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issue ISSUE 4 | 2017 | $8


by Djamel Toubrinet, Director of Marketing, Americas @ Cegid

Are you doing all you can to win customer loyalty? It can be a challenging question to answer in today’s competitive global retail industry. The bar for customer engagement keeps moving higher and higher. Shoppers expect their favorite retailers to anticipate their needs, make helpful suggestions and offer personalized deals. After all, that is the experience they regularly encounter online. Why not in the store too? Here are just a couple recent statistics highlighting how much consumers care about customer service: • Before they think about buying something, 79 percent of consumers want brands to actually demonstrate they understand and care about them (Wunderman) • 47% of European and U.S. consumers will abandon a brand if it repeatedly provides a poor, impersonal or frustrating customer experience (CMO Council)   Retailers know these issues are extremely important. However, there may be some discrepancy between what consumers want and their perception of what retailers are delivering. A Capgemini study found that 75 percent of businesses believe they are customer-centric, but only 30 percent of consumers agree. | Autumn ‘17 | 2

Leveraging Clienteling Techniques One sure way to build customer loyalty is to leverage the latest clienteling techniques. Today, this means creating a custom experience for each customer encounter. Of course, even the most talented and experienced sales associate can use an assist from technology to accomplish this. Newer mobile solutions operate on hand-held devices that are discreet, intuitive to use and integrated with the retailer’s broader IT platform. For instance, with tools such as Yourcegid Retail Clienteling, associates see a 360-degree view of the customer’s buying history and preferences so that they can make suggestions to influence future sales and start building stronger relationships.   How does this technology work in practice? Say a loyal customer walks into your store. The clienteling solution identifies that shopper for the associate, who can see that the customer has an item in her online shopping basket. That item happens to be in the store, and so the associate can proactively find the item and invite the customer to try it on. While the client is in the dressing room, the associate can work on creative cross-selling and up-selling suggestions and plan customized promotions to close the sale. If the customer decides to buy the item plus other products, her profile is automatically updated within the solution. Personalized follow-up is likely to lead to more purchases and store visits (read story).  



Boost Revenues and Individual Store Sales In addition to creating a positive customer experience, the retailer’s overall revenue and individual store sales are boosted. Moreover, this type of clienteling is an essential part of the transition to omnichannel retail. It provides that critical link between the digital and physical shopping worlds. At successful retail organisations, executive leaders, store operations managers and store associates all know that winning customer loyalty requires a holistic approach. Today, that means tapping into knowledge about what consumers want, whether they are shopping online or in the store, and then putting our best product and customer service forward to meet their every need.

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SOHO EXPO is a Natural Products Industry Trade Show and Convention produced since 1971 by SENPA a non-profit Trade Association with proceeds from show staying within the industry.

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NRF 2018 is Retail’s Big Show. It’s retail’s most important three-day conference, which brings together the largest gathering of industry executives for discussions of the latest industry trends and gives attendees an unparalleled view into how retail brands of all sizes are transforming themselves for the digital age.

Want to add a trade show? Click here to contact us. | Autumn ‘17 | 3

Do Customer Loyalty Programs


by Don Capman First of all, what is a customer loyalty program? Generally speaking, a customer loyalty program is a concerted marketing effort to attract and retain customers as well as to increase customer shopping frequency and the dollar value of their purchases.  Customer loyalty programs come in all sizes and flavors with benefits ranging from immediate discounts on purchases to “point” accumulation which can be used in the future for free or discounted merchandise.  Most serious Point of Sale Systems are capable of integrating with various types of customer loyalty programs.  Unfortunately, many retailers believe that if they install a customer loyalty program at Point of Sale, they will experience immediate and dramatic success.  This is rarely the case.  A long-term customer loyalty strategy must be implemented and regularly monitored for effectiveness.  When developing a customer loyalty strategy certain considerations deserve attention. 1. Who are you trying to target? To answer this question, you need to run a report on your best customers.   They aren’t necessarily the customers you see most frequently in your stores.   Often, customers who are perpetual bargain | Autumn ‘17 | 4

ers show up at your stores on a regular basis to see what you are “giving away.” They seldom buy at full price and, when they do buy they often have a higher-than-average return rate.  In fact, they’re probably costing you money.  A “Best Customer – Worst Customer” report will give you all the information you need and help you tailor a customer loyalty program that will be attractive to your best customers. 2. How do you make your customers aware that you offer a customer loyalty program? Several weeks ago I visited my local card and gift shop and something dawned on me.  Every time I went to pay for my purchases, a clerk would quickly ask me if I had a Hallmark reward card.  Usually, in a rush to get out of the store, I would invariably say no, and I would be on my way without anyone asking me if I would like to sign-up for one.  Finally, the last time I made a purchase at the store and was asked if I had a card, I took the initiative and said, “No, but how do I get one?”  The clerk courteously gave me a brief form to fill out and issued me a key chain card.  She still never told me what benefits I would get by using this card, and again, because I was in a hurry and customers were waiting in line behind me, I never asked.  So I am walking around with a card that has “mystery” benefits anxiously awaiting the tchotchke I will get after my 10th purchase.



3. Are you offering rewards that are desirable to your best customers? Once you have a list of your best customers, study their buying habits and try to come up with some common denominators. What types of merchandise do they buy and how often they frequent your stores?  With this information, you can segment your best customers and even customize their rewards according to their preferences.  For example, since I am a male reward card holder who frequents a local pharmacy for toiletries, I really don’t want a “bounce-back” coupon offering me a free tube of lipstick after 10 purchases. I find these types of rewards not only annoying but insulting.  4. Is it easy for your best customers to make use of your loyalty program? Grocery stores were one of the first retail vertical markets to offer customer loyalty cards.  The most common rewards in a grocery store are immediate discounts on selected items and “bounce-back” coupons good for discounts on future purchases.  When a major grocery store chain in the northeastern United States decided to offer a loyalty program, they issued keychain loyalty cards to all customers.  Well, God forbid that you should drive a different car one day and take the keychain that didn’t have the card because you were refused the loyalty discount.  This infuriated most customers and finally the store stopped requiring the physical presence of the card.  Customer loyalty is supposed to be a reward not a punishment. 5. Do you reinforce the value of being a rewards card holder? Every time I make a purchase, I should be reminded of the benefits of being a loyal customer. If it’s an immediate savings, the sales associate should let me know how much I saved even if it’s printed on the receipt.  If the reward is in the form of bonus points that are going to result in a future gift or discount, the sales associate should tell me how many more points I need to reach my goal.  If I’m close to my goal, I may even make another purchase on the spot just to reach my reward. 6. Do you keep the customer loyalty program fresh and meaningful? Many stores begin a customer loyalty program with an enthusiastic blitz.  Staff and customers get excited

and sign up customers by the droves. Often, prizes or bonuses are given to the staff member who signs up the greatest number of customers.  As often, after the initial blitz is over and the prizes are won, customer loyalty programs languish and are put on the back burner to die a slow death.  To be successful, you need to look at customer loyalty programs as living, breathing organisms that need regular replenishment and stimulation.  Periodic events for members, mail or emails to alert members about new merchandise or special “member-only” sales, signage throughout the store that makes it evident of the benefits or being part of the program are all part of keeping the programs alive and profitable.  The staff needs to be provided with regular and meaningful incentives to recruit new members and keep them fully committed to the program. While software add-ons for loyalty programs are great tools that will help you track long-term customer value, those tools will only be as successful as the additional on-going efforts that keeps these programs meaningful. Loyalty is something that cannot be taken for granted but must be earned every day. Retail statistics commonly agree that it costs 4-6 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an exisiting customer. Keeping this statistic in mind certainly seems to justify the expense and work that is put into a well thought out and dynamic strategy designed to increase and maintain customer loyalty.   -Don Capman is the former President and co-owner of J.D. Associates, one of the largest distributors of retail POS software in North America.  J.D. Associates is now One Step Retail Solutions.

