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Guide to EPOS 2016

Guide to EPOS 2016

Choosing your first EPOS systems How innovative EPOS systems are transforming retail Reduce your chip & pin losses How can tablet POS enhance your business? How to successfully fulfil web orders time after time Improving customer experience with validation Self-checkout solutions & the smaller retailer


Guide to EPOS 2016 CONTENTS

Choosing your first EPOS systems How innovative EPOS systems are Transforming Retail Reduce your chip & pin losses How can tablet POS enhance your business? How to successfully fulfil web orders time after time Improving customer experience with validation Self-checkout solutions & the smaller retailer

Page 4 Page 6 Page 10 Page 12 Page 15 Page 18 Page 19

IMAGE CREDITS Front Cover: www.canva.com Page 4: Supplied by https://www.retailit.com/ Page 6: EPOS: iZettle, www.izettle.com/ Page 8: Shopkeep EPOS: Shopkeep, www.shopkeep.com Page 10: Supplied by: http://www.lois-systems.co.uk/ Page 12: EPOS: http://star-emea.com// Page 16: Supplied by TouchRetail: http://www.touchretail.co.uk/ Page 17: Supplied by TouchRetail: http://www.touchretail.co.uk/ Page 18: Supplied by: http://www.pcapredict.com/en-gb/index/ Page 19: Supplied by: http://www.spcint.com/

CREDITS Contributor: Emily Cleaver Contributor: Retail IT Contributor: Lois Systems Contributor: Star Micronics Contributor: TouchRetail Contributor: PCA Predict Contributor: SPC International Editor: Rob Gamage Production Assistant: Charlotte Lynch Advertising Sales: Rich York Modern Retail is published by Ricochet Media Services Ltd (Registered Company Number 6043446), Unit 1b, Building 6, Croxley Green Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YH.

THANKS Many thanks to all those who provided editorial content or images for helping us put together what we hope is a useful and informative read! Please send any comments or suggestions to: editor@modernretail.co.uk

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CHOOSING YOUR FIRST EPOS SYSTEM By Retail IT

Choosing your first EPOS system can be daunting for a small retailers. Reconciling what you want ideally and what you can afford is harder and you may have had no experience of buying anything like this before. Having spoken to retailers who wish they had asked certain questions during the process of selecting their first EPOS system, we thought it would be a good idea to share some of them here. WHAT IS THE CONTRACT MINIMUM TERM AND HOW DOES THE RENEWAL WORK? If you are going down the software as a service route then you will have one contract with a minimum term. If you are buying software and paying for support you may have two or more, so check the minimum term on the support contract. Renewals are where things can get a bit trickier. One would assume that once the minimum term is up then there would just be a notice period on the contract thereafter, but this is not always the case. Some have automatic 12 month renewals, so unless you cancel you are tied in to another year, which is not very flexible for a small business. You can request changes to the terms and see how flexible they can be, just be aware and ask the right questions to get the changes you desire. HOW DO THE SOFTWARE UPGRADES WORK? You receive three kinds of upgrades generally speaking. Firstly, bug fixes for when something has gone wrong. You also have incremental upgrades for software versions. Say you have version 8, then as things move along you get on to 8.2, then 8.6, then 8.62 and so on. Finally you have major upgrades, moving from versions 8 to version 9 for example. IS IT POSSIBLE TO WRITE OUR OWN REPORTS?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE INTERNET GOES DOWN?

Reporting modules work in different ways. While some are easy to use, leaving you able to create reports on a whim, others aren’t so user friendly. The kind to be aware of are those where you need to ask your provider every time you needed a report written. This can be both expensive and time consuming.

