TECHNOLOGY

Visa, Walmart chip away at EMV transaction times for faster checkout

BY CSA STAFF

A leading payment card issuer and the world’s largest discount retailer are both launching efforts to reduce how long customers have to wait to check out with EMV-compliant payment cards.

Visa Inc. is rolling out a technology enhancement designed to optimize EMV chip card processing and speed up checkout times. The new solution, called Quick Chip for EMV, streamlines the processing of chip card transactions to enable customers to dip and remove their EMV chip card from the terminal, typically in two seconds or less, without waiting for the transaction to be finalized.

The specification requires a software update to the retailer’s card terminal or POS system. It is available free-of-charge to payment processors, acquiring banks, and other payment networks to offer to retailers.

Quick Chip-enhanced terminals can also allow the payment card to be inserted and removed while the shopping cart is still being rung up, further streamlining the acceptance process for the consumer. Once installed, the technology will work with all cardholder verification methods, including signature and PIN, and does not require the retailer to make any changes to its routing or transaction handling.

No additional Visa or EMVCo testing is required if a retailer’s checkout system has already been certified as EMV chip-compliant. No changes to chip cards are needed.

“Visa is advancing a streamlined approach to chip transactions to make them faster and more efficient, while still providing a safe and secure experience,” said Mark Nelsen, senior VP of risk products and business intelligence, Visa Inc. “Quick Chip for EMV helps make the checkout experience comparable to the ease and speed of magnetic stripe transactions.”

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart has taken 11 seconds off the time it takes to execute an EMV-compliant chip card transaction. The retailer has streamlined the process with movies such as eliminating a prompt that previously required customers to enter the transaction amount.

Business research firm Field Agent recently conducted an audit of 100 chip processing systems at leading retailers including Walmart. It also undertook a survey of 300 consumers who use chip cards. In the survey, only 37% of the respondents reported a preference for EMV cards over the swiping variety; 63% said they would rather swipe a card than insert a chip card.

Uneven adoption among retailers (some have the technology, others do not) and slower processing times compared to the traditional swipe-and-sign system were cited by respondents as the top complaint regarding chip-enabled cards. The survey found that it takes shoppers, on average, 16 seconds to run chip cards.

Visa and Walmart are taking actions that should make it easier for retailers to accept EMV-compliant payments without slowing down transaction times. This will make EMV payments more universal and also increase customer satisfaction, creating a “virtuous cycle” that will help bring U.S. retail in line with the rest of the developed world when it comes to in-store card payments.

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TECHNOLOGY

Supervalu names innovation head as part of executive shuffle

BY CSA STAFF

Supervalu is adding a veteran wholesale executive to a new C-level position and also enacting several other changes to its senior leadership team.

James Weidenheimer, 57, has been named to the newly-created position of executive VP, corporate development and chief innovation officer, reporting to Supervalu president and CEO Mark Gross. Weidenheimer joins the company after having spent the last 16 years in senior leadership positions with C&S Wholesale Grocers. He is expected to start in his new role by April 25, 2016.

In this position, Weidenheimer will work closely with Supervalu’s wholesale and retail teams in areas including new business development, cross-channel merchandising and promotions, and integration of logistical/delivery solutions for key Supervalu customers. Previously, he served as senior VP of corporate development for C&S Wholesale Grocers from 2008 until he retired from that position in January 2016. Prior to C&S, Weidenheimer served as VP and CFO for the wholesale division of Richfood Holdings

“I’m thrilled that Jim will be joining Supervalu and serving on our executive leadership team,” said Gross. “We believe there are significant opportunities to grow our business with existing customers and also to add new ones and Jim will be an excellent addition to help us achieve these goals.”

Supervalu has also announced additional changes to Gross’s executive leadership team. Bruce Besanko, executive VP and COO, has added the responsibilities of CFO, a position he held from August 2013 to October 2015. Susan Grafton will serve in the position of senior VP, finance, and chief accounting officer, reporting to Besanko.

Furthermore, Supervalu is renaming its independent business segment to wholesale, as wholesale serves as this segment’s primary function, which is to distribute consumable products to retail stores for final sale. Mike Stigers, executive VP, wholesale, will continue to lead this renamed segment and will report directly to Gross.

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TECHNOLOGY

eBay Enterprise merges to become Radial; DSW among first clients

BY CSA STAFF

eBay Enterprise has completed its merger with Innotrac Corp., creating a new, private company called Radial that provides technology and related services for online retailers, including payments, fulfillment, logistics and customer service.

Sterling Partners, the Innovac parent company which purchased eBay Enterprise in November 2015, had previously announced the two companies would be combined.

Footwear retailer DSW is one of the first retailers to deploy technology from the new provider, using it to support all facets of its omnichannel commerce effort.

Using Radial technology, DSW can seamless manage activities such as order management and routing, payment processing, fulfillment, and analytics. Scalable fulfillment and freight services enable orders to be fulfilled faster according to customer need, while optimizing costs. A large store of historical transaction data helps minimize online fraud risk, and omnichannel customer service support is also offered.

“Providing an exceptional customer experience is our top priority, and we are continually innovating to deliver on that," said Brian Seewald, VP, transformation, DSW. “Our commerce experience is fully enabled with Radial’s omnichannel fulfillment technologies including ship-from-store, in-store pickup, ship-to-store and dropship. Radial isn’t just a technology innovator; it is an ecommerce expert that is helping us unlock growth, reduce costs, and deliver what today’s retail customers expect.”

DSW began offering omnichannel customer services in 2011 with the creation of Shoephoria, a proprietary stock locator tool that uses inventory at its fulfillment center to meet store orders. Two years later, DSW added ship-from-store and dropship capabilities. The retailer’s previous deployment of eBay Enterprise in-store-pickup and ship-to-store, and current rollout of the full Radial plarform, represents its continued efforts to stay current with the evolution of seamless customer experience. In-store pickup and ship-from-store for online orders are now becoming table stakes for effective customer service as “omnichannel” retail continues turning into everyday retailing that consumers consider part of the normal shopping experience.

Other retailers utilizing Radial omnichannel technology include GameStop, Shoe Carnival and Destination XL.

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