back office functionality and product maintenance from the shop floor the retailer should almost immediately see a return on investment and will definitely see a strong return on investment over 12 months.

Advantages of EPOS upgrade

Making retail easier has always been our company mission statement, through our advances in technology and with the use of remote tools this enables the retailer to streamline the management of their store, reduce costs, manage waste, improve sales and profitability by giving strong detailed comparison reporting. The multi user capability of the system allows many users operate the system at the one time from product maintenance to reporting to purchasing along with remote support. Customers find this a huge benefit as they are never restricted from gaining access to the system from within the store or from a remote location. We back this up by our 24/7 consultative approach and dedicated support team. Another reason that retailers are installing the Merit Solutions system is the very competitive cost of the system and the affordable ongoing maintenance payments.

With the ever growing roll out of MeritWeb, Merit Smart, remote tools and cloud hosted accountancy solutions the feedback from our existing retailers on obtaining these tools eg. John & Eddie Glennon (Eurospar and Spar) and Derek Downes (Eurospar and Spar) has been enthuastic and exciting and they look forward to implementing these across all their stores.

A new alliance

The directors of Merit Solutions Galway and JBM Galway and Dublin have announced a strategic software development alliance, offering solutions to both the retail and hospitality trade nationally and internationally. The alliance will see both companies merge their software development teams.

Merit Solutions was established in 1992 by Michael Hughes and family, who have a long established history of retailing. The company has systems across symbol groups including BWG, The Barry Group, Musgraves and Nisa.

JBM was established in 2002, providing point of sale solutions, to both the hospitality and retail markets and is one of the fastest growing PC based hospitality solutions providers in Ireland and the UK. A well established and large, satisfied customer base exists throughout the UK and Ireland mainly serviced through London, Dublin and Galway offices with many high profile clients. JBM specialises in the hospitality sector and provides a consultative approach to selling, offering a menu of suitable products and services that will help to streamline and grow a business.

Chris Donnelly, head of IT, ADM Londis plc

Chris Donnelly, head of IT, ADM Londis plc

Q & A with… Chris Donnelly, head of IT, ADM Londis plc

Londis’ Chris Donnelly outlines how the ability to harness EPOS information proved fundamental to the group’s recent successful launch of centralised chill.

Intelligent retailing is central to how retailers serve and keep customers, with this in mind how has your EPOS platform enabled you to reduce costs and keep customers satisfied?

Our EPOS platform has kept our customers, and the consumer satisfied in the most important way possible, ensuring the right products are on shelf at the right time. Using the business intelligence from our EPOS systems, and adding automation and intelligent prompting has provided Londis retailers with a very intuitive ordering platform, ISIS. By identifying and prompting top sellers, promotional lines and other seasonal opportunities, each Londis retailer is assured of a very focused product offering which closely mirrors what customers are demanding in his or her store. Fundamental to our new centralised chill facility is the provision of product line daily sales data and stock levels through ISIS which means our retailers only order exactly what their customers require. This drives down waste in-store and enables our retailers to offer prices more competitive than ever, whilst also maintaining a healthy margin.


As a group, we have also taken a step beyond EDI, which traditionally sends the retailer’s invoice electronically and have now an integrated e-DN (Electronic Delivery Note). This is dispatched when the order, be it ambient or chill, is picked and lets the store know what product will be arriving before it arrives. In the instance of products not being available, the retailer can then make alternative adequate provision to ensure consumers are not impacted. Furthermore, the Electronic Delivery Note can be imported into the EPOS System and directly into stock thus eliminating the entire goods in process, again driving more efficiency in-store.

ADM Londis plc’s IT strategy has proved to be a huge success over the last twelve months, and innovation has been at the heart of that success; how do you plan to continue this into 2013?

Without giving away too many secrets, I can say that our innovation is gathering pace as we add new features for stores and consumers. We plan to further leverage our use of iPads in-store, so expect to see some interesting initiatives here, many currently in testing are ready for large scale deployment in 2013.

Our focus is to deliver IT that doesn’t just drive down costs, but assists in driving sales. 2013 will be no different, except that the pace of release will be increased, now that we have a stable and proven infrastructure. 98% of our business, between ambient and chill is now ordered electronically and over 70% of this is done on an iPad.

From a group support office perspective, our focus is on passing on whatever savings we generate to our retailers in the form of lower prices. We will continue to deploy technology throughout our business and automate processes where possible, driving down costs and delivering efficiencies where we can. As a group "owned by retailers for retailers", we are very conscious of harnessing the benefits of technology to reduce costs and pass savings back to our retailers.







Share this post:

Back to Top ↑

Shelflife Magazine