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Report: It may be time to consider new POS technology

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – For many retailers, it may be time to consider investing in a new POS system. According to a new report from touch-screen POS terminal and peripheral vendor Posiflex Technologies Inc., fingerprint biometric technology provider Digital Persona Inc., and Chain Store Age, “How Do You Know If It’s Time to Upgrade Your POS System?,” rapid advances in omni-channel technology in the past several years have radically changed the nature of POS.

Instead of serving as simple transaction execution devices, POS systems now serve as links to a customer’s loyalty and behavioral history across all channels. In many instances, POS platforms also need to extend to mobile and customer self-service devices, connect to social networks and otherwise extend beyond standard fixed terminals.

Yet many retailers still operate the same POS system they were using five or even 10 years ago, leading to slower transactions and increased risk of fraud and theft, resulting in lost profits.

Upgrading the POS can also speed up customer service through features like omni-channel connectivity, which allows customers to gain quick access to online loyalty accounts, special mobile offers and other “seamless retail” features. This opens up the walls of the store and lets customers take advantage of every channel in which retailers do business at the physical point of sale.

In addition, biometric security technology offers built-in protection against internal theft and fraud at the POS. Fingerprints provide accountability, which is a strong deterrent to employee theft. Requiring a fingerprint login versus a password or card protects against employees granting access to unauthorized personnel, impersonating managers to approve improper overrides, sharing passwords, improperly clocking themselves and coworkers in and out, and otherwise abusing or misusing their access to POS systems and data.

Download the full report here.

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Survey: Executive consumers want easier online ordering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Shelton, Conn. – Executive consumers seek easier ordering when they shop online. According to a survey of 50 high-level executives who attended the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Conference March 4-7 by EDI and e-commerce integrator Logicbroker, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said that ease of ordering is the most important part of the online ordering process.

One-third (33%) said that better communication is the area that e-commerce companies have the most potential to improve.

Other key findings from the survey included:

  • In addition to ease of ordering (72%), the speed in which orders are processed (10%) and the accuracy of orders (10%) were other areas that respondents said were the most important parts of the online ordering process.
  • Thirty percent of respondents said receiving the wrong product is the most frustrating part of the online order process, followed by little to no communication (24%) and slow shipping (24%).
  • While respondents thought better communication (33%) was the top area that could be improved in the online ordering process, the ability to return an item to a brick-and-mortar store (28%) and simpler shipping processes (24%) also registered high as areas for improvement.
  • The majority of respondents (88%) said that Amazon has the best shipping capabilities over Zappos (10%) and EBay (2%) because of its ease of ordering.

“It’s no surprise that consumers want online ordering to be painless,” said Peyman Zamani, CEO of Logicbroker. “The companies that serve these customers spend a great deal of time perfecting the products they offer but often neglect to look at the ordering process. Unfortunately, it only takes one negative experience to lose a customer and a late or delayed package, a lack of communication or a clunky ordering process could cause a customer to purchase goods from another company.”

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Simon joins digital VC game

BY CSA STAFF

With technology continuing to reshape the store experience, global retail real estate leader Simon Property Group is upping its digital game with the creation of a new venture capital group.

The company, which owns or has an interest in 325 retail properties encompassing 243 million square feet, has created Simon Ventures Group for the purpose of investing in retail innovation focused on opportunities that enhance the shopping experience.

Leading the undertaking will be J. Skyler Fernandes who will be responsible for identifying, evaluating, and making investments. Fernandes was previously a partner at Centripetal Capital Partners, a multi-stage venture capital fund, where he concentrated on consumer Internet, retail, and high-tech with commercial applications. He is also the founder of One Match Ventures, a seed fund focused on consumer Internet and high-tech companies.

Plans call for Simon Venture Group to invest in early-stage to high-growth technology companies, making seed to series C+ investments and focusing on both direct and indirect strategic investment opportunities.

"We believe we have only scratched the surface on applying technology to the retail environment in innovative, interesting ways,” said Simon Property Group’s chief marketing officer Mikael Thygesen. “We’re excited to add Skyler (Fernandes) to the team and look forward to his active engagement with the venture capital and start-up community to capitalize on opportunities that will yield benefits for our consumers and our retailers.”

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