ChannelLife NZ - Point of Sale Opportunities

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Point of Sale Opportunities

* MYOB


With a major upgrade to Point-Of-Sale systems due to take place throughout the country, leading supplier of retail and hospitality solutions, MYOB, is working to ensure local businesses are ready to make the change.

In 2008, new network and software standards will be introduced, requiring businesses to update their current EFTPOS systems.

These compliance changes, which take effect on 1 January 2008, involve enhancements to terminal software or equipment that is currently EMV/3DES capable, and a complete upgrade to select terminals that are not. The changes will affect thousands of New Zealand businesses, whether they own their own terminal or rent from a local supplier.

Working alongside their third-party suppliers, MYOB is ensuring the update will not compromise the connectivity New Zealand businesses enjoy between their front of house and back-office solutions.

MYOB’s retail product, RetailManager, provides a complete ‘one-stop’ solution to allow businesses to manage their POS, payroll, and accounting needs all in one solution.

“RetailManager is Australasia’s largest selling POS system, designed to help retailers maximise sales results and profitability,” says Ric Horsfall, MYOB customer relations manager. “The solution makes it easy to keep in constant touch with what customers want, what’s selling best, what’s in stock  and what to stock up on.”

MYOB RetailHospitality is a touch screen POS interface that works in conjunction with RetailManager, providing efficient sales processing – including Fast Cash options – as well as table management and order transfer features.

Both products have been specifically designed to meet the needs of the New Zealand market, and are backed by MYOB’s expert support and ongoing product enhancement programme.

Horsfall says MYOB works closely with the industry to identify the kinds of products and services businesses need to operate successfully.

“We’ve been quick to respond to the EFTPOS changes because our focus is on ensuring our customers are always on top of the latest compliance requirements. These enhancements also present new MYOB customers with the opportunity to implement the most up-to-date Point-Of-Sale system on the market.”

MYOB’s nationwide network of approved partners includes a large number of consultants specialising in helping retail and hospitality businesses select and implement the ideal POS system.

For more information on these products, contact MYOB, or order them now through your Ingram Micro Network.


* Ontempo

Ontempo has specialised in POS software for well over a decade, first with its Management 2000 system and now with Ontempo Store.

Director Frank Tocker says his company has invested heavily in being the first to market with the new wave of POS that is beyond Windows.

“So far the response suggests this has been a wise investment. We now want to make it really work with an active channel process to maximise uptake by the retail community,” he says.

Ontempo Store is a frontline POS system and Tocker says it’s the only .Net POS available.

“If a customer is making a ten year Microsoft POS decision we believe this has to be it.”

With the introduction of SAP and Microsoft ERP to the market, Tocker notes that POS had become large and unwieldy with a very high cost of ownership.

However he says POS Ontempo Store is designed to avoid most of the issues that apply with traditional Windows POS – speed of operation, time to build/rebuild and interface to back office systems.”

With Ontempo Store resellers can return to the retail virtues of low cost and good ownership, says Tocker.

“A retailer invests in space and getting feet on the floor. Ontempo Store makes it easy for them to sell products supplied by more than one business as part of the same transaction.”

“In the past two years multichannel businesses have been growing 15% faster than pure play and last Christmas saw an online sales jump by 40% in the US and Europe – our customers have indicated they want a fully integrated multichannel operation and that’s what we provide.”

Although Ontempo already has some very good partners the company is looking to add to its base.

“We’re attempting to simplify what we do and provide excellent support for our software. We need partners that can supply hardware, MS infrastructure, generic software skills and possibly integration and development skills against MS Dynamics, SAP and Oracle ERPs.”


* Provenco

When it comes to POS Provenco is virtually a one-stop shop for retail technology.

Its systems are used by manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, postal, courier and other logistics-oriented companies to record data and track and manage inventories through the supply chain.

Andre van Duiven, Provenco general manager for payments and technology, says the company has a strong foundation in payment and EFTPOS solutions as well as specialist focus on particular market segments.

“I guess the main point of difference is that Provenco isn’t just a hardware supplier, it also has an amazing team of developers to work on software applications. They pull together all the technology and customise solutions to best suit the customer’s need,” he says.

Van Duiven says Provenco has a broad range of purpose-built POS terminals and registers that suit a wide variety of retail applications – produce markets, bars, general retail and grocery markets – and has a solution for everyone.

“Our range covers low cost entry-level terminals up to imbedded PC touch screen systems. The industry is increasingly looking for ways in which technology can further enhance efficiencies and add value to their business and the customer experience.”

Key products include bar code laser scanners, portable data terminals, weighing systems and RF LANs (Radio Frequency Local Area Networks).

Due to advances in telecommunications and continuing development of mobile computing, Van Duiven says the market will continue to expand as customers move their systems from LAN to WAN.

For Provenco and its partners this brings new customers, new applications and upgrades for current customers.

Aesthetics are important for any product now days and Van Duiven says Provenco is now supplying its traditional POS registers in black to give them the right appearance on any counter.

On the EFTPOS side of things Provenco has recently released SyncroPlus, an EFTPOS application that integrates with a POS system.

“Retail-wise, we have some great products that can integrate with POS systems and provide an entire retail technology solution.”

Provenco is currently expanding its product range to provide customers with supply chain solutions. For example a handheld computer in a truck connected on-line through to the computer system


* QUICKEN

Small to medium business distributor Quicken plays a strong hand in the POS market with the QuickPOS software product.