Be sure to visit these websites for useful POS information and free resources: • • - 100% focus on restaurant POS - a POS support forum where users share information and answer tech questions for products, including Oracle/Micros and Aloha - free. - A list of technology solutions for restaurants and hospitality. Find developers, manufacturers, resellers and processors. - Great content on bar codes, bar code printing, labels, bar code supplies, RFID, IoT, UPC codes, QR codes and much more. Over 3,000 articles and completely free. Includes a free barcode label making tool. Need to buy a bar code? We can help you there too.

MY TOP NINE LOYALTY AND REWARDS PROGRAMS by Craig Aberle, What’s on your key ring? Here’s a list of nine good (and even a few awesome) loyalty programs.   First - (and not in any particular order) - Starbucks.  I get a free drink for every 120 points of coffees or other goods that I buy.  (1 point for each dollar spent)  I think it’s a decent deal - I buy a short coffee most days for $1.89 and then when I get my freebie, I use it towards a large mixed drink or sandwich worth three or four or six dollars.  I like it.  It’s not on my key ring, because I have the mobile app on my smart phone. Second - maybe my most favorite key tag of all, relatively new to my collection of loyalty programs,  and actually set to expire shortly - Ben & Jerry’s.  They run a V.I.T program - Very Important Taster club. I get 10% off my ice cream cones and a free taste of whatever new flavors they are offering. The program makes it worth my time to drive an extra twenty minutes to get there.  That, plus the best tasting butter pecan ice cream on the market!

ey I get back, but the worst quality key tags of any company - the ink wears off in months and that causes delays at the checkout counter. (Asides: Three memos to the Staples marketing staff - seriously - get a new key tag vendor.  Most other tags on my ring don’t wear out at all. Also, what is the scoop with the “buy a big pack of batteries in December and then get a 100% rebate” in January? Are you having cash flow problems - or just trying to goose your sales numbers in the 4th quarter to get a bigger yearend bonus? Either way, it smells funny. Lastly - if you want me to check-in with a mobile app in the store, don’t put the QR code to do so at the checkout counter. Point it out BEFORE I do my shopping. your store.)    Fifth - Panera - this program I like because I eat there a few times a week.  Soup and salad usually.  I often earn a free cookie or a dollar off on a meal. They certainly can tell how frequently I patronize their stores. (I am in a Panera as I type this article…but finished it at a Starbucks, fwiw.) Sixth - my biggest secret - this company just gives you a free chocolate once a month.  You don’t have to buy anything, you just show up at their store and show your card.  It’s Godiva, and it’s damn good chocolate - and they have a store at the utc mall in Sarasota.  I always stop in when I’m there. Seventh - this is not on my key ring - but they send a coupon via email and it is often a BOGO (buy one, get one) for a Blizzard  - it’s DQ (Dairy Queen).  A great place for a family dessert after dinner. I like the Butterfinger or Heath Bar mixed in with vanilla. Good stuff and a nice treat from the retailer.  Sign up for free on the web and they will remember your birthday too.

Third - GNC Gold card. GNC has morphed their program over the years.  It used to be that you had to show up in the first few days of the month to get the discount, now a person can show up at any time. There is a savings on many products and since I buy their multi-vitamins it does save me money, even though I have to pay an annual fee to be in the club. I am not sure if I will renew this next year however. I have an Amazon Prime account, and I find it simpler to order my GNC vitamins on the Internet - and save a half hour by not going to the mall.  The shipping is free, even if the vitamins cost me a little more.  Fourth - Staples - I have been part of their rewards program for ages.  I get all kinds of rebates and cash back when I return my empty ink cartridges.  I have to say that they have a great rewards program in terms of the | Autumn ‘17 | 6

Eighth - Fit 2 Run - this saves me about 10% on each sneaker purchase. Since I belong to a bike club, I also get another discount. I don’t go too often, but I like their selection, and they have the running machines with the cameras mounted on the back so they can slow-mo my pace and check for pronation and other problems. When good quality running sneakers go for $100 a pair, 10% off is worth the effort. Lastly - Best Buy - it’s kind of a sleeper program, as I don’t shop there too often, but I seem to get a $20 or $30 a year in rewards. It’s mobile centric - comes via email and that is fine with me. You don’t have to carry the card, just give them your phone number at checkout.  It’s good incentive. I estimate the combined value of the annual benefits I receive at about $800 to $900.  It’s adds up, and it’s a bit of fun being in their programs.





Scanning QR codes using smartphones and specialty mobile apps is an easy method for customers to access company rewards and promotions. Companies can engage consumers with QR codes, offering special discounts or rewards for those who scan the QR code with appropriate mobile apps. QR code rewards for repeated visits are a savvy way for companies to allow technology-engaged consumers to register their visits, and are more exciting than punch cards.

alty. QR codes make it easy for customers to check in at locations to register visits, and these mobile apps make it possible for businesses to offer special rewards and discounts for shoppers who make use of the technology. QR Rewards, Cask Marque, and Benefit all reach shoppers and customers from different demographics, but the rewards offered by their QR code mobile apps unify shoppers around the desire for a great deal.

British company Cask Marque offers a mobile app called CaskFinder that rewards pub visitors for participating in the CaskFinder mobile app’s Ale Trail program. Each time a customer visits a pub certified by the Cask Marque company, they can scan the QR code on the Cask Marque certificate displayed in the pub. Scanning the QR code registers the visit, and once customers visit a number of pubs on the CaskFinder Ale Trail, they are eligible for rewards. The CaskFinder mobile app also offers tasting notes for the different cask ales offered in each pub, a Cask Marque pub locator, and other features. In the retail sector, cosmetics company Benefit is using QR codes to drive customers from its online presence into its brick and mortar stores by offering special rewards accessible only to shoppers who scan the QR code and visit Benefit boutiques. Once shoppers scan a QR code on a printed Benefit flyer, they are directed to a site featuring another QR code scannable by Benefit representatives in the store. This requires shoppers to visit the Benefit boutique to qualify for a special reward. Benefit is using social media and QR codes to drive customers into their stores while simultaneously growing their online presence. Special rewards provide incentives to scan QR codes and shop in the Benefit stores.caskfinder 02 QR Code Reader is a mobile app that rewards customers for their loyalty by allowing them to scan QR codes to access special coupons. When visiting the applicable merchant, the mobile app allows patrons to “check in” by scanning the merchant’s QR code. Once shoppers log the qualified number of visits, they are eligible for rewards. The mobile app also allows users special access to onetime-only offers and specials. Engaging consumers with QR code technology for loyalty programs makes punch card programs look old-fashioned. These three programs demonstrate the way that QR code mobile apps are being used in various industries to engage customers, increase sales, and win customers’ | Autumn ‘17 | 7


By Bo Ransdell, DCR Profit Control Systems While the point-of-sale system in the hospitality environment offers a multitude of benefits, loyalty programs remain a seldom-used tool for a business’s success. The added revenue opportunities for gift cards are an easily-understood component of any restaurant’s operation, but loyalty programs represent an even more valuable commodity, left untapped by most. Just as the name suggests, these programs are built to inspire loyalty in the consumer, but the variety of programs and the true goal of such a program can seem esoteric by comparison to gift cards. And yet, as the market continues to evolve, loyalty is poised to be a far more effective use of marketing resources than any gift card as a means to generate returns on investment. Unlike gift cards, loyalty programs are not the simple financial incentive to frequent a business. There is that component, certainly, but the larger goal is to take the first-time visitor and give them a reason to return. This has been accomplished in the past by discounts based on the accrual of points for previous purchases, or free items when certain dollar goals are reached, etc. This may reach the customer on a logical level, the savings being apparent for their continued patronage, but it does not extend far beyond this idea. This leaves the consumer with only a more advanced type of gift card, when the aim is to generate an emotional response, a legitimate personal connection to the business. So, what is this market today? The millennial generation is filling restaurants in greater numbers than any other demographic, and they bring a new view of what to expect from their hospitality experience. Millennials prefer the occasion of eating out as opposed to simply ‘grabbing dinner.’ They are looking for food as an | Autumn ‘17 | 8

