Stay on top of tech

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Photo: iStock

Asian Trader finds out the latest developments in technology that will help independent retailers keep on top of their business.

Technology is a part of modern retailing, whether it is EPOS, ordering stock online, promoting your store on social media or spying on your competition.

Independents cannot afford to ignore technology, especially given the multiples’ rising use of technology to improve efficiency.

Retailers want to know what the key technology is and what developments lie ahead for the sector over the next year.

Independents are interested to learn about any new tech being developed that will help retailers better run their businesses.

“Over the past year we have seen some really exciting developments for both the consumer and the retailer, especially with the proliferation of mobile payment solutions and devices, which has made it easier than ever for shoppers to make quick and efficient transactions in store,” comments Dave Morris, Director of IT, Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG).

“Some great moves have also been made around personalisation and app-based loyalty over the past 12 months, all of which come with valuable insights from customer data which helps retailers to drive better offers, personalisation and footfall.”

There has been a rapid spike in the take-up of contactless payments over the past 12 months.

Driven by replacement legacy PEDs, but mostly by retailers’ need to offer contactless, quick and efficient payment methods, contactless payment is now the default, with over 75% of retailers utilising this technology in the c-store sector to improve shopper experience and queuing times.

The sheer simplicity in adopting electronic payment methods has been a major positive over the past 12 months. No longer are complex integrations required and the ability to optimise new payment methods has been delivered efficiently for retailers.

“In the future we will see instant payments and payment transfers replacing the wallet and debit cards,” adds Morris. “We are already seeing this with the introduction of technological advances such as finger print payment.”

“Self-service is everywhere and we’re seeing a growing number of our high footfall, small basket retailers trying out the new technology,” Morris enthuses. “The benefits of introducing self-service tills for retailers are that it improves efficiency at checkout, reduces queues, improves customer experience, frees up retailer time to invest in store operations and reduces wage overheads, compared to manned tills.”

One retailer who actively embraces new technologies is Arnaud Leudjou, Retail Manager, Brunel University. The store was the first university to trial FingoPay, a technology that allows shoppers to pay by simply scanning their finger and Arnaud and his team have been keen to find additional technologies that best benefit their shoppers.

Identifying that sales were being lost where customers were unwilling to queue, Arnaud worked with CSG’s IT team to explore ways to reduce queue waiting times and introduced four of the latest self-checkout systems. Since installing the self-serve tills, peak time queuing has been reduced and overall shopping experience has improved. The store has seen a 22% increase in transactions and a 12% increase in sales.

The next generation of ‘payment rings’, where smartphone devices will generate payments when walking through exit gates at stores, using NFC technology, is already happening. The customer will not even have to get their smartphone out of their pocket.

“Although new technology is being developed all the time, it is all about finding those technologies which make tangible differences to our retailers’ businesses,” comments Morris.

One of our most popular investments has been in our ActivHUB portal and ActivMOB app, which ensure our retailers have everything they need at their fingertips including access to product, promotion, ordering and invoice information.

Last year CSG rolled out the latest ActivOC upgrade, the go-to platform for retailers to search for products and submit orders online.

This year the group is introducing ActivCPOS, which enables retailers to manage their instore processes and sync real time orders to ActivOC, so they can make faster and better decisions.

Built around retailers

MHouse Solutions’ MPOS technology is built around a retailer, not a computer user.

With a simple to use till and powerful admin tools, MPOS reduces labour by downloading products, price changes, invoices and promotions, by allowing one click order generation and one click invoice downloads.

MPOS can easily shave off 10 hours of work per store.

The system emails store performance to the user/store operator with real actionable data once a week rather than statistics heavy reports that overwhelm the user.

With increased control on stock, all stock deliveries are downloaded and all stock adjustments are emailed to the owner; no stock is unaccounted for.

There is excellent support and training programmes and an easy to use hand held terminal to control the store from the shop floor.

MPOS can be integrated with credit card terminals, Zapper, the cigarette gantry, loyalty schemes and more.

PayPoint marks milestone

PayPoint recently announced that over 13,000 retailers use PayPoint One.

Three quarters of the company’s independent retail partners have now upgraded from the yellow terminals.

PayPoint One helps retailers run their business more efficiently by providing the full benefit of advanced cloud-based EPoS technology, contactless card payments and PayPoint services, such as bill payments and Collect+.

Feedback on the platform has been positive, with retailers seeing better margins and efficiencies in the management of their businesses.

Ken Singh, of Mill Hill Store in Pontrefact, concluded that thanks to PayPoint One, his store saw: sales up and blended margin increased by 20%, his time freed up by 50% to focus on other tasks and a refinement of the restocking process to increase sales.

Lewis Alcraft, Chief Commercial Officer for PayPoint, commented: “We are thrilled to reach this milestone. Feedback on PayPoint One has been extremely positive and it’s great to see new retail partners joining our network. We launched the platform to help convenience retailers serve their communities better and we will continue to upgrade to help future-proof their businesses.”

The platform comes without any upfront cost but rather a small weekly service fee, tailored to the level of EPoS sophistication needed. Find out more at www.paypoint.one.