Our Product Pick
TSC Auto ID Technology America (Pomona, CA) has unwrapped its new direct-thermal desktop label printer, the DA200 Series. It offers four-inch print width, choice of 203 dpi or 300 dpi, and print speeds of up to 5 inches/127 mm per second. With 128-MB Flash and 64-MB RAM for easy storage of fonts, international character sets, and graphics, the DA200 supports emulations from Line Mode, Eltron, and Zebra. For ease-of-use there's double-wall clamshell design, spring-loaded label roll holder (with 5" roll O.D.), and top-of-form sensing by gap, black mark, or notch. USB is standard, with optional Ethernet, Serial RS-232, USB Host, Bluetooth, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. As target markets, the company lists product marking, point-of-sale, business parcel shipping, event ticketing, and small-office administration.
Quetzal Flies With POS SuperStore
Another strategic reseller in the U.S. for Quetzal POS: the POS SuperStore (Sarasota, FL). With its cloud and iPad-based system, Quetzal POS targets apparel retailers, particularly the shoe segment, in the SMB. As part of this agreement, POS SuperStore will resell all supporting hardware, including Apple Airport Extreme, Star Micronics, Epson America, Zebra Technologies, Socket Mobile, and Heckler. Founded in 2012, and based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Quetzal POS utilizes IBM Cloudant Database Services.
"We are absolutely thrilled about this relationship and excited to offer Quetzal," proclaimed Aaron McClone, Director of Technology at POS SuperStore. "Our clients expect us to represent the best POS solutions, and we believe Quetzal is no exception." Since its beginnings in 2013, POS SuperStore has moved quickly to represent the emerging leaders in tablet-based POS. A child of the web, it touts its decision-making product-selection engine.
"POS SuperStore represents an innovative web-based method for retail merchants to purchase solutions in POS," testified John Perring, Senior Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances at Quetzal POS. Earlier, in June, Quetzal turned to the payments sector by naming North American Bankcard (Troy, MI) as its Master Reseller for the U.S. In addition, it distributes through one of the major players in traditional POS, BlueStar (Hebron, KY).
IBM Cloud and iPad-Based POS for Apparel by Quetzal
An Open Tab for TabbedOut
TabbedOut (Austin, TX), one of the viable players in mobile payments for hospitality, via customer smartphone, has secured $21.5 million in Series C funding led by Wellington Management Company, with participation from previous investors NEA and Morgan Creek Capital Management. The company has raised $39 million to date. In our world, it has partnered with Aloha, Digital Dining, Dinerware, Focus POS, Future POS, Harbortouch, Jumpware, and Micros.
"With tens of thousands of tabs processed each month we can provide an unprecedented view into consumer baskets, which can be challenging for beverage companies," declared Alex Broeker, CEO at TabbedOut. "We've built a valuable service for customers and a powerful platform for providing actionable insights into consumer behavior and brand engagement. I believe the ROI inherent in our merchant and brand programs will soon be so obvious that we will quickly see big data decision-making trickling down to the hospitality industry."
According to the announcement, TabbedOut will apply these funds to accelerate end-user acquisition, integration with other mobile consumer services, and expansion into twenty new metro markets in the U.S. Currently installed in more than 10,000 venues, TabbedOut's credit card partnerships include Citibank and supporting brands include Anheuser-Busch, Dos Equis, and Heineken. "They have successfully partnered with businesses that represent the full spectrum of the hospitality ecosystem, driving value for all parties involved," confirmed Rick Yang, Partner at NEA.
More Funding for Leader in Mobile Payments for Hospitality
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HP Counts to 10
HP (Palo Alto, CA) has previewed its first commercial tablet with Windows 10, the HP Pro Tablet 608, as well as its HP Pro Tablet Mobile Retail Solution. Thin and light at just 0.32 inches/8.35 mm and under 1 lb., the HP Pro Tablet 608 has 8" multi-touch display with Corning Gorilla Glass (high resolution of 2048x1536/wide aspect ratio of 4:3), two- and eight-megapixel cameras, eight hours of battery life, and USB-C. It's powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 CPU with Intel HD Graphics with up to 4-GB of RAM and 128-GB of eMMc Storage.
Available in the fall, the HP Pro Tablet Mobile Retail Solution will offer an industry-grade case that combines with the new Pro Tablet 608 to accommodate the range of third-party mobile payment terminals for MSR, EMV, NFC, and Mobile Wallets. To address the needs of businesses with limited resources in IT, HP also has enhanced its HP Touchpoint Manager. A new edition allows central deployment and management of designated mobile applications, as well as the previous troubleshooting of devices.