With most systems now being based in the “Cloud” (accessed via your internet connection, not installed locally on the till) it is essential that your first EPOS system has a fallback for when the connection dies. If it doesn’t have an offline mode then you can be left without a working till during a busy trading period. WHAT SUPPORT DO I GET? Make sure what you get is clearly laid out. Some may offer only online support, others full phone based support or a choice of both. Make sure response times are clearly laid out so you know what to expect and if you aren’t sure ask for a reference. We hope these points have been useful in helping you choose your first EPOS system. Retail IT – retail technology solutions for the speciality retailer. Our scalable solutions provide a return on investment for our clients, who range from single store independents to international multi-store operations. To find out more visit: https://www.retailit.com/

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TILL TECH: HOW INNOVATIVE EPOS SYSTEMS ARE TRANSFORMING RETAIL By Emily Cleaver How can high street shops protect themselves from the threat of online retail? One way retailers are fighting back is by using online retail’s own weapons against it, adopting the tools and technology that make internet shopping so attractive. Innovative electronic point of sale technology (EPOS) is empowering high street retailers to gather data, personalise customer experiences and make shopping flexible and easy, Blurring the lines between bricks-and-mortar stores and internet shopping and using the payment moment in the customer journey to build relationships and increase profits. We take a look at some of the innovations in EPOS making this multichannel mash-up a reality.

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TILL TECH: HOW INNOVATIVE EPOS SYSTEMS ARE TRANSFORMING RETAIL ...continued Payment providers like iZettle and Square allow sellers to accept credit and debit card payments using their phone, offering services like pocket card reader attachments and bookkeeping tools such as Nordstrom are giving staff touchscreen tablets that allow them to take payments anywhere on the shop floor, at the same time as accessing inventory and making orders for out-of-stock items. This kind of technology can be an extremely low-cost EPOS solution for a small business, but one that still offers the kind of connectivity customers are coming to expect. This technology can also be used in a variety of out-of-store retail locations such as stalls, concessions or pop-up shops, making it super flexible. Mobile EPOS is also being used by larger retailers to make checkout and customer interaction more fluid. Retailers such as Nordstrom are giving staff touchscreen tablets that allow them to take payments anywhere on the shop floor, at the same time as accessing inventory and making orders for out-of-stock items. PAY WITH YOUR FACE? There are numerous variations on using smartphone technology to pay for goods and services at the till. In a new technology that was trialled by Mastercard in 2015 and is set to hit the UK soon, customers can authorise a payment by simply looking at their Smartphone, which recognises their face.

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TILL TECH: HOW INNOVATIVE EPOS SYSTEMS ARE TRANSFORMING RETAIL ...continued The idea behind ‘selfie pay’ is to combat identity fraud (face theft is, as yet, unknown) and make it quick and simple to make payments. BUILDING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS AT THE PAYMENT MOMENT One advantage that online retail has previously had over bricks-and-mortar store interactions is that ecommerce sites can gather information on a customer that is hard to get in a high street store. Not only what someone buys, but what items they’ve viewed, how many times they’ve visited, what they’ve searched for and much more can give a retailer a detailed picture of a customer, and online platforms and communications allow them to keep in touch with customers more easily after a sale has been made. But the latest EPOS technology is bringing this kind of data to the high street, with systems that include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality to record customer preferences and behaviour and capture contact details for targeted marketing. Systems like cloud-based iPad platform Shopkeep or leading EPOS provider Lightspeed offer CRM functionality that allows retailers to easily gather and enter customer information and analyse data. ENDLESS AISLE The concept of customers being able to shop online while they’re in a high street store is rapidly gaining traction. The thinking goes that customers are increasingly expecting to be able to shop how and when they like, without differentiating between sales channels. They might browse a physical store and then order from a smartphone app, or from a laptop or tablet when they get home. Rather than losing sales to rival online retailers, some businesses are encouraging this omnichannel approach, empowering customers to combine high street and online shopping. Endless aisle terminals of various kinds allow customers to order items that are out of stock or not available, immediately expanding a store’s range into their deep inventory and retaining a sale that might otherwise have been lost. Demandware are providing this technology for Crocs, a footwear brand that markets itself on its huge range of colours and styles. Store customers can easily order combinations from a much larger range than it would be possible to display in the store itself. So where next for EPOS technology? The next few years are likely to see the emergence of retail showrooms, where customers can interact with products and order from a much larger available stock through in-store terminals or smartphones, and EPOS systems that go far beyond the point of sale, interacting with customers as they enter and navigate stores. EPOS systems are set to bring the best of online functionality to the high street, and soon. Emily Cleaver is a blogger and content creator who writes on retail, business trends and creativity. You can find her at www.wordboutique.co.uk

