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Consumer Trends Drive the New POS Model

BY CSA STAFF

By Gregg Brunnick, [email protected]

It’s an exciting time to be in retail technology. Change is happening at lightening speed, and there’s an overwhelming consensus that the consumer sits squarely in the driver’s seat. Never before have we seen consumer behavior dictate IT decisions like we will in 2013 and beyond. There’s an incredible evolution taking hold, and only the most innovative POS technology companies will adapt and thrive.

Smartphones represent half of all cellphones in the U.S., and shoppers are getting savvier with them. Using Smartphones to comparison shop, and make purchases online while in the store, is becoming commonplace. There is also an increased consumer demand for store associates to be armed with devices that enhance the shopping experience by providing immediate access to information such as inventory availability, and enabling faster checkout anywhere in the store. As a result, retailers are looking for POS technologies that allow them to meet today’s more demanding consumer expectations.

More than ever before retailers are investing in technologies that cater to the shopper, wherever, whenever and however they shop. However, retailers face many challenges in delivering on the promise of this new customer-centric model. In many cases, stores and e-commerce sites operate and function in silos, making it difficult to deliver a consistent brand experience and offering no shared visibility into things like inventory, fulfillment, loyalty programs and returns. Adding functionality to inflexible, fixed checkout POS systems can be time consuming and costly. Today’s POS technologies must offer more mobility, better connectivity and greater functionality.

Next-generation POS technologies give retailers access to real-time data and allow them to make decisions that have the greatest impact on the bottom line. Gaining access to information at the transaction level and utilizing cloud-based applications to parse the information and deliver real-time analytics is an exciting new concept. Investing in predictive analytics that create actionable behavior and real-time results can transform stores.

Hardware technologies like smart printers are a prime example of making a commoditized product new and increasingly relevant again. A simple POS receipt printer is now a powerful source for delivering information and personalization at the point-of-service. These devices provide a gateway to cloud applications, enabling transactional data to be parsed and analyzed to provide personalized offers, coupons, loyalty program data, and other revenue-driving content.

Smart printers can also include computing power and memory to drive new, flexible POS configurations in the store, enabling web-based printing, mobile POS checkout, and connectivity to drive a range of peripheral devices without a PC or POS terminal. As such, they provide the ability to support hybrid POS systems comprised of fixed and mobile POS, while driving in-store kiosk displays, web POS, thin client and a host of other applications. Since smart printers are POS-agnostic, retailers can protect legacy investments while adding functionality to virtually any system without changes to their POS application.

Today’s retailers face growing threats from online and mobile shopping, many times within their own store walls. The key advantage brick-and-mortar stores have over e-commerce and showrooming is the ability to provide exceptional, personalized and unique shopping experiences. With the newest smart POS technologies, retailers can exceed customer expectations by offering engaging, relevant, in-store shopping experiences, while at the same time improving the bottom line.

Gregg Brunnick is director of marketing, business systems division, Epson America, which offers next-generation POS technology with intelligent printing and mobility solutions that meet the demand for mobile, smart and connected stores, restaurants, financial institutions, hospitals and more (pos.epson.com). He can be reached at [email protected].


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Coca-Cola Foundation head to retire

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA — Ingrid Saunders Jones, SVP global community connections for the Coca-Cola Company and chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation will retire after 30 years with the company, effective June 1.

A well-respected global leader, Jones joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1982 and has held roles of increasing responsibility around the Company’s corporate giving and community outreach. She has served as Chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation since 1991.

During her three-decade Coca-Cola career, Jones has led the transformation of the Company’s philanthropic outreach, growing a U.S.-focused program into a global campaign, which now includes water stewardship, active healthy living, community recycling and education programs worldwide. Under Jones’ leadership, The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded more than $500 million to thousands of community organizations worldwide.

“Over the past 30 years, I have been grateful to work for a company that commits the talent and time of its employees and its philanthropic dollars to issues and organizations that empower and enhance the lives of others,” said Jones. “I’m proud of the work of the Foundation and believe deeply in the people and communities we’ve served around the world. I am fortunate to have worked with extraordinary leaders, community supporters and caring and committed associates.”

The Coca-Cola Company also announced Lisa Borders will succeed Jones as VP global community connections and chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation, effective May 1. Borders joins Coca-Cola after serving as president of the Grady Health Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Grady Health System – Georgia’s largest public hospital and Atlanta’s premier level I trauma center. As Foundation President, Borders led the Greater Grady capital campaign, a five-year, $325 million effort, and guided the system’s development efforts during the most important period in Grady’s history.

“I am excited to be joining a company that has played such a critical role in my hometown and around the world not only as a driver of economic growth but of social empowerment and philanthropic leadership,” said Borders. “I look forward to leading the work of The Coca-Cola Foundation and continuing its legacy of service to others.”

Borders has extensive experience leading a range of community-focused civic, philanthropic, business and political endeavors. Formerly, she served as president of the Atlanta City Council, vice mayor of Atlanta and co-chair of the transition team for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Her numerous Atlanta initiatives have included increasing the availability of affordable housing, uncovering transportation solutions and promoting neighborhood safety and preservation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and a Master of Science in Health Administration from the University of Colorado in Denver.

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Amazon launches collectibles store

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE — Amazon.com has launched the Entertainment Collectibles Store (amazon.com/entertainmentcollectibles) which offers more than 350,000 unique and rare collectibles, including memorabilia from Academy Award and Grammy winning artists and honorees.

Amazon customers can browse collectibles by item type, entertainment type, autographed, price and year to find everything from classic photographs and original manuscripts to signed artist contracts and autographed movie posters.

“Entertainment Collectibles is an exciting new category offering a vast selection of past and present Movie, Music and TV memorabilia,” said Peter Faricy, VP Amazon Marketplace. “There is something for everyone. Fans will find keepsake items from their favorite artists, actors and icons of entertainment, and aficionados will discover some of the rarest items for their collections. With hundreds of thousands of items, the store has a wide range of memorabilia to delight any entertainment enthusiast.”

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