event, an opportunity to share with their friends a moment from their lives. Unsurprisingly, technology figures heavily into these expectations. According to National Restaurant Association data, 64% of millennials and 68% of the older Gen Xers prefer restaurants with online menus as a means of deciding their destination.1 A related and fascinating trend is in video game technology, an industry that barely existed 40 years ago, but now 67% of American households own one of these consoles.2 With the barrage of technological opportunities for distraction, all of these devices, including cell phones and television, are constantly demanding attention from these media-savvy consumers. So, what does all of that have to do with loyalty programs? It is, ideally, a look through another lens at what a loyalty program can be beyond the collection of email addresses for marketing blasts. If these consumers are looking for an experience with their evening out, why not employ the same philosophy to outdated loyalty programs? While not in the restaurant space, one of the better examples of this thinking is in the Regal Crown Club program, a loyalty program for the successful movie theater chain. Yes, their program does provide discount rewards for previous purchases, but that is only the beginning. Users of the program are given tiers, progressing from one level to another like a character in a video game. The discounts apply to more than just tickets or concessions, but also merchandise. There is a dedicated app, which sends alerts to its members advertising special events, or extra loyalty rewards for certain screenings. It is an engaging, interactive program that has been very successful for the company.3 The question, then, is how to adapt a successful loyalty model from one industry to another, and, here, we can only speculate, but some lessons appear evident. The


tiered approach which offers the consumer some sense of progression is just one possibility in ‘gamifying’ your loyalty program. Game designer Dori Adar states, “People who have made some progress toward a certain goal are more committed to achieve that goal.”4 This goes beyond the math of x number of purchases gives the member item y. It is the larger sense that one’s interaction with a business gives them a visceral sense of satisfaction and of competition. The psychological need recognized by Adar is easily applied to any loyalty program, where continued patronage gives customers more than just a discount – it gives them a sense of accomplishment. Another takeaway is the variety of redemption options. Why limit the redemption to a free item or a discount when a bit of creativity might result in greater engagement? Perhaps membership in the program could be redeemed for a discount on special events tickets, or for preferred seating? Or a special meal for two, complete with dessert and a bottle of wine? Any way to create the “event” these patrons crave is an opportunity to further the engagement between your business and the consumer - and, ultimately, to make that relationship more than transactional, but personal. While more advanced, a dedicated application for iOS and Android gives your business the ability to interact with your consumers on their primary means of communication. When shopping for loyalty programs, see what offerings are available for mobile applications that can help push your message to your customers. A dedicated application could also be used to host your menu, or possibly online ordering. Integrating loyalty with your web presence can be a very powerful combination.


What is evident in all the latest research in consumer trends, the millennial generation is spending and the fight for their attention is only becoming more difficult. To succeed today, one must adapt to the changes in technology and culture, and this should be true of every aspect of one’s business. Adapting the tools available in loyalty programs to creative ends to connect with customers on a logical, emotional and psychological level can make your business exceptional in an increasingly-crowded marketplace. Sources: 1. State-of-the-industry-We-are-living-in-a-millennia 2. 3. press-releases/2017/01-23-2017-140101656 4. -About the Author Bo Ransdell has worked in the service industry for almost thirty years, and with DCR for more than a decade. As a leading reseller in the Southeast, DCR is committed to finding innovative solutions in the ever-changing point-of-sale landscape.

Finally, the marketing tools inherent in almost every offered loyalty program are powerful and important, but these tools, too, must be employed with some mindfulness to make full use of them. Sending out a weekly email blast to remind customers of a happy hour or weekly specials is an easily dismissible message. At the risk of repetition, creating the special occasion is statistically more effective in reaching this demographic. One night only events and highlighting your business for holidays and special occasions, perhaps including local happenings, these are the things which will elevate a loyalty campaign into something worthy of their attention. And this is the real lesson – personalization. Catering to the desire for a night out, or even a brunch on the patio, to be a moment of their lives worthy of capturing and sharing. | Autumn ‘17 | 9

How Does Your Loyalty Program

Reward You?

by Ohad Jehassi, President Lavu Inc. The abundance of loyalty and reward programs out there, along with the conflicting advice regarding their worth, create a muddy and overwhelming picture clouded with bad choices. As the owner or manager of a busy restaurant or café, with so many things on your “absolutely must do” list, wading through optional loyalty programs may still be on your “maybe one-day” list. Or, perhaps you implemented an easy program and know by now you could have done better, but doing better can wait because at least you’ve got one. Either way, here you are reading about loyalty programs, once again. The subject keeps invading your world and taking over your mind because you know there must be more to it, and you’re right. Loyalty programs spread from airlines to grocery stores to retail venues to food service because they have redeeming qualities, but they have evolved and so should you. The right loyalty rewards your customers, but also rewards your bottom line, and utilizes cutting-edge technology to do so. The results you want from a loyalty program are an increase in the frequency of visits from regular customers, an increase in your average transaction price, an incentive for new customers to choose your business, and engagement with your customers that makes them want to tell their friends. That final piece, the engagement with customers, is where loyalty is headed, and where the most strides in technology are being made. Using sophisticated technology that gathers essential data, mobile loyalty apps are taking engagement to a whole new level. The alarm bell going off in your head right now when you realize your punch card loyalty program uses neither technology nor data and in fact just kills trees, is a valid alarm bell, listen to it. And don’t be afraid, the sophisticated technology part is being taken care of by ridiculously intelligent developers and by the time it gets to you and your customers there should be nothing hard about implementing a good, dynamic loyalty program. I’ve seen too many restaurateurs avoid technology they don’t understand, while the customers seeking that very technology walk on by. Sure, there have been improvements since punch cards, and many of you have moved on to third-party | Autumn ‘17 | 10

apps like Belly or SpotOn, both a good step up from a punch card and both with some data tracking capabilities. Or you may belong to a restaurant network that your customers can access on their mobile devices, but which offers no guarantee of loyalty to your establishment. These options simply do not represent the best that technology offers. The best now comes as a mobile app, integrates with your POS system, offers online ordering, and uses geolocation technology. In 2016 the National Restaurant Association’s Industry Forecast said 50% of restaurant customers use their smartphones for rewards and deals, a significant number. And mobile loyalty apps claim much higher retention rates than traditional loyalty programs, so if the 50% using mobile apps on their smartphones are also the most engaged and easiest to retain, that number becomes even more significant. The importance of mobile apps will only continue to grow due to their popularity and the increasing number of people using them. So, when you choose your app, make it a good one. A truly amazing mobile loyalty app should be personalized and customized so the fancy software remains hidden behind your restaurant’s brand, your restaurant’s logo, and your restaurant’s feel. Carrying your brand across multiple platforms gives the customer an omnichannel experience, and doing this builds brand loyalty. Building brand loyalty goes directly to those end results you want, specifically an increase in visits and a desire for your customers to share your brand with their friends. Not all loyalty apps offer this customization. Make sure your app builds brand loyalty for you and not the developer. Get an app that integrates with your POS system and offers online ordering. Online ordering via mobile devices now accounts for one-third of e-commerce sales. Mobile ordering creates opportunities to increase efficiency and turns while also rewarding loyal customers. Imagine a busy coffee shop during rush hour. Regular customers who use the app can order online, pay online via integration with your POS system, and pick up their favorite drink without waiting in line. You’ve rewarded your regular customer by cutting down on their wait time, but you’ve also incentivized new customers who would normally be scared off by the long lines. And you’ve done all this through what you thought would