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REDUCE YOUR CHIP & PIN LOSSES

By Lois Systems

Modern retail is all about customer experience. As retailers we can build and control most things in store but not our Credit Card terminal(s) and card processing. This, along with the Retail system (EPOS), is normally outsourced and supplied by a 3rd party. Getting this combination right is imperative to achieving that all important customer experience. Making the EPOS and Card processing talk to each other is a no brainer, but still I come across multiple retailers operating slow clunky separate card terminals. I will list the pros and cons shortly but the journey to discovery for me came from an audit of my own stores back in the nineties: It’s cashing up time at the end of a busy day in the store and the totals don’t agree – grrrr! Cash is right but card payments are £148.50 down comparing the sales receipts to the Terminals’ Z-Read… Two minute check through and the culprit transaction is found – a £165 sale put through as £16.50 on the terminal! Honestly, you can’t get the staff!! Well it’s the nineties, pre-chip and pin and data protection, I find the culprit card copy and manually process an additional £148.50 from the card number printed on the copy receipt. I am happy and if the customer gets in contact and moans we can argue about an honest mistake. At least I have the right money in the bank now! Wind forwards 20 years and the same mistake has different consequences, that keying has really cost us £148.50! Unless customer details were collected and the customer can be contacted this is lost forever. No longer with the advent of PCI compliance is it possible to store card data, (electronically or paper) to affect that recovery move. And it’s so easy under pressure to make that keying mistake. The shopkeeper / sales assistant has a lot of distraction at the point of sale. Even if it only happens once every month over the course of the year this could be a very big number! Of course on the flip side it’s more than likely you will hear from your customer to rectify the human error…this is when they see their bank statement and the incorrect charge but rest assured ONLY in incidents of overcharging errors. So no swings and roundabouts there! EPOS Chip & Pin Integration Key Benefits: ● Human Error eradicated [keying errors eliminated] ● Faster and more reliable [better customer experience] ● Seamless Payments Audit Trail [EPOS reporting now contains card payment details] ● Aesthetically better [Terminal connects to EPOS and condensed to single unit] ● More Professional [tapping numbers into terminal never comforting to customer] Simpler Connection [No need for dedicated Chip & Pin line for card payments]

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REDUCE YOUR CHIP & PIN LOSSES

...continued

DOES IT SAVE ME MONEY? In a nutshell yes. And it’s Quantifiable. Cost of keying errors estimated to be between 1-2% of card turnover [a non-integrated retailer turning over £750k pa could easily be throwing away in excess of £10k per year]. Reduction of communication costs. If still on a telephone line that becomes redundant. Savings on accounting and bookkeeping fees doing batch settlement investigations. Faster customer service often means less queues and therefore more sales. WHY DON’T ALL RETAILERS HAVE INTEGRATION? Many retailers are confused by the whole card acquiring world and even more so by the significant benefits of having an EPOS to Chip & Pin solution. As experts in the Industry and recognising the needs to support retailers in this area, LOIS have an independent Chip and Pin consultant who can assist and guide you. If your current supplier can’t offer you integration with your EPOS or it is problematic, speak to us. We have the perfect solution and many happy customers. Apart from a choice of integrations to Chip and Pin, we also can arrange a “card payments health check” – to make sure you are paying the best possible rates, that you are PCI compliant and not paying noncompliance fines. Our EPOS also has a number of exciting functions and modules worth taking a look at – ask for an online demo or a visit in person. LOIS SYSTEMS: The Lois team are experts in planning, installing and supporting Epos systems. Lois take pride in helping its customers achieve optimum performance and maximum benefit from their Lois Epos Investment. With Lois you are not just purchasing an Epos solution, you are gaining invaluable access to retail systems knowledge. http://www.lois-systems.co.uk/

