Our Product Pick
Mercury (Durango, CO) has announced general availability of its StoreCard. Merchants can brand this reloadable stored-value platform for accepting customer payments and offering gift, rewards, and promotions, while cardholders can utilize their smart-phone to access details of their account and pay for their purchases digitally via QR Code. According to Mercury, pricing is targeted at the SMB. To join, existing MercuryGift merchants may enroll in Mercury StoreCard without any additional software integrations to their POS. Merchants not processing payments with Mercury may enroll in Mercury StoreCard separately, or with bundled pricing. "Our hope is the cards will be given out as gifts and recipients will start using them as their primary payment card at merchants' stores," remarked Travis Priest, VP of Value-Added Services for Mercury.
Heading into the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) Show in Orlando, Epson America (Long Beach, CA) has advanced on several fronts. First, the company has unwrapped new products, including the Mobilink P20 for two-inch receipts. Measuring 3.1 in. (W) x 4.7 in. (H) x 1.7 in. (D), and weighing 0.5 lbs., Mobilink P20 features four inch/second (100 mm/second) print speed, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0+EDR, NFC, 6 ft. drop rating, and IP-54 certification. In addition, Epson America has outfitted two more printers for Mobile POS, the low-cost TM-T20II and under-the-counter TM-T70II, both now supporting iOS, Android, and Windows. "It's imperative that today's peripherals work seamlessly with mobile devices right out of the box," remarked Gregg Brunnick, Director of Marketing for the Business Systems Division at Epson America.
Epson also has extended its efforts in customized marketing via receipts. Here, it offers its OmniLink TM-T88V-i smart printer configured for SmartReceipt, the platform acquired last year by Mobivity Holdings Corp. (Chandler, AZ). After testing and certification, this OmniLink/SmartReceipt solution is now ready for the channel, according to the two parties. "Innovation of this solution is that QSRs can bring mobile printing and cloud-based marketing solutions to their point-of-sale by replacing the printer," enthused Tom Kettell, Senior Manager of North American Sales for the Business Systems Division at Epson America. "Using the receipt for more than just a proof of purchase provides real value."
As always, Epson also has new customers to announce. In team with Digital Dining (Springfield, VA), it has added Eataly, the massive food and restaurant emporium in both New York and Chicago. With 5,000 transactions daily, each location has installed dozens of Epson TM-T88V receipt printers and TM-U220 kitchen printers, as well as Epson Mobilink MPOS, to run with Digital Dining. "At the end of the day, customers are served at multiple points of service, with varying degrees of complexity--seamlessly," testified Andre Nataf, Senior Business Development Manager for Digital Dining. Wildly popular, Eataly expects to open one new location every year for the next six years in cities like Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
Epson and Digital Dining Satisfy Eataly
Extra Credit for Genius
Also just in time for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) Show in Orlando, Merchant Warehouse (Boston) has beefed up its Genius Customer Engagement Platform. These new enhancements, including signature on-demand, line item display, and on-screen advertising, bring big-box retail functionality to the POS for SMB, according to MW. Genius, as many RRN.Com readers know, accepts any payment type, discount, or loyalty program through one payment terminal--including EMV Chip-and-PIN, required in the U.S. by 2015.
With line item display, businesses can provide this critical information--required by many states--directly on the payment device during scanning, rather than requiring pole display or customer-facing secondary screen. Similarly, with the new splash-screen advertising capabilities, businesses engage customers with branded images, offers, and loyalty messages during payment. On-demand signature accommodates settings such as pharmacies and rental counters, which often require such records. Finally, options for tip, cash back, and discounts have been added to the platform, well supported by POS ISVs.
"Taken together, these updates push Genius forward as the leading solution for businesses looking to offer more value to their customers in the form of convenience, loyalty, and money-saving opportunities," suggested Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse. "Genius also gives businesses more ways than ever to market to their customers and get the word out about who they are and what they do, building loyalty over time." Elsewhere, Merchant Warehouse has furthered its overall cross-channel effort with four introductions: hosted e-commerce solutions for online storefronts, mobile extension capabilities, consolidated account dashboard, and multi-location tokenization across brick-and-mortar and web shopping.