just be a loyalty program, but can really be so much more. Geolocation, just like online ordering, perfectly captures the multiplicity of mobile app features and how they can reward customers while also rewarding you. Imagine the same coffee shop as before, but during offpeak hours. Geolocation technology allows that coffee shop to send push notifications to loyalty customers in the area alerting them that they are nearby and enticing them to stop in for a special deal. This same technology can be used to send out short, meaningful surveys to customers currently in the shop to engage them and gather feedback. How many of you have sent out e-mail surveys and gotten virtually no response? A mobile app with geolocation offers up a new way to talk to customers and find out what they are thinking, which in turn helps you target them with exactly the kind of reward they want.   The list of what these apps can offer is impressive and too long to spell out here, but to sum it up, you should really be thinking of your next reward program in terms of how it rewards you and your bottom line while also rewarding your customers. The two do not have to be in opposition. In fact, if done correctly, a good customer experience should simply continue to increase the success of your bottom line. Here at Lavu, we thrive on being leaders in emerging technology and imagining new ways to take customer engagement to the next level while ensuring the success of the businesses we support.    About Lavu Lavu is the world’s leading mobile pointof-sale restaurant management system. Used in 89 countries worldwide, Lavu is a fully featured iPad-based POS system designed exclusively for restaurants and bars. Lavu was the first iPad point of sale in the Apple App Store and continues to be a pioneer of technology.  Lavu is ideal for all food and drink establishments, streamlining operations to simplify management and improve the customer experience. | Autumn ‘17 | 11


by Craig Aberle Editors note: It’s not every day we find an app that offers real value for the end-user as well as the vendor, but PaySwag has a unique approach that really makes sense. I have to admit, that when I first got on the phone with the company, it took me a good twenty minutes to get my arms around what they are doing.  But after talking with them, I got it, and it’s very progressive.    This is a little off the beaten track for The Point of Sale News, but read on, because there is value in this huge, underserved and “under-banked”  niche.    PaySwag is a mobile app (white-labeled), that brings a revolutionary approach to the payment experience for sub-prime borrowers and the under-banked, through it’s cash or card payment, reward, education and feedback engines.   (In addition to variety of state of the art payment options, PaySwag delivers a revolutionary model of rewarding—rather than punishing—those who live paycheck to paycheck.) Under-banked is a term that refers to the roughly 100 million people in the US that do not have, or do not use a bank account.  (Forbes Mag) Reasons for not using a bank account often include an inability to manage the account without incurring fees or crushing bank penalties - like the $35 overdraft fee that compounds every 3 days at my local bank (the one where they notify you by mail every 10 days, allowing the charges to build up even faster than a | Autumn ‘17 | 12

loanshark). Suffice to say, it is a market with enormous potential.    Actual case study Car Loans Inc is an alternative auto financing option for subprime borrowers. Committed to finding a more positive, caring and engaging way to connect with their borrowers, Car Loans Inc piloted the deployment of PaySwag.   Through PaySwag, Car Loans Inc was able to reward borrowers for paying on time, and maintaining communication. Never before had the Car Loans Inc customer base been incentivized with Amazon cards, Redbox rentals, Starbucks lattes or tickets to local basketball games – just for keeping to a payment plan.   Relevant Case Study Data • Of those invited to participate, nearly 50% adopted the app • After a 12-month period using the PaySwag mobile platform, Car Loans Inc experienced a 50% reduction in severely delinquent loans • 46% of PaySwag users elected to earn points by watching educational videos • 52% of PaySwag points were awarded for consistent on-time payments • 68% of PaySwag users made payments using cash at the 17,000+ integrated locations

The Subprime Experience Consider the figure $1 trillion dollars. This is the staggering amount of subprime auto loans that have a 25 percent default rate in America. Without debit or credit cards, subprime borrowers have limited methods of payment (often relying solely on cash transactions), making the repayment of loans exceedingly difficult. The current collections process, normally associated with angry calls, unopened letters, limited payment options and an onslaught of additional fees, is ripe for a smartphone-era upgrade. By combining mobile access and alternative payment technologies, automotive dealers and lenders, such as Car Loans Inc, are able to give borrowers the tools they need to make on-time payments. By transforming how the underbanked communicate with lenders, payments become more accessible, rewarding and likely. Convenience of Cash or Card Payments Through PaySwag’s cash payment technology (derived from a partnership with PayNearMe, subprime borrowers were given the flexibility to make loan payments, in cash, at more than 17,000 convenient neighborhood locations in Car Loans Inc’s Nevada test region. If a customer wanted to make a cash payment, they need only to go to their nearest 7-Eleven (or other neighborhood payment location found on the in-app map), hand their mobile phone to the clerk who would be able to scan a bar code, and accept the payment in cash. A notification that the payment has been made would be immediately visible on their mobile device, and applied towards their payment plan. Gamification & Rewards Engagement and rewards are key to taking the pain out of loan payments for subprime borrowers. Through PaySwag, Car Loans Inc customers were able to earn “swag” points by making on-time payments, communicating with lenders, keeping their customer profile upto-date or watching short videos on credit, budgeting and saving to improve their financial education. Once the points are earned, they translate directly into rewards that this specific market enjoys. By gamifying the payment experience and adding rewards as incentive to stay on track, the entire process becomes fun and engaging. “Using the PaySwag app, we have the ability to give our borrowers something that no other company provides for them. With an on-time payment or a spin of the wheel, they are rewarded with points that they can use at Starbucks, on Amazon or to go to baseball or basketball games. They love it,” said Barbara Mearse, director of operations at Car Loans Inc. 



Recouped Debt “With PaySwag’s technology, rewards and simple communication styles, we were able to minimize defaults and maximize customer engagement at Car Loans Inc. Being able to see a 50 percent reduction in seriously late loans is a huge deal for companies like ours. Bottom line: with PaySwag, we create more revenue,” explains Blake Vanderwell, director of finance at Car Loans Inc. For Car Loans Inc, the implementation of the PaySwag platform proved vital to the collections process. To date, borrowers previously unable to establish efficient payment methods due to lack of banking or credit services, were able to use the PaySwag platform to conduct more than 14,000 unique transactions—yielding $4.22 million in recouped debt. “We’ve really turned the corner on how collections work. We’ve managed to get people excited about paying their bills, meeting their obligations or making payment arrangements when they get in trouble,” said founder and CEO of PaySwag, Max Haynes.

NEED POS? CLICK HERE for a free POS QUOTE | Autumn ‘17 | 13

Making Mobile & Social Loyalty Programs

Really Work For You

by Travis Priest, Vice President of Loyalty at Mercury Welcome to the era of “mobile and social first.” In this new world order, everyone is scrambling to push out a mobile product or a social solution. In fact, “mobile” is so hot today you can often put the word in front of traditional product categories and create entire new industries: mobile payment, mobile ordering, mobile marketing – to name only a few. And “social” is being connected to everything from entertainment to major purchases to everyday household needs. But does it all make good business sense? If you’re a small to mid-size business owner, where do you put your resources to ensure you take advantage of the benefits of mobile and social without getting caught up in the hype? One place you should definitely take a hard look at is loyalty marketing. Loyalty marketing has been enjoying a revolution of sorts, due in large part to the fact that mobile and social technologies are evolving at a breakneck pace. Smartphones, those ubiquitous mini-computers everyone carries, offer a unique opportunity to completely change the paradigm of customer/merchant interaction. In fact, they already are. A study from Juniper Research shows that mobile coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional ones. Add in social media, which is the preferred method of sharing shopping and brand experiences (55 percent of online shoppers prefer to share their purchases on Facebook), and you’ve got a powerful combination to help grow your business. However, when considering investing in a mobile or social loyalty program for your business there are some key considerations. Your biggest and most important task is to determine if the solution is nothing more than a mobile or social face on a traditional application or if it actually drives a shift in consumer convenience and behavior, the latter of which will drive higher profits for your business. Unfortunately, there are plenty of solutions that are nothing more than a mobile or social interface on an otherwise unchanged product. For example, in the mobile payment space, there are dozens of applications | Autumn ‘17 | 14