"True business mobility will dramatically transform workflows to make us more efficient, connected, and productive," shared Michael Park, VP and GM, Commercial Mobility and Software, Business Personal Systems, for HP. "We are continuing to expand on our purpose-built mobility solutions to help our customers change how business is done." HP Pro Tablet 608 G1 will ship next month with Windows 8.1 Pro and MSRP of $479.
HP Pro Tablet 608 With Windows 10
Olea Puts "C" in Micro Market
Olea Kiosks (Cerritos, CA) has unveiled two new kiosks for the "micro market." The first, "California," has dimensions of 51 in. (H) x 20 in. (W) x 26 in. (D), while the second, "Carolina," has dimensions of 29 in. (H) x 23 in. (W) x 16 in. (D). Both are constructed of sixteen-gauge galvanized steel with power coat paint finish, and carry security locks, high-volume cooling fans, and internal six outlet power strip with surge protection. A three-week lead time for orders was cited, with no minimum purchase quantity and customization of color and graphics.
As features, these new kiosks have 19" wide-angle touchscreen, credit card reader, cash dispenser, barcode scanner, and stereo speakers. Both may be serviced from the front, making them suitable for against-the-wall deployments. As communications, they may be accessed via landline, Wi-Fi, or cellular. An interesting group of regulatory compliance environments has been addressed: ADA, HIPAA, PCI, and EMV.
"Kiosks in the micro market space tend to be repurposed designs that are not fit for this environment," explained Frank Olea, CEO of Olea Kiosks. "In addition, many kiosks in this space are proprietary designs that are not available to other developers. We've just changed all that." Of significance, the micro market--unmanned retail, essentially--doubles in size each year, according to figures tracked by Olea.
Olea's New "Carolina" and "California" Kiosks
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Playing Tag With Powa and Moneris
Moneris Solutions Corporation (Toronto) has become the preferred provider of the PowaTag in Canada. Developed by Powa Technologies, with offices in the U.K. and U.S., PowaTag brings mobile payments to consumers via QR Codes. They may appear on printed material such as posters, catalogs, and product packaging, or for online vehicles such as e-mails, websites, or social media. When the PowaTag is triggered, the consumer is presented with an easy, "frictionless" path to making the purchase. (To use the buzzword of the hour.)
Available for both iOS and Android, with Windows Phone in Q3, PowaTag can be easily integrated with merchants' existing e-commerce and in-store POS, according to Powa. As expected, it furnishes location-based analytics into consumer purchasing decisions. It also enables instant donations to charities. "We created PowaTag with the mission to transform the way people interact with their favorite brands every day," shared Dan Wagner, Founder and CEO of Powa Technologies. "This partnership is a fantastic endorsement of our vision to change the retail landscape."
"Technologies like PowaTag deliver a streamlined route to buying that is in high demand from today's consumers," relayed Rob Cameron, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Moneris. "Businesses need to leverage the ubiquity of mobile devices in order to convert as many customer touch points as possible into sales. Turning every point of contact into a point-of-sale is a very powerful solution for merchants. It fundamentally changes the way in which they can interact with customers, gain sales, and drive awareness." In the U.S., and our channel, Powa has put much effort into its PowaPOS Terminal and SDKs.
PowaTag for Mobile Commerce
Full Monty Labels From FlexStr8
A so-called smart label system, incorporating NFC, has been debuted by FlexStr8, Inc. (El Segundo, CA). In addition to producing full-color labels with text and graphics, such encoding, printing, and incorporation of NFC allows end-users to access further information from the cloud by simply tapping their smartphones. This system employs the ColorWorks TM-C3500 color label printer from Epson America (Long Beach, CA), along with snap-on encoder, label software, and label stock (all with NFC) from FlexStr8.
Since the Epson TM-C3500 has pigment, not dye-based, ink, labels are waterproof, smudge-proof, and fade resistant, noted FlexStr8. In addition, the FlexStr8 labels have an inkjet-receptive, high-gloss surface. An internal NFC chip from NXP, Model NTAG203, has been paired with an NFC antenna maximized for read consistency and tag detection, added FlexStr8.
FlexStr8 labels support an extensive range of NDEF and Non-NDEF record types (that's "NFC Data Exchange Format"). Included in the category of NDEF--URL, vCard, phone number, and SMS. Intended for manufacturing, chemical, healthcare, retail, and events, the FlexStr8 NFC ties into BarTender by Seagull Scientific (Bellevue, WA), one of the most popular label and barcode printing software packages. Ralph Roessler serves as President of FlexStr8.