Merchant Warehouse Adds New Features to Genius Customer Engagement Platform
Worth Your While
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Living Color for RuggedJet 3
Brother Mobile Solutions (Broomfield, CO) has debuted two new models for its three-inch, mobile, direct-thermal printer, RuggedJet 3. The RJ-3050 and RJ-3150 both carry dual wireless connectivity via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth V2.0+EDR, as well as USB. Additional benefits include iOS, Android, and Windows capability, 32-MB RAM/32-MB Flash, and ZPL II and CPCL emulations for easy drop-in replacement.
Significantly, the RJ-3150 delivers full-color graphical LCD display. An intuitive menu, with easily recognizable icons for navigation, serves to simplify printing of receipts, tags, and labels at widths of one to three inches. At 4.5 in. (W) x 7.9 in. (H) x 3.2 in. (D), RJ-3050 and RJ-3150 have print speed of five inch/second (127 mm/second) at 203 dpi, with 6 ft. drop test and IP-54 certification. In addition, the company extends its two-year "bumper-to-bumper" warranty.
"We believe the new RuggedJet 3 mobile printer will be a leading choice for retailers because it's so simple to use, yet speaks to the complex pain points retail IT decision makers have expressed," expounded Ravi Panjwani, VP of Marketing and Product Management for Brother Mobile Solutions. "We're particularly proud to be the first to offer the large color graphical LCD display--an enhancement that really helps shorten the learning curve and improve the end-user experience." Brother Mobile will demonstrate these new printers at the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) Show in Orlando.
New RJ-3050 and RJ-3150 by Brother Mobile
Aloft on SMB's WiNG
Motorola Solutions (Schaumburg, IL) has directly targeted the SMB with the latest version of its WLAN, called WiNG Express. Boasting "virtually no IT support" with an easy-to-use GUI, and "competitive pricing model," WiNG Express enables one access point (AP) to manage an entire network, eliminating the need for controller appliance while simplifying deployment and cutting costs, according to the vendor. Up to two dozen additional APs automatically discover each other, connect, and receive the customer's network profile.
A WiNG Express portfolio consists of two dual radio 802.11a/c APs (AP 7502E and AP 7522E) and four 802.11n APs (AP 6511E, AP 6521E, AP 6522E, and AP 6562E). All carry built-in tools to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot, along with analytics capability to drill down performance for the last thirty minutes, two hours, or full day. Overall, the network runs distributed intelligence to increase resilience without any performance bottlenecks or single points of failure.
"Motorola Solutions' WiNG Express gives users all the benefits of high-performance wireless connectivity at a cost that small and mid-size businesses can afford," emphasized Imran Akbar, VP and GM, Enterprise Networks & Communications, Motorola Solutions. "Ease of deployment and scalability allows customers to grow their network as their business grows, all while maintaining best-in-class operational efficiency and delivering outstanding customer service." WiNG Express is backed by Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Services, which help keep the system running at peak performance.
AP 7502E Access Point by Motorola Solutions, Measuring 3.5 x 3.7 Inch Square
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Sticky Stuff at Bixolon
MAXStick Products Ltd. (Lancaster, PA) now supports the SPP-R200II mobile point-of-service printer from Bixolon America (Torrance, CA). Bixolon's SPP-R200II may now be used with the paper converter's liner-free, direct-thermal, removable-adhesive stock (MAXStick Premium, 2GO, Colors, Plus, X2, and X2 Colors). In all, MAXStick has two dozen printer vendors in its fold, including the newly released LLP-1800 from Martel Instruments.
"Our certified MAXStick SPP-R200II direct thermal printer provides a better mobility solution for multiple applications such as door-to-door delivery, take-out labeling, and data coding using MAXStick media, as well as many mobile receipt applications utilizing standard direct thermal paper--all in one 'dual-purpose' unit," elaborated Heidi Martin, Director of Sales for Bixolon America, who noted 100,000 units in the field. In addition to hospitality, removable labels address warehousing, retail, libraries, parking, reusable plastic containers, and medical diagnostics, according to the two parties.
Bixolon's SPP-R200II features "one-touch" open cover that allows easy paper loading. It's compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows and furnishes WLAN and Bluetooth. An optional magnetic-stripe reader is available for the two-inch printer. For its part, MAXStick is an environmentally friendly labeling solution that's recyclable and free of silicon and BPA.