that allow consumers to store their credit card numbers in their mobile phone then present the phone as a surrogate for a credit card at the point of sale. Nothing about the checkout process has changed by these apps other than the form factor of the credit card. There are a few noteworthy applications, however, that change the checkout process entirely. Take TabbedOut for example: while consumers do store their credit card numbers within the application, the app completely alters the method of checking out by allowing the consumer to close their check and complete payment without any interaction from the wait staff. Compared to a mobile app that simply allows consumers to present their credit card number at the point of sale via an onscreen QR code or NFC transmission, interesting apps like TabbedOut have the potential to drive significant value for your business. The same is true for loyalty programs. It’s entirely possible to “mobile-enable” a traditional card-based loyalty program by allowing your customers to store their card numbers on their phones and enabling the collection of mobile numbers on sign-up forms for outbound SMS text marketing campaigns. However, compare that method to a mobile loyalty program that is designed from the ground up to leverage the two-way communication capabilities of a mobile phone to completely change the way consumers participate and interact with your loyalty program. In many cases, these “mobile first” loyalty programs offer increased consumer experience and easier in-store operations, driving higher consumer participation and engagement than traditional programs. In a similar fashion, it’s possible to “social-enable” any loyalty program by simply adding a Facebook “Like” or Twitter “Share” button to email communications, web sites, and mobile applications. These buttons make it convenient for consumers to share your program with their friends if they are so inclined and remember to do so. Try comparing these techniques to a loyalty program that is also a social application (i.e., Zynga’s Farmville game is not just a page, but an application in which players interact): consumers connect with your business


by granting permissions to the social loyalty application. These permissions grant the social loyalty app the ability to collect information from the consumer’s social media account and permit that app to post on their behalf for all their friends and followers to see. Suddenly, your loyalty program can go socially viral through automatic check-in and sharing features that happen independently even when your customers forget – but always with their permission. The difference between these two approaches couldn’t be more dramatic in their effectiveness. A good mobile/social loyalty program should offer consumers increased choice, convenience, and control while still being easy to operate. In addition, it should prove its worth to your business through clear and concise ROI metric reporting. In creating MercuryLoyalty, we made ease-of-use a top priority – for both merchants and their customers – without sacrificing data collection and analysis sophistication. Because our solution is integrated into a merchant’s POS system, we enable our customers to collect customer data in several buckets including contact info, demographic, purchase history, promotional response, and social usage/response. Couple this intelligence with digital marketing, and you can create highly effective customized promotions. You can tag offers as they go out and track each individually as they come back in, allowing you to “close the loop” on your marketing campaigns and measure your spending against generated results. It is not unusual for a digital marketing promotion, such as an SMS text message broadcast, to generate $5 or more in return for every $1 spent on the campaign.


About the Author: Travis Priest is Vice President of Loyalty at Mercury where he leads the company’s strategy and execution in this space via its new MercuryLoyalty solution. Travis joined Mercury earlier this year when Mercury acquired Sundrop Mobile, the company Travis created and ran. A world-class technology visionary with a proven track record of delivering market and shareholder value, Travis pioneered mobile and social loyalty marketing at Sundrop and continues his innovative work at Mercury. About the Company: Mercury is a trusted innovator in POS-integrated technologies for payment processing, card data security, gift cards and loyalty. Recognized for around-the-clock support and service, Mercury is an award-winning partner to more than 500 POS independent software vendors and 2,500 POS resellers serving thousands of merchants nationwide. Mercury is pioneering the “social POS,” empowering merchants to identify, acquire, and retain customers through unique engagement and closedloop measurement using Mercury’s patent-pending SaaS loyalty platform.

Bottom-line: Demand more from your mobile/social loyalty solution. It should deliver a paradigm shift for you and your customers – it needs to go way beyond a simple mobile interface on a traditional product or social integration that centers on “Like” and “Share.” Look for solutions that leverage and work with your existing technology investments, are easy to use, but sophisticated, and offer closed-loop ROI reporting to prove the program’s value to your business. It takes a little homework, but your customers, and your accountant, will thank you. | Autumn ‘17 | 15


nearly 50 per cent of North American users leave Bluetooth turned on all the time.

There has been a lot of news around beacons and how they will revolutionize the retail space. Visions of Minority Report style targeted advertising are both enticing and frightening to consider. As is so often the case, reality is far less exciting than fiction, yet I’m excited about the possibilities for creating more intelligent proximity networks.

Another major challenge is related to reigning in the temptation for retailers to bombard customers with location-specific ads. Keeping in mind the old adage ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ is good advice to any retailer contemplating a massive ad push based on a customer’s proximity to a beacon.

If Bluetooth beacons are unfamiliar, don’t worry: they are a relatively new technology. Here’s a brief overview of how they work. BLE beacons (short for Bluetooth Low Energy), Bluetooth® Smart beacons or simply “beacons” are small electronic devices that periodically broadcast a radio signal using Bluetooth Low Energy. Smartphones are able to interact with a beacon using a retailer’s app or the phone’s notifications feature.

If you think that beacons are a passing fad, think again. Beacon technology is set to transform the customer experience at the point-of-sale as adoption rates are set to grow exponentially. ABI Research predicts that the BLE beacon market will double this year, and break 400 million shipments by 2021.

If you make handsfree calls in your car then you’re using Bluetooth. If you’re using an app to navigate indoors then you may also be using Bluetooth, with your phone using the beacons like ships use lighthouses. Digital pioneers in the retail sector immediately saw the potential of beacons to add context to their mobile apps, providing customers with in-store navigation reference points and highly geo-targeted offers based on where the customer is at a given time. Inevitably there were some bumps along the way that caused frustration for both customer and retailer. “Without a beacon network a mobile app is simply just a mobile website.” The first challenge was getting customers comfortable with the idea that turning on Bluetooth on their mobile device wasn’t going to kill their phone’s battery. This was a problem with earlier generations of Bluetooth technology, but with the launch of Bluetooth® Smart it is no longer an issue. Stats vary significantly on the percentage of users with active Bluetooth connections but a recent study suggests that | Autumn ‘17 | 16

The billion-dollar question is why do beacons matter? They matter because beacons enable retailers to leverage contextual and proximity awareness, which in turn empowers a retailer to delight and surprise its customers by creating new ways to effectively engage with an increasingly distracted consumer. The following scenarios are designed to help you imagine how you can better serve your customers using this relatively inexpensive technology. A tailored experience Many retailers have developed apps for smartphones. However, awareness and adoption of these apps is on average quite poor. There are many reasons for this, but predominantly, a customer is only going to download an app if they believe it provides them with utility. A report recently commissioned by Forrester showed 60 percent of people had two or fewer retail apps; and only three percent had more than ten retail apps. While 85 percent of time on smartphones is spent in apps, of that time, only five percent is spent in retail apps. A strategically deployed beacon network working in concert

17 with a well-designed mobile app can create a unique customer experience that is only available in the bricks and mortar environment. Savvy customers will soon figure out that a store that has invested in its app and in-store experience is a retailer that is focused on customer service. Beacons can help customers find what they are looking for faster, find associates for one-on-one help and they can even streamline the checkout process. But without a beacon network a mobile app is simply just a mobile website. As customers travel around a store the app can share relevant content about departments, feature sections and offers specific to showroom displays. Target is one retailer that is using Bluetooth beacons to do this well. Target focuses on offering valuable content; for example, providing push notifications with recommendations for potential baby products from BabyCenter – a popular online resource for parents – when customers are in the baby section. Target is considerate about the frequency of push notifications, sending only two notifications for every shopping visit. While Bluetooth beacon technology is only being tested in 50 of its 1792 stores, Target already has 25 million customers using its app weekly. Target introduced beacons in 2015, and app adoption grew by 86 percent during the year. Macy’s is another U.S. retailer that ran a successful campaign to get consumers to download its app using beacon technology. Its 2015 Black Friday ‘Walk in and Win’ campaign began in the run-up to Black Friday by encouraging shoppers to download the app. On Black Friday customers were then alerted to the digital scratch card concept via the app, and the chance to win prizes. It was beacon technology that enabled these push-notifications to be sent to the app while the customer walked throughout the store, driving app usage during this critical shopping period. Rewarding customer loyalty Another scenario to consider is how this technology can be used to better reward customers for their loyalty. Once a retailer’s app is downloaded, it will automatically receive push notifications in any of the retail chain’s locations so long as beacons have been installed in the store and the customer’s phone is turned on. This again allows for tailored promotions. A tech retailer may see that a device has visited the TV section of multiple stores over the course of a month, and send a tailored push notification highlighting TV promotions via the app to the potential customer. By recognizing the frequency of visits, retailers can reward customers for their loyalty via the mobile app by sending extra loyalty points or other ‘thank you’ promotions. For large, multi-location retailers, beacon technology also has the added benefit of providing insight into how customers shop across the brand – such as which stores are visited the most and the duration of the store visit.