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HOW CAN TABLET POS ENHANCE YOUR BUSINESS? by STAR MICRONICS EMEA

Whether you are a high street retailer, a pop up store or a restaurant, tablet POS has significant advantages for your business. The undisputed benefits of mPOS technology include reduced investment costs, easy set up and flexibility to immediately react to market changes, not to mention greater efficiencies. Coupled with reliable, stylish hardware you have an mPOS solution that is not only low cost but will provide a wide range of features to enhance your business. Basing a POS system around a tablet or indeed a smartphone provides many benefits. As an off-the-shelf adaptable device a tablet provides high functionality for its cost while ease of use and processing power allow your business to be extremely responsive to your sales data. Beyond collecting and recording payment from customers, a tablet POS system provides the opportunity to collect additional information that can be processed to generate a variety of business reports. When your EPOS system is synchronising with a cloud-based backup service you can be sure that your business data is safe and secure while observing what is taking place in your business in real-time. Each terminal’s product list, price information and item modifications are always up-to-date eliminating the need to individually re-programme each terminal when changes are required. Adding a new item to your price list is simple and once created your product list or menu items can be easily downloaded onto additional POS devices. mPOP™ – UNIQUE COMBINED BLUETOOTH PRINTER AND CASH DRAWER SOLUTION In terms of hardware, a combined Bluetooth printer and cash drawer solution such as mPOP™ from Star provides a lightweight and portable solution that is just 10cm high and 30cm wide with a sleek design that will complement any counter top. Alternatively, mPOP with front feed receipting can easily be secured under the counter for enhanced space-saving. With intuitive top loading as well as a partial cut guillotine, the reliable thermal printer automatically cuts the 58mm wide receipt. Available in black or white, mPOP can be purchased with a plug and play scanner or this can be added as a later option. To complete the solution, the StarPOPPack option includes a black or white tablet stand and metal plate. Alternative colours are available if required. The universal tablet frame that is attached to the mPOP metal plate has a sponge inner sleeve to accommodate 10 inch tablets. The tablet can be turned 180 degrees to allow the customer to view the transaction. A black or white PED (pin entry device) stand is also available for card payment. Simple to set up, the tablet stand and plate option adds the finishing touch to mPOP to create a stylish, portable mPOS station. DIGITAL RECEIPTING – ELIMINATES ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH EMAIL RECEIPTING In order to provide customers with a digital receipt and full colour promotional image if desired; mPOP also features Star’s new digital receipting service AllReceipts™ that offers a free of charge, fast route to providing a digital copy of a paper receipt as well as access to analytics, an in-store customer survey and device management tools. A number of software companies have integrated mPOP – a full list is available at www.Star-EMEA.com. It is recommended that you check with the software provider that AllReceipts has also been integrated. With zero development required AllReceipts is enabled within the Star printer driver, works independently of your POS software and is totally managed by the retailer. Triggered by a traditional printed receipt, a digital copy of the receipt is sent to the AllReceipts App on the customer’s mobile with no email address or mobile number required. Receipts can only be claimed once and are then deleted, while saved receipts can be viewed by date or by retailer with personal or business tags on the customer’s device.

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HOW CAN TABLET POS ENHANCE YOUR BUSINESS? ...continued Digital receipting eliminates the issues typically associated with email receipting including the time taken to record email addresses and the potential problem that these could be taken down incorrectly. The immediate advantage perceived by the customer is the choice to remain anonymous and yet still receive a digital image of the receipt and coupon when offered. The latest features added to the AllReceipts service include: Engage NOW and Receipt Flip. Engage NOW allows you to provide links to promotions, discounts, coupons, etc on the Engage NOW landing page. Customers using the AllReceipts App can simply tap on your logo from the list of receipts on their smartphone and be directed to a URL that you specify. Engage NOW is secure and easily customizable, providing a highly personal customer connection. This feature also allows the customer to be notified on their smartphone when a new promotion is available. An icon will automatically appear next to your logo on the customer’s device, alerting them to check for updates. The beauty of this feature is that only one receipt needs to be scanned in order for you to benefit from ongoing direct communication with the customer. Receipt Flip provides the first two-sided colour digital receipt option. This feature allows you to take advantage of the reverse side of digital receipts, as on printed receipts, to display terms and conditions, store policies, promotions, marketing material, etc. This article illustrates the many advantages associated with tablet POS. By using this technology, retailers of all sizes can experience a wealth of features alongside noticeable cost savings that not only have the potential to improve the bottom line but also significantly enhance overall business performance and level of customer service.