Catie Parker, Quicken product manager, estimates that of the 300,000 SMEs in New Zealand around, 20,000 could specifically benefit from QuickPOS.

“As with all our products we offer a free software trial for QuickPOS. For every trial we send the customer details in a referral to a local POS trainer who can help demonstrate the software to the customer and answer any questions they may have over the installation,” she says.

QuickPOS is an integrated solution for managing operations in stores and across the business and can be customised for specific business requirements.

Parker says QuickPOS includes a terminal and administration licence and while Quicken doesn’t sell hardware, the solution can be used with existing PCs and peripherals.

“If the sale is through one of our trainers they can source a complete software and hardware solution for the client. We actively work with a network of over 400 professional services group partners - including 160 key accredited trainer – throughout New Zealand and provide training to ensure they are empowered to know if QuickPOS is the best solution for their customers.”


* Vantex

PC-POS can be as simple as it sounds.  It can be a clone PC, cash drawer, receipt printer and barcode scanner. This approach is fine for a one-off “corner dairy” install where version control and consistency of hardware platform isn’t required. However if that same store wishes to add a second lane, or open a second and third store, then version control of the PC platform comes into play. Within the consumer PC market it’s not unheard of for a new revision of the given model PC to come through twice within a 12 month period. This presents a challenge within a multi-lane/store environment where you have BIOS/Chip Set issues with regards to drivers and comm ports, how they interact with an EFTPOS machine, receipt printer, scale and more.

The “POS-PC” has been available for many years now to tier one and two retailers from vendors such as IBM, Wincor, NCR and Fujitsu. A POS PC has things such as powered RS232 Ports and USB ports.  The rationale for this is that you may have up to seven devices at the POS, with a cluster of seven power supplies under the counter.  Port power allows for a single power supply for the PC which in turn powers peripherals - whether they be 5Volt, 9Volt, 12Volt or 24 Volt. Take something as simple as deciding how the cash drawer is fired. Traditionally the cash drawer is either plugged into a “Cash Drawer Kick” which runs from an RS232 port (another device) or from the receipt printer while a POS PC has two cash firing circuits built in. Additionally, onboard diagnostic software allows the operator or remote head office to interrogate the PC – and more importantly all of the peripherals plugged into it - test the cutter and test the drawer. Usually  a technician is called to a site only to find that a control code had been changed to cut a receipt. Being able to test the cutter external to the application allows for fault diagnosis without the expense of a site visit. This functionality is now available to the channel from vendors that are offering tier one and two functionality at virtually clone PC prices.

IBM & DigiPos feature prominently in this regard and version control is key. “POS-PCs” can have a locked down version control of Chip Sets and BIOS for up to seven years, more commonly two to three.


The advantage is twofold;

 1. The retailer is safe in the knowledge that if they swap lanes from store to store, or within the store, their software and systems will work.2. The reseller doesn’t have to burn time in getting drivers and devices to work on two, three or four different versions of the same model clone PC. For example, the IBM SurePOS 300 offers total functionality and a year’s onsite warranty for a similar price to that of a mainstream brand PC.  What this means to the reseller/integrator is that they’re able to add value as the end user is receiving a “retail hardened” POS PC, with all of the extra features purpose-built for its task. If the reseller then adds additional support contracts based around software and networking  it eliminates the risk of a “drive by” PC reseller trying to simply undercut on same spec clone PCs.


Services

One approach is for a POS integrator to partner with the end user retail client, in many cases becoming part of the retailers’ IT support infrastructure.  When it comes to refreshing hardware, the integrator should bring two or three brands/technologies to the table, all of which have pros and cons. Standing arm-in-arm with the retailer,  and walking them through the selection process, the integrator is adding value by providing consultation on the hardware platform. If a comprehensive onsite warranty mechanism is also offered, along with cabling and network expertise, the margin blend allows for an uplift in margins rather than simply selling a box.

Alternatively, a reseller may research and choose to align itself to a specific POS software package that addresses a certain POS vertical, for example fashion, where the size/colour/style functionality requirement is quite unique. Once expert in this area the selling of the solution becomes primary, rather than just being a hardware provider or integrator.   This approach also allows for margin blend, where a reseller can charge thin margins for the hardware but hold all the margin in the software (or vice versa). Where the market has traditionally seen companies address certain verticals -  hospitality, fashion, liquor, fuel, convenience, general merchandise -  increasingly Vantex  is seeing a second brand of software added to the reseller’s  suite to increase the total addressable market. For example a hospitality reseller with very good market penetration could easily expand into general merchandise.

The Y2K mass technology refresh affected P.O.S. hardware like all other IT market segments. Seven years on, retailers from 1000+ lanes to the corner video store have hardware platforms that are nearing the end of their working life, or are increasingly expensive to maintain.

The retail technology sector is awash with opportunity for system integrators and resellers alike. Vantex is a retail technology distribution specialist. It has 40 of the largest brands addressing all facets of the retail scene. Additionally its value-added staging services extends to software loading, gold disking, systems configuration, software burn-in and final acceptance testing all on behalf of the reseller. Its staging facility can stage one to 100 lanes at a time, giving the reseller confidence with regard to accurate replication for multi lane/store installs. The company has extensive “mini trade” show facilities in its showrooms in Auckland and Christchurch. Resellers are encouraged to bring end user retailers in for a technology update and lean on Vantex’s expert sales advice.

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