Customer engagement All of these possibilities are of course dependent on getting customers to use your app in the first place. And, as I noted earlier, it can be challenging to get your app on your customer’s smartphone, so how can beacons help with that? Our company has developed an innovative solution that we believe holds great potential to increase mobile app penetration and usage rates. Imagine being able to electronically interact with your customers, encouraging them to download your app the moment they walk in your store. We do this by deploying our Fathom™ Hub in the store and connecting it to a digital sign. The Hub can detect the presence of Bluetooth enabled devices. We don’t know who is there but we do know that someone is present and because of that information we can update a digital screen with a call to action to download the store’s app, giving retailers a contextual trigger that operates independently of an app. The same technology can be used to help customers avoid long lineups at checkout. For customers in a hurry, there is nothing more frustrating that getting caught in a long lineup at the till. Retailers have been using various methods to monitor foot traffic around the store for a long time. Fathom Hub technology distributed throughout a retail environment can detect the presence of Bluetooth devices (independent of an app) and if there are large numbers showing up in one area, digital signage could be updated to encourage customers to visit another checkout location. It’s also another tool to empower store managers with data on where foot traffic falls around a store. Patterns that develop over time can assist management to schedule more associates or even redesign the store layout. Final word As the usage of beacons increases in retail stores so too does proof of its ability to transform the point of sale experience. Which example do you see as having the greatest impact for retailers and their customers? -About the Author Guylain Roy-MacHabée is President and CEO of Rx Networks Inc., a mobile positioning technology company. Fathom™, a business unit of Rx Networks, is redefining the beacon and IoT space. The Fathom™ suite of products is a hardware and software system designed to address challenges of managing large-scale beacon deployments. Retailers have shown a keen interest in this emerging technology. | Autumn ‘17 | 17

First, new customers register for a personal QR code, linking a credit card to their encrypted payment account. Merchants can then scan the 2D bar code directly from your smart phone. When you try out a new merchant, you get $5, $10, even $20 to spend when you pay with Level Up. The credits don’t expire, and future visits unlock additional credits. And the best part? You never have to part with your credit card at a restaurant. Sellers benefit too, as they have access to real world analytics that show customer visitation and purchasing patterns, and the credits keep consumers coming back. Take a closer look at this mobile payments and mobile loyalty program.

MOBILE LOYALTY PROGRAMS Make it Easy For Customers to Keep Coming Back While you may have seen a lot of headlines over the past year predicting the demise of the traditional wallet, many consumers wouldn’t mind keeping their billfolds if they could get rid of the many plastic loyalty cards they lug around. And on the other side of the equation, many small and medium sized businesses would love to find ways to get customers to return to their stores, without the headaches of producing loyalty cards, coupons, and other paper-based offers. That said, as more and more customers carry their smart phones everywhere and interact with local businesses through mobile apps, the connection between mobile loyalty programs and mobile payments is emerging. Businesses want a simpler way to forge relationships with customers, while gaining important data about how often they visit and how much they spend. And customers are happy to jettison a wallet full of cards, in favor of a smart phone and a few mobile apps. Mobile Payments Program Level Up Offers Incentives to Customers Another program that’s taking mobile loyalty one step further into the mobile payments arena, Level Up is a startup company backed by Google. With participating merchants in eight major cities (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle), Level Up offers credits based on how much you spend, rewarding those who frequent a business more often. | Autumn ‘17 | 18

Presto: A Tablet that Brings Mobile Loyalty to the Table A third mobile loyalty program reaches consumers using tablet computers on restaurant tables. Based on the premise that these mobile computers can supplement the services of a waiter or waitress, they are designed to increase impulse food and beverage purchases through mobile ordering, offer a secure payment option where dining groups can easily split up checks and add standard tips, and even showcase direct signups for a merchant loyalty program. Deployed by a company called E La Carte, the Presto tablets offer customers easy ways to engage in the restaurant, and lets the owner target customers directly with promotional deals and other offers. Payment credit cards never leave the table, and consumers can provide immediate feedback on their dining experience. With this connection, restaurant managers are also notified immediately when customers are unhappy with their dining experience, giving them time to make things right with the customer before the interaction ends. As you can see, each of these companies presents their mobile loyalty program in a slightly different manner. But each is leveraging technology so that consumers and businesses alike will have the best experience possible.

MOBILE POS HELPS MOOSEJAW BREAK BARRIERS BETWEEN STAFF AND CUSTOMERS Moosejaw, a retailer of winter clothing and outdoor adventure equipment, has introduced a Point of Sale (POS) solution for floor transactions. What’s unique about this approach is its mobility. Staff throughout the Midwest stores, using their mobile Apple iPod, can serve customers instantly through checkout, price checking and inventory management, thus quickening the sale transaction, immediately responding to customer questions, providing information on specials and coupons, and addressing other customer service issues.



consumers will walk into stores with smartphones, so retailers will need to equip salespeople with tools like iPads to be able to compete with all of the information that shoppers have access to on their own.” About CrossView CrossView is a provider of cross-channel commerce solutions and services that enable a smarter, more personalized shopping experience. The software unifies Web, stores, call centers, mobile devices, and other channels on a single, flexible platform. Advanced analytics integrated across the platform deliver intelligence and visibility into buying behaviors across all sales channels.

“With the mobile POS, our associates have the whole enterprise in their pocket as they work with customers,” Eoin Comerford, senior vice president of marketing and technology, Moosejaw said. “Inventory can be checked easily. Payments are taken quickly. Receipts can be printed in store or e-mailed. Service is delivered more efficiently on the store floor and without long lines, ultimately equating to more sales.” Moosejaw brings a quirky sense of humor to its retailing approach, and has amassed a strong customer base. The company is among the first of its size to embrace mobile POS technology, joining well-known and considerably larger brands such as Apple, Old Navy, Nordstrom and Home Depot. The technology behind this solution comes from CrossView, which integrates a Linea Pro magnetic strip reader and barcode scanner into the company’s Cross-Channel Commerce platform. “This is the next logical step in removing barriers between our customers and staff,” Comerford said in a company press release. “Creating that close connection with customers online and in stores is a big part of our brand, and the CrossView Mobile POS plays to that strength.” “Mobile POS will continue to gain momentum,” explained Jason Goldberg, VP of Strategy and Customer Experience at CrossView. “It’s a tremendous growth opportunity for retailers like Moosejaw that are forward-thinking and committed to creating a better customer experience.” “We will see mobile POS platforms shift from basic payment processing to sales assistance tools”, he continued. “Let’s call it ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ interaction between sales and customers. By this time next year, even more | Autumn ‘17 | 19

3 Ways Beacons Can Boost Retail Sales

& Customer Loyalty

By Lisa Cramer, InReality

have become the largest segment of the coupon market influencing sales volume. So how can beacons help? As a customer approaches a certain product or even as they approach a store, the beacon can wake up the mobile app and present a personalized coupon for that specific product or for some in-store promotion. Additionally, if tied to shopping cart technology, a consumer can be presented a coupon when approaching a product in-store which they might have abandoned while shopping online (also creating that omni-channel experience). 2) Enhance Loyalty Programs