On-Demand Smart Labels With NFC
UniteU (Pittsford, NY) has released UMO Sales Assistant, its entry-level mobile engagement platform. A small sister to UMO Mobile POS, which runs on iPad or iPad Mini with barcode reader/MSR sled, UMO Sales Assistant extends enterprise-wide inventory visibility, the so-called "endless aisle." It allows store associates to add more value by deeply engaging with customers, without need of the additional hardware. Accessible information includes shopper buying history, rich product content, and smarter product cross-sell recommendations. If products are out-of-stock at any location, sales personnel may order them as ship-to items, and manually enter credit card information on the iPad or iPad Mini. Overall, UMO Sales Assistant results in significant increases to average order values, in-store conversion rates, and revenue, according to its developer. "One of UniteU's clients, a large cycling store chain, has been using the sales-assistive features of UMO to improve their ability to close large, high-dollar sales," divulged Soumen Das, Founder and CEO of UniteU. "The app gives personnel fast, intuitive access to value-added information, including detailed product specs, inventory visibility throughout any of their stores, and rich content such as images and video, in order to help sell items that are not in-stock at their current location."
UMO Sales Assistant by UniteU
NOTES FROM THE FIELD
Aptos Fits Aptly
Aptos, Inc. (Montreal), formerly Epicor Retail Solutions, has officially launched as an independent company and new brand, following its spin-off from Epicor Software Company. Stating its mission to provide omni-channel, end-to-end retail solutions, it will be led by Noel Goggin, former EVP and GM of Epicor Retail Solutions, as CEO. Currently, Aptos has 122,000 stores live on its platform, and more than 100 websites. A stand-alone cloud-based POS is highly regarded.
"There has never been a more exciting time to be in the retail industry," observed Goggin. "There's an incredible urgency for transformation and innovation, and Aptos is uniquely positioned to help retailers succeed in today's fast-paced global retailing environment. Personalized, seamless customer experiences are the ultimate proof of a retailer's ability to do everything else right, and a singular commerce platform is the only real way to make that happen."
"We are confident that the company can deliver even more customer value going forward as a focused, independent entity," volunteered Jason Wright of private equity firm, Apax Partners, which focuses on technology and retail. Wright serves on the Board of Directors for both Epicor Software Corporation and Aptos. Apax acquired Epicor in 2011 and merged it with Activant; last year it put both on the block, but found no takers.
Noel Goggin, CEO of Aptos, Formerly Epicor Retail Solutions
AvaTax Season for SuitePOS
SuiteRetail (Kemblesville, PA), which supplies its SuitePOS for retailers on NetSuite, has been certified for the sales tax automation solution from Avalara (Bainbridge Island, WA). Avalara's SaaS-based solution, called AvaTax, ties to accounting packages, e-commerce shopping carts, enterprise resource planning (ERP), mobile payment platforms, and POS. In the latter category, in addition to SuiteRetail, appear companies such as Aptos, Celerant, Core Sense, Futura, Island Pacific, and Microsoft Dynamics RMS.
"Sales tax compliance at the point-of-sale is a daunting challenge for retailers and countless resources are used to manage the varying rules in each region," elaborated Jeff Schneider, Co-Founder of SuiteRetail. "Our integration with Avalara assures that the sales tax for point-of-sale transactions are calculated correctly, which takes a huge burden off the shoulders of our customers." If needed, this may include VAT.
"This partnership allows Avalara to provide its comprehensive solutions to retailers on SuiteRetail's POS for NetSuite in a fast, easy, and cost-effective way," enthused Pascal Van Dooren, Chief Revenue Officer at Avalara. "In today's electronic world it just doesn't make sense to manually manage sales tax. We're pleased to welcome SuiteRetail into our community."
Pascal Van Dooren, Chief Revenue Officer, Avalara
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Six Guys (Counting PAR)
PAR Technology Corporation (New Hartford, NY) will deploy its software and hardware suite of POS for Five Guys, the popular burger-and-fries restaurant chain. It includes PAR's Brink POS Software, PAR EverServ 7700 POS Terminals, and PAR Mobile Tablet 10's, along with software delivery and maintenance services. Since 1986, Five Guys has grown to 1,200 locations in North America.
Steve Teller, Project Manager at Five Guys, was part of the team leading an evaluation process to select the new point-of-sale solution for the entire brand, which included the formation of its Franchisee POS Task Force. "PAR's total solution offering and their excellent reputation made them a clear choice for the Five Guys brand," recounted Teller. "Their solution is a game-changer in our industry, and we have a true technology partner in PAR."