STAR MICRONICS EMEA: A global manufacturer of POS hardware, Star Micronics has been supporting retailers for over 30 years to deliver efficient, reliable store solutions. At the forefront of product innovation and with a reputation for quality and reliability, we manufacture the largest range of POS and mPOS printers and accessories currently available. http://star-emea.com/

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HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY FULFIL WEB ORDERS TIME AFTER TIME by TOUCHRETAIL

If the stock you sell on your website is the same physical stock that you sell in your store then you’ll be aware of terms like ‘Overselling’, ‘Double Selling’ and ’Stock-outs’. You’ve probably experienced these terms first hand, and suffered the knock-on effects surrounding them. Most EPOS providers offer systems to tackle the brand-depleting logistical oversell issue, but you need to make sure they are correctly implemented, in my experience most are not, and it’s destroying customer service levels. This article highlights some common causes of Oversell, and how YOU can successfully fulfil web orders time after time. Oversell Hell A client sought our help after failing to fulfil 20% of daily orders. Being unable to fulfil orders was such a regular issue, it became accepted as the norm and the client employed someone whose sole purpose was to contact the 20% and apologise whilst trying to retain them as a customer - a huge expense to the client and a huge work around. With almost all competitors trading online, customer service is key. My client had truly experienced ‘Oversell Hell’. The cause of fulfilment failures. Thankfully my clients customer service level is now on the up. But what was so wrong that 20% of daily orders were left unfulfilled? Here is a list of common causes of ‘Oversell Hell’: 1. Poor connectivity, delays and blockages 2. Software unable to gracefully recover from connectivity issues 3. Over complicated fulfilment procedures 4. Poor stock management 5. Poor integration 6. Problematic software Looking at each of these points in more detail: 1 - Poor connectivity, delays and blockages Unreliable broadband connections at any point, or something that interferes with and blocks the data from being transmitted. It only takes one EPOS to stop sending out sales data, and suddenly your website is allowing online shoppers to buy the same items that have just been sold on the device hidden behind the blockage. I find the main causes to be: ● Routers that randomly decide to block traffic ● Over protective ISP’s who decide to block destination IP addresses ● Cheap Broadband All of which can be avoided by using a quality ISP. Most EPOS Systems are built to run offline but that doesn’t mean you want them to. Invest in business broadband through quality ISPs. 2 - Software unable to gracefully recover from connectivity issues When your internet resumes after a period of downtime, the EPOS needs to catch up.

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HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY FULFIL WEB ORDERS TIME AFTER TIME ...continued

If your software doesn’t handle outages well, the slightest blip can cause inaccuracies in stock whilst struggling to resynchronize. With a system that recovers quickly you won’t notice blips. 3 - Over complicated fulfilment procedures Once a purchase has been made online you are against the clock to take it off the shelf. The following needs to happen fast: ● A fulfilment location is allocated ● Location is alerted ● Items picked, validated and no longer available to sell The longer this process takes, the bigger the oversell potential. To maximise your fulfilment success, you are looking to take the item off the shelf within minutes of the purchase. 4 - Poor stock management If your stock levels are out in the first place, problems are inevitable. Keep your stock control tight using a reliable stock system. If possible, make regular or rolling stock checks. 5 - Poor integration I’ve been working with web developers for over 10 years helping them integrate their systems, some get it right, others really get it very wrong. Make sure you choose a company with experience and options. At Touchretail we have built platform specific connectors for Magento, Magento2, Shopify, Visualsoft and for everyone else we have a feature rich API. Whatever route you choose the fundamentals are the same. The website needs to notify the stock system quickly when items have been sold, and the website needs to be updated quickly when sales are made through any channel. 6 - Problematic software Our client’s case seemed to lie with their original software. If you don’t have a reliable inventory system at the heart of your operation, the best internet connections and websites are not going to help. Your stock control software is the backbone, this part needs to work, and work well. Ok, how do I avoid all of those issues?