Beacons. Last year they dominated the media waves. This year they will start to dominate the store, driving loyalty and sales. Why? As customers enter stores, smartphone in hand, beacons offer a low-cost solution to sending messages or prompts to these mobile devices, giving retailers and brands an irresistible opportunity—the ability to influence consumers and their path to purchase. Beacon Blog imageIn fact, according to Business Insider, beacon-triggered messages could directly influence up to $4.1B of the total U.S. store sales this year, with that figure growing to $44.1B in 2016 (percent of total U.S., store sales). And, with shopping apps increasing more than any other mobile app category at an rate of 174 percent in 2014 (Flurry), the foundation for successful beacon implementations has been laid. So how can you use beacons to increase sales and customer retention this year? Here are 3 ways: 1) Enhance Success of Promotions/Coupons Over the years, coupons have had a tremendous influence on overall sales volumes. In 2013, coupons drove $510B in retail sales. And, while these were coupons of all types, mobile coupons in particular | Autumn ‘17 | 20

Beacons can also help to increase the value of loyalty programs. Through special offers and product insights only available to loyalty members, beacons will enhance the success and stickiness of these programs. And with loyalty, in theory, comes customer retention and even customer advocacy, The jury is still out on how much loyalty programs really affect customer retention, but the more beacons can increase the usage and improve the experience of loyalty programs with brands and retailers, the more likely the customer will stay loyal. 3) Implement Proximity Marketing Proximity marketing refers to the ability to send marketing messages/advertising to consumers based on their location in-store or proximity to a product



or department, made possible through beacons. The more specific a marketing message is to an individual (personalized), the more effective it is. According to JiWire, 57 percent of customers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising. Macy’s is one example of a retailer already using beacons to send personalized deals, recommendations and rewards to customers based on proximity marketing. In 2014 we heard a lot about beacons and their retail potential. But, 2015 appears to be the year beacons began to make an impact in retail. According to Swirl Networks, nearly 75 percent of customers who received beacon-triggered messages said it increased their likelihood of purchasing in store. And in the same study, it was also found that 61 percent of customers who received beacon-triggered messages said they would visit the store more often. The reality is, the use of beacons has already proven to increase both sales and customer retention, and retailers and brands alike will soon start their deployments. Is it time to figure out your approach? About the Author Lisa Cramer is the Vice President Sales and Marketing at InReality - a retail strategy and marketing firm that transforms how consumers experience brands and retailers in store. In over 25-years, Cramer’s proven abilities and passion have earned her significant recognition and awards including, “Top 50 Most Influential People” and “Top 20 Women to Watch” from the Sales Lead Management Association for four years running. Today as part of her role at InReality, Cramer helps clients uncover hidden growth opportunities and pinpoint winning strategies to capture consumer attention while in store.

is pleased to host a growing library of FREE ebooks & white papers. Click here to access >>

For more information on InReality and their services their website is | Autumn ‘17 | 21


by Karen Wong, ACE POS Solutions Ltd. With many large retailers offering loyalty programs, it’s easy to think that there isn’t value for small retailers to develop their own programs. But there are a number of reasons as to why this isn’t true: 1. Lower Cost of Acquisition. Even if you take into account the cost of offering loyalty benefits, with a carefully-designed program, repeat program customers will pay out over time as the cost of their business is much lower to acquire vs. new customers. While it’s expected for direct cost of goods to be carefully tracked, it’s still easy to forget how expensive the indirect costs of business development are — marketing, free shipping, etc. 2. Make Customers Sticky. By rewarding repeat customers for their business, you are making it harder for your competitors to make inroads as there is a cost for your customers to stop buying from you. 3. Store Data. Store Data. Store Data. Many retailers work on razor-thin profit margins. Inventory is the largest asset for retailers. It makes sense for you to have a clear idea of what products your most loyal customers want to buy. The data from loyalty programs often pays for itself if it is utilized to optimize supply and demand in your store. Minimizing stockouts and overstock will reduce how much ongoing inventory you need to carry and ultimately, improve your cashflow. 4. Channel for Direct-Customer Engagement. Loyalty programs are an easy way for retailers to get permission to market to customers. Essentially you are offering program benefits in exchange for authorization to communicate with customers. Remember | Autumn ‘17 | 22

that customer engagement is often a two-way street nowadays. Customers appreciate businesses that also value their opinions. 5. Profiling for Personalization. Loyalty programs are a great way for retailers to collect quality product feedback or actionable service improvements that will improve your customer engagement and save you money in the long-term. Because customers volunteer their profile and demographics details to become a loyalty member, you are able to deliver higher personalization to create a more unique (and hopefully more profitable) engagement. How do I implement a loyalty program? Have I convinced you to implement a loyalty program yet for your small business? If so, there are a few things you can do to make sure your program is cost-effective and successful: Direct integration with your POS. Make sure your Pointof-Sale system is fully integrated with your loyalty program. This will save you administrative time, properly measure the cost-effectiveness of your loyalty program with regards to sales performance and use the insights of your loyalty members to leverage cross-sell/upsell opportunities at checkout. The cost of integration varies but quality retail POS systems will have either a built-in loyalty plan or direct integrations with third-party service providers. Don’t focus exclusively on discounts. You want to rewards shoppers, not encourage your best customers to only buy on discount. While special offers are expected with most loyalty programs, it’s more effective in the long-term to offer a range of benefits such as:


23 • • • •

Special Events: book signings, wine & cheese meet and greets, launch parties Exclusive Access: limited edition new products, members only early access Free Gifts: exclusives for volume purchase, samples from manufacturers Free Services: alternations for purchases, wifi access (e.g. free wifi with data collection from companies such as Purple, etc.)

Don’t constantly hard sell. Shoppers are marketed to in nearly every medium today — from TV to social media. Studies show that consumers, especially Millennials, are jaded from relentless hard selling. Today’s buyers are increasingly looking for retailers that offer discounts or experiences. As the retail expert, Steven Dennis quoted in one of his recent articles for Forbes magazine:

sance or thrifty. Make sure to train your check-out staff to ask if paying shoppers are members, and if they are not, whether they would like to join. Offering a loyalty program without bothering to train staff about program details or by discouraging its usage will only come across as insincere by savvy shoppers in today’s competitive retail environment. This is especially true if you plan to have tiers in your loyalty program. The backlash against Sephora’s famous Beauty Insider program is a prime example of how retailers can lose sight of the purpose of their programs and how to execute them. Loyalty programs are a great way in which to build a following of repeat customers or even influencers over time. Consider the tips above to make sure you are offering a successful program that adds value to your bottom line. Good Luck and Happy Retailing.

“…engage in a discounting fueled race to the bottom or seek to do what is unique, intensely customer relevant and truly remarkable, where price is not the determining factor in the customer’s decision.” Be careful when setting up the terms of your loyalty program. This cannot be stressed enough as it can be costly (financially and in terms of goodwill) to change a loyalty program once it is in place. As companies such as Waitrose in the UK have learned, there is an art to even giving away free coffee or tea. It’s important for retailers to consider everything from: affordability, running costs, how to minimize program abuse, whether the benefits match the values of your target market, whether to have caps or expiry on benefits, etc. Offer a sign-up incentive. An easy way for you to increase engagement and sign-up for your loyalty program is by offering a free gift or a limited time offer with purchase. Offering low profit-margin stock or manufacturer samples is a common practice but remember that program members should feel that they are getting a gift of value, not simply a throw away product. Promote your loyalty program in-store. Merchandising your retail store on a budget includes having displays instore to encourage customers to sign-up for your loyalty program or to showcase your latest reward benefit. If you have the budget, digital signage will make it easier to make updates over time without having to re-print display materials as new benefits or offers are launched. Having in-store displays will also help your staff as it encourages shoppers to ask about joining during check-out.