"The partnership with Five Guys adds to our rapidly growing presence in the fast casual space--one of the quickest-growing segments in the restaurant industry. And the selection of our Brink POS Software by Five Guys is confirmation that PAR is leading the way with hosted/SaaS POS," remarked Karen Sammon, President of ParTech, Inc. In its reporting for Q1, PAR announced "strategic realignment of its hospitality business," which is "expected to increase efficiencies and reduce operating costs." No further details were disclosed to RRN.Com.
EverServ 7700 POS Terminal by PAR
A Workout for Mi9
Mi9 Retail (Miami, FL) will furnish its merchandising, business intelligence, and store operations software--Mi9 Merchant, Mi9 BI, and Mi9 Store--for 24 Hour Fitness. Based in California, 24 Hour Fitness serves over four million members in 450 clubs across the U.S. Unparalleled views of the business will be delivered by replacing its legacy system, according to the two parties, spanning such areas as merchandise categories, club locations, members, logistics, and finance and accounting.
Built on Microsoft's .NET and SQL Server, Mi9's capability includes POS. It will record every transaction at the detail level, making it easy to track understocks, overstocks, and out-of-stocks, as well as to provide extremely accurate margin calculations, according to Mi9. In addition, it will show item profitability at a granular level by location and day, and automatically correct any missing, duplicate, erroneous, or suspicious data or transactions.
"Thanks to the ease of implementation, advanced architecture, and superior functionality, Mi9 Retail will be able to support the needs of our growing retail business in clubs and other new opportunities for expanding e-commerce," indicated Andrew Dottermusch, Senior Director for Retail at 24 Hour Fitness. "Mi9 Retail will streamline and automate our inventory, allocation and replenishment activities--eliminating manual, spreadsheet-intensive processes and allowing our teams to access its wealth of data all in one place." Neil Moses serves as President of Mi9, which has strategic relationships with DigiPOS, Elavon, Shift4, and Verifone.
24 Hour Fitness Adopts Retail Suite From Mi9
Get ready for "real-time retail." According to new research from Boston Retail Partners, by 2020 nearly two-thirds of retailers will identify customers as soon as they walk in the store carrying their smartphone. In "BRP Special Report: Real-Time Retail--The New Retail Imperative," Boston Retail Partners defines its subject as "the ability to deliver an holistic experience to consumers whenever, wherever, or however they choose to shop by gathering, analyzing, and disseminating customer, product, pricing, and inventory data across all channels--in real-time." Accompanying "customer context" draws in geographic and environmental considerations. Some interesting results from the research: 76% of respondents plan to provide suggested selling based on the customer's previous purchases within three years; 83% of respondents plan to offer promotions based on the customer's geographic proximity within five years; 91% of respondents plan to have real-time inventory available at the POS within three years; and 95% of respondents plan to implement real-time analytics within five years. "It's promising to see that nearly 50% of the retailers indicated that real-time retail was one of their top three priorities," postulated Ken Morris, Principal at Boston Retail Partners.
Behind Cayan's Curtain
Cayan (Boston, MA) has enlisted Damian Tanenbaum as its SVP of Operations. With more than two decades of experience in the payments space, Tanenbaum recently served for six years as SVP of Operations for Pivotal Payments. Prior to that, he held leadership positions at Fifth Third Processing Solutions, Heartland Payment Systems, and First Data Corporation.
"At Cayan, Damian will oversee the charge to make Cayan known industry-wide for our excellence in merchant experience, starting with a number of initiatives both in the U.S. and overseas," reads the posting on the company's website. "He will play an integral role in guiding the team through the tremendous growth phase we are experiencing." Of interest to VARs and ISVs, in particular, Cayan supplies its Genius Customer Engagement Platform for handling all forms of electronic payment--MSR, EMV, NFC, and Mobile Wallets.
Damian Tanenbaum, SVP of Operations, Cayan
It's Showtime at Square
Square (San Francisco, CA) has drafted business leader, philanthropist, and basketball hall of famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson for its Board of Directors. Johnson is currently the Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, which focuses on commercial development in urban areas. He also is Chairman and Founder of the charitable Magic Johnson Foundation. "I am ready to get to work as a member of Square's Board of Directors so that any business, in any community, can compete and win," said Johnson.
"I have the deepest admiration for Earvin as a tireless champion for creating economic opportunity in underserved communities," commented Jack Dorsey, Square's CEO. "As a successful entrepreneur and advocate of economic inclusion, Earvin's unique perspective will be invaluable to our community of sellers and our Board. We are honored to have him."
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Joins Square's Board of Directors
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