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HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY FULFIL WEB ORDERS TIME AFTER TIME ...continued

Choose your suppliers wisely, find out who their clients are. Run through the above points while speaking with suppliers. Talk to retailers who may be able to advise on their experiences, good and bad. Make sure your website developer talks to your stock system developer - ideally before anything is signed for! A process to successfully fulfil web orders time after time: The key is simplicity. A time consuming, complex fulfilment procedure will leave items available for oversell. We use a streamlined order fulfilment process at Touchretail: 1. Order processed on website 2. Order appears instantly in the stock system 3. A fulfilment location is allocated (manually or automatically) 4. Location notified 5. Item picked and de-stocked Most of this is automated. Staff are alerted when they need to pick and doing so is a really simple process. Items are picked within minutes of the order being processed online - it’s this communication and simplicity that helps you successfully fulfil web orders time after time. Credibility Customers who receive great service will keep shopping and refer your brand to others. Everyone is online so it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Successfully fulfilling web orders is a key part of providing great customer service. Successfully fulfil web orders and prepare for growth. The correct marketing of your website can rapidly build your business. A sudden increase in order volume could result in the inability to fulfil orders on time, or at all, or the wrong items being dispatched. You could end up in ‘Oversell Hell’. Early preparation keeps your customer service level and brand credibility intact so your business can grow online.

TOUCHRETAIL: Stuart Francis is the CEO at Touchretail, specialists in eCommerce fulfilment for independent retailers. You can find out more at: http://www.touchretail.co.uk/ecommerce-fulfilment.html

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IMPROVING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WITH VALIDATION

By PCA Predict

Increasing numbers of people are shopping online, meaning that the demand for good customer experience and the need for clean data and better delivery rates are growing rapidly. With more than 40% of ecommerce sales now completed via a mobile device, ecommerce retailers need to ensure their sites are as mobile-friendly as possible. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, 47% of shoppers abandon mCommerce purchases because the checkout process is too long. Though convenient, the use of mobile phones can also lead to errors being entered due to small screen sizes. Incorrectly entered customer information, such as addresses, mobile phone numbers and email addresses, can have a detrimental effect on the data that online retailers collect in their CRM systems, leading to poor delivery and response rates, and damaging sender reputation. So, what does that mean for the world of ecommerce? 94% of businesses claim that address errors impact their performance and customer loyalty, and almost half of the top 100 grossing ecommerce sites use some form of address validation to ensure that they have correct customer details. However, there is a distinct difference between basic address validation, which allows customers or shoppers to manually enter their postcode and find an address, and the more advanced, that will provide suggested addresses after just a few letters of an address are entered.

PCA Predict’s address validation service, powered by Capture+ technology, allows online shoppers to automatically enter their addresses even more quickly – even when typos are entered. International addresses are found easily due to the predictive capabilities of new Fuzzy matching technology which prioritises addresses nearer the end-user’s location. Capture+ technology reduces the amount of keystrokes required to enter an address by allowing the user to search any part of an address or postcode; suggested addresses appear instantly. This solution helps online retailers to collect cleaner data and reduce the costs of failed deliveries. PCA Predict also provides an email validation service, which helps online retailers to check that the email addresses entered actually exist, leaving them with data that is easier to manage and an an increase in email deliverability. PCA Predict’s mobile phone validation allows the customer to discover whether the number entered is valid and capable of receiving SMS messages and calls. It also means that the end user is alerted if they enter an invalid number, allowing them to make necessary changes. Fast paced lives mean that when customers do get time to do online bookings and shopping, they want the process to be quick and simple. Validation services offer not only a better online customer experience but also peace of mind for online retailers who can relax in the knowledge that the data they are collecting is going to be cleaner, meaning better delivery rates. PCA PREDICT: PCA Predict work with a range of businesses around the world to increase online conversion rates, improve user experience, and maintain data quality. Over 10,000 customers trust PCA Predict’s market-leading optimisation and data cleansing tools including Trip Advisor, Dow Jones and Tesco. http://www.pcapredict.com/en-gb/index/