Bixolon SPP-R200II Mobile Printer
IBM Borrows the Keys
IBM has partnered with Townsend Security (Olympia, WA) to bring the Alliance Key Manager to the IBM Cloud. This allows customers to administer their encryption keys with the same National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FIPS 140-2 compliant scheme featured in the hardware security module (HSM). Most significantly, it also enables companies to meet compliance requirements such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), according to the two parties.
Available at no extra charge, Townsend Security includes ready-to-use, pre-approved content delivery (such as SQL Server and Drupal), software development kits (SDKs), and sample code (such as Java, C#, and IBM i). Alliance Key Manager was launched in October, 2013, to help customers better control their destiny when inevitably transferring their data to the cloud. As RRN.Com readers may know, IBM Cloud provides access to more than 100 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, IBM's Bluemix Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and the SoftLayer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
"Beyond improving security, enterprises are realizing the benefits of encryption and key management by increasing business efficiency, reducing operational costs, and demonstrating compliance," observed Patrick Townsend, CEO of Townsend Security. "We are pleased to expand our relationship with IBM and demonstrate our commitment to their customers' data security by bringing Alliance Key Manager to IBM Cloud." With so much happening in data security, readers of RRN.Com are well-advised to track some of the websites dedicated to that subject.
Townsend Security's Alliance Key Manager Offered for IBM Cloud
WAND Corporation (Eden Prairie, MN) has released two new features for its digital menu board software to allow end-users to better customize in-store marketing and sales efforts: pricing management and content forecasting. Content forecasting provides date and time-specific view of the restaurant's broadcast. By selecting from several drop-down menus, end-users verify content for display at the restaurant, market, or enterprise-wide level, whether an entire robust marketing campaign or simple change to daily pricing. With the second new feature, pricing management, prices at the site level are highlighted when they differ from management's directives, with the system accessed by an easy-to-navigate overview screen. "How to simultaneously manage multiple restaurants is a question faced by quick-service and fast-casual brands and their franchisees every day," relayed Dave Perrill, President of WAND Corporation, which recently signed an exclusive master service agreement with Bojangles'. "Our digital menu board software, WAND Digital, strives to give users at every level the exact information they need."
WAND Menu Boards
A Gyft From First Data
Yes, the payment processors have money to burn, as well as an understanding of future market direction. In only the most recent demonstration, First Data (Atlanta) has snapped up Gyft, Inc. (Redwood City, CA), one of the preeminent platforms for digital gift cards. Launched in 2012, Gyft has more than two-hundred recognized retailers as customers for its dedicated mobile wallet. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed (not that it matters all that much in this area).
Accessible by website, and delivered as free app on iPhone and Android, Gyft brings an "active and loyal user base of demographic groups such as millennials, who increasingly expect highly personalized customer experience," according to the two parties. In addition, it extends these new tools to small business owners who have adopted First Data's tablet-based Clover Station; along such lines, Gyft will be added to the Clover App Marketplace. First Data estimates that electronic gift card sales grew 71% from 2012 to 2013.
"Gyft, with its mobile gifting platform, and First Data, with its global scale and distribution network, together will accelerate the growth of virtual prepaid with powerful new tools for merchants of all sizes to deepen their relationships with their customers," proposed Guy Chiarello, President of First Data. "This means that the same robust toolset deployed by big-box retailers will be coming soon to small-to-midsized businesses, perfectly synched with our mission to offer innovative solutions to help our clients grow." In his remarks, Vinny Lingham, Co-Founder and CEO of Gyft, specifically noted integration with POS.
First Data Snaps Up Digital Gift Card Provider
[Editor's Note: Along such lines, another payment processor, Heartland Payment Systems (Princeton, NJ), has purchased TouchNet Information Systems (Lenexa, KS). This brings over 600 higher education customers serving over six million students--nearly one-third of such enrollment in the U.S.--to Heartland's Campus Solutions. "TouchNet will enable us to offer an end-to-end integrated commerce and payments solution that's unmatched in the industry," projected Robert Carr, Chairman/CEO at Heartland Payment Systems.]
Crimson in Canada
Another name change, as VARs and ISVs scramble to reflect industry realities. Now Millenium Retail Solutions (Richmond Hill, ON, Canada) has recast itself as Crimson Transaction Technologies, or Crimson TT. In addition to the rebranding of the company name, Crimson TT has re-titled its product line, which was previously known as "In The Black" (ITB), to the new family of solutions, "Scoria." Significantly, the term "Transaction Driven" has been added as part of this new corporate identity.