-About the Author Karen Wong is a retail marketing and innovation consultant, strategist and writer. She has extensive experience growing businesses in Canada and East Asia. She’s currently based in Toronto and is the founder of ACE POS Solutions Ltd which offers full-feature retail point-of-sale solutions used by established retailers worldwide. LinkedIn

QUICK FACTS Loyalty module info:   YEARS IN BUSINESS:

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Training of check-out staff. It doesn’t help a business to offer a loyalty program if the check-out staff give shoppers the impression that those who use them are a | Autumn ‘17 | 23

Customer Loyalty Programs

THAT ACTUALLY ADD VALUE By Nicole Bryan, Sterling Payment Technologies Most merchants do not need to be told what a customer loyalty program is. They seem to be everywhere from frequent flier miles with airlines to the buy-5-get-1-free deals at coffee and yogurt shops. What merchants truly need to know is how valuable implementing a loyalty program is and the different ways in which they can go about starting one. According to the Access Customer Loyalty Statistics, 53% of Americans participate in a loyalty program because of ease of use. This means that merchants have a great chance at getting at least 50 percent of their customer base to sign up for a loyalty program. Customer loyalty programs are a great way to encourage customers to return to a business and potentially attract new business. This not only increases customer loyalty but it increases sales. Beyond increased customer loyalty and increased sales, loyalty programs can provide incredibly valuable data to merchants. Every time a customer engages with a loyalty program or makes a purchase, that data can be tracked through a POS system, which helps to pair demographics with shopping habits. This pairing deepens the insight into what attracts customers to a business. Loyalty programs reward customers for spending money instead of going to competitors and come in a number of forms. The basic structure of loyalty programs can be tailored to meet a merchants’ needs. Here are five different types of loyalty programs commonly implemented: Point System Point systems are a great way to reward customers with a point for every dollar they spend at your business. A merchant has the option of rewarding points for every dollar or for every five dollars, and so on and so forth. American Express utilizes a similar system to provide value to their cardholders. Their points can be used for direct purchases or be transferred for a slew of other rewards | Autumn ‘17 | 24

programs. Point systems also offer zero barriers as they are completely free of charge to implement. There are no commitments for a customer beyond spending their own money to earn points and they are easy to track. Item/ Category Programs 
 Item-based programs are great for a merchant who is looking to promote a particular item, such as a best-seller or an item that is over-stocked. Merchants can offer future discounts or bonus points for purchasing specific items. Take a coffee shop for example – a merchant can offer reward points based on purchasing specific items off of the menu, such as an Americana earning one point or a latte earning two points. Item programs are a great way to push customers towards certain items and increase popularity for them. Tiered System 
 It is difficult for merchants to find the balance between attainable and desirable rewards when trying to set up a loyalty program. A great way to combat that type of issue is by setting up a tiered loyalty system. Merchants can offer small rewards for simply being a part of the system, such as a number of bonus points for signing up for it, and then build up tiers based off of points beyond that. This encourages customers to move further up the loyalty ladder. This helps with the issue of customers forgetting about their points because the time between purchasing and gratifying is much longer than other loyalty programs. This is similar to the point system but ultimately different because it creates longevity. Tiered programs work to create high commitment over a longer period of time because the tiers are usually higher end items. Non-Monetary Programs It is important for a merchant to understand their customers’ values and sense of worth. Creating shared values can have a huge impact on customer loyalty. Many consumers are more loyal to beliefs rather specific companies. Merchants can execute this by giving a percentage of purchases to local or global charities. Another great way of doing this is by offering to give an item for every item



purchased. Non-monetary programs provide value to the customer in ways other than dollars and create a unique way to connect. Buy X-Amount, Get X-Amount Free Most people probably have at least one paper punch card in their wallet or purse at the moment. Most coffee shops, pizza places, yogurt shops, and sandwich spots offer punch cards and encourage consumers to bring them every time a purchase is made. Punch cards are extremely popular with small businesses because they are incredibly low cost and motivate repeat customer visits. While they can be easily faked or staff members can give extra punches to friends and family, they still do bring in repeat business. Merchants can also combat the paper punch cards by creating digital punch cards through certain payment processors. With digital punch cards, customers utilize an app on their smartphone to track and redeem those specific rewards. Marketing the Loyalty Program At the end of the day, a loyalty program is only truly successful when every single piece of the puzzle comes together. A large piece of that puzzle is smart marketing. The first and easiest step towards properly marketing a loyalty program is informing all employees. Merchants need to make sure that every single employee understands and promotes the program. Employees are at the front end of a business and they are the cheapest and most reliable way to explain the benefits of a loyalty program. The better trained they are, the more customers will sign up to earn rewards. Another easy marketing tool is setting up a referral system in conjunction with a loyalty program. This encourages customers to spread the word to their friends, family, and social channels. It is also relatively cheap to pay for advertisement through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. These increase visibility and help foster social media engagement. Displaying signs through the store will help inform customers to ask questions about loyalty programs or encourage them further to sign up. By implementing a reward program, merchants can drive customer loyalty and further increase the value for their customers. Returning customers are easier and cheaper to market to than new customers. -About the Author

Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.

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Mobile Loyalty and Cross Merchant Apps: An Interview with the CEO of Perka Mobile loyalty for the small to medium business (SMB) certainly seems to be coming of age. After a few years of numerous companies floundering, as they tried to implement apps, a few programs are starting to look like they have the legs to go the next mile, but the niche is hardly well established. The only national loyalty program that everyone knows about and actually uses is the Starbucks program, and that is specific to a brand -not something a small merchant can participate in and ride their coattails. Mobile loyalty company Perka was recently acquired by First Data - a twenty four thousand person company serving over six million merchants. I spoke with Perka CEO Alan Chung about the acquisition and what it meant for Perka’s ability to compete and grow, and also sought his thoughts on the mobile loyalty space.

Click here to read the interview

Loyalty Network For Retailers Has 11,500 Customer Facing iPads and Growing Moki announced that Belly, the country’s largest customer loyalty network and marketing solution, has selected Moki’s Total Control to manage, secure and analyze 11,500 Customer Facing iPads that power Belly’s loyalty program in over 10,000 businesses worldwide. With Moki’s Total Control, Belly can deliver its loyalty program without the complexities of mobile device management (MDM), which is a huge benefit especially as Belly continues to roll-out thousands of merchant locations. Additionally, Belly can make device, content and app changes without training merchants or adding the responsibilities of device administration tasks.

Click to read more | Autumn ‘17 | 31

How You Can Benefit From Using a POS Consultant Working with a Point-of-Sale Specialist who can visit your store, train your staff and install the equipment can simplify the entire process of computerization. A local POS specialist can coordinate the many tiny technical details that are involved with integrating equipment, software, payment processing - and also setting up your receipts, your menu screens and other items. The average dealership staff has decades of POS experience - bring that talent into your business by requesting a free demonstration or consultation from these local experts - and please be sure to let them know you found them on Thank you. Alabama Trigger Technology Systems DCR Profit Control Systems Alaska Harbortouch of AK Arizona RedFynn Technologies AACS Restaurant POS Harbortouch of AZ Arkansas California LC Business Systems West Coast Business Equipment Custom Technology Inc POS Partners Harbortouch of CA CRS Solutions POS Highway Practical Business Solutions Southern Oregon Business Equipment Colorado DenverPOS POS Partners Connecticut Positive POS Harbortouch of CT Delaware BossTab Florida Tampa Bay POS QuickTouch For Retailers RedFynn Technologies POS Partners Meridian Star Trigger Technology Systems Harbortouch of FL AMS-Micros of Jacksonville Practical Business Solutions Georgia Priority1 POS

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The Loyalty Issue: Point-of-Sale Magazine  

Loyalty and Rewards program tips and tricks from Point-of-Sale industry experts

The Loyalty Issue: Point-of-Sale Magazine  

Loyalty and Rewards program tips and tricks from Point-of-Sale industry experts