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SELF-CHECKOUT SOLUTIONS & THE SMALLER RETAILER By SPC International

It would hardly be a surprise if many small and medium-size retailers were to feel daunted by the challenge of offering their customers the same type of Self Service experience they have become used to when shopping in larger retail outlets. The footprint of traditional Self-Checkout systems (SCOs), allied to the capital cost of the hardware and the not insignificant outlay on software, has so far confined such solutions to the very largest retailers. The demand from customers for a more rapid service experience is however growing inexorably, and retailers, of all sizes, ignore this self service revolution at their peril. Embracing this revolution can bring the retailer real benefits in efficiency and customer loyalty. Self-Checkouts can reduce checkout wait times by up to 40%, thereby greatly enhancing the shopping experience, and allowing checkout personnel to be redeployed to other functions. Many surveys show that customers associate the provision of Self- Checkouts with enhanced customer service, and are increasingly expecting to find this option in many different retail environments. In one recent survey 35% of consumers stated that they wanted to be able to have access to SCOs in Convenience stores. On the face of it, developments in recent years had begun to put SCO solutions within reach of the smaller retailer. The new generation of express Self-Checkouts significantly reduced both the cost and the footprint required in the store. But until very recently software remained a barrier. Traditionally Tier 3 and below retailers have looked to the Reseller channel for their EPOS solutions. Self-Checkouts need to interface to the retailer’s EPOS application via a piece of software called a Transaction Broker – however precious few applications available through the channel have contained this link due to the significant development costs involved, thereby ensuring that Self-Checkouts have remained predominantly a direct sales product for the major manufacturers. Finally however new channel-ready applications are beginning to emerge which contain an integrated Transaction Broker, thereby offering a complete solution for the smaller supermarket, encompassing both SCO and EPOS hardware and software, and thus enabling SCOs to be added simply and easily as part of an EPOS refresh. The range of Self Checkout systems available is also constantly evolving. There is now a wide range of options to suit many different retail environments and offering a range of features and functions and different physical footprints. For the smaller store, options such as placing the basket above the bagging area minimizes the floor space required, and convertible units are now on the market which offer the facility to switch between self service and manned service as demand dictates. Card only kiosks are the latest development. These take space saving to new levels, can be either wall or pedestal mounted, and offer a rapid cashless function for high throughput environments. Independent supermarkets, Convenience stores, and a range of other retail outlets can now begin to consider whether SelfCheckout is something that would enhance their customers’ shopping experience. Guidance however is needed for any retailer thinking of venturing down this road.

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SELF-CHECKOUT SOLUTIONS & THE SMALLER RETAILER ...continued

The case still needs to be made, on a store by store basis, as to whether the investment is justified. Analytical tools are available which take the retailer’s sales data to produce a report indicating whether installing SCOs in a particular shop location makes sense, and recommending how many and what type of units should be installed. Retailers interested should seek out an experienced partner who can lead them through the decision-making process and give guidance about the many hardware and software options that are available. The rewards however can be considerable with shorter queues, faster transactions, better stocked shelves and happier customers. SPC is ideally placed to provide this guidance. With nearly 10 years experience of Self Checkouts, SPC can offer a proven solution based around hardware from NCR, the global market leader in Self Service automation, along with a combined EPOS and Self Checkout application which is tried and tested in the independent supermarket and convenience store sectors. As an NCR Interact Premier Solution Provider, SPC can provide all the support required from the industry experts, coupled with the flexibility of a partner who understands the pressures and requirements of the smaller retailer. SPC: For more information about how SPC can help automate your store and provide a better shopping experience for your customers, please contact Bill Miller, Retail Sales Manager at 01895 203124 or to read more, visit SPC’s website: http://www.spcint.com/ncr-self-check-out-sco

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Modern Retail Guide to EPOS 2016