"Our organization will strongly benefit from this new image," asserted Angelo Kalpakis," Co-Director and CTO of Crimson TT. "Millenium has traditionally been an industry leader in point-of-sale solutions since 1998 and the Crimson TT name will continue that tradition and go beyond. This new name change and tagline better reflects the current and future direction of the company."
Gerry Metzger, Sales and Marketing Manager, pointed out that "We address much more than the retail market. While our Y2K--Millenium-- effort has been exhausted, our true strength is in understanding all forms of customer interaction, such as sales data, information flow, and payment processing." A member of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), Crimson TT sells through VARs.
Millenium Retail Solutions Rebrands as Crimson Transaction Technologies
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Ruefully at Epicor
Epicor Software Corporation (Austin, TX) will deploy its ware for specialty apparel retailer, Rue21. Leveraging Epicor Retail Store, this brand will seek to unify the customer experience across e-commerce and brick-and-mortar locations for simplified, streamlined operations, including returns management, as well as enhanced checkout speed and service at the POS. At present, Rue21 sells through more than 1,000 stores across forty-seven states in the U.S., while targeting the young and hip market.
"Promotion and productivity gains are big wins for us here," emphasized Mike Holland, SVP and CIO at Rue21. "From an IT perspective, we needed a POS solution and operating system that could scale to meet the needs of new markets and our plans to grow to 1,700 stores, as well as manage multiple configurations and meet new and emerging compliance mandates. As part of our overhaul, we'll be leveraging Windows Embedded POSReady 7, which will simplify both management and deployment."
"Point-of-sale is one of the most mission-critical retail solutions and is at the heart of enhancing the customer's shopping experience, increasing productivity, and driving sales," confirmed Noel Goggin, EVP and GM for Epicor Retail. "For today's multichannel retailers, having a POS that can interact seamlessly with other mission-critical systems, stores, and sales channels is key to putting the right information in the hands of store associates and creating an inspiring customer experience that contributes to greater loyalty." In addition to POS, Epicor has enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM).
Epicor Retail Store Tapped by Apparel Brand Rue21
VAR Fills The Cupboard
Leading VAR Retail Control Systems has rolled out NCR CounterPoint for The Cupboard in its hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. Opened in 1972, The Cupboard focuses on kitchen and home merchandise, with 10,000 square feet and twenty employees. Its new system includes touchscreen, two-second payment processing, loss prevention tools, advanced reporting, and marketing and staffing solutions, fueled by NCR CounterPoint.
"NCR CounterPoint met all of our current and future needs in a point-of-sale system," reported Jim Hewitt, Co-Owner of The Cupboard. "It is intuitive and allows us to expand into e-commerce and bridal registry, and enhance our customer connections. We chose RCS because of the advanced service they offer and their ability to provide local support."
"We are very satisfied with the end result for The Cupboard," affirmed Casey Albert, Regional Account Manager for RCS in Colorado. "RCS was able to take them from a completely manual system to NCR CounterPoint, which provides them with an unmatched point-of-sale system that will enhance their business and ease of efficiency." RCS also has offices in Enfield, New Hampshire.
NCR CounterPoint for Kitchen Specialty Retailer
Revenue from supply chain management (SCM) software is on track to reach $10 billion in 2014, up slightly more than 12% from 2013, according to Gartner, Inc. This would be the highest annual growth rate since 2011. Of supply chain professionals, 43% surveyed indicated that, to deal with rising levels of integration complexity, they were strongly committed to one underlying technology platform that will improve the visibility of internal processes and enable more effective communication and collaboration with suppliers and buyers. And this trend will only grow, according to Gartner. Through 2018, it estimates that nearly 70% of businesses will pursue single platform, underlying architecture, in order to integrate disparate systems. Overall, the SCM software market is nearing the point at which two-thirds of its revenue will derive from existing implementations. In terms of new spending in 2013, along such lines, only 16% of SCM investments were by companies adopting this software for the first time. Gartner expects this figure to fall to less than 10% by 2018, and that the vast majority of so-called "new" spending will come from organizations that already have SCM and are buying add-on functionality. Companies that adopt SCM software still prefer hosted or on-premise applications, interestingly. This is largely because Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) SCM has not reached functional parity, according to Gartner. "The market for supply chain technologies is buoyant," summarized Chad Eschinger, Gartner VP of Research.
Now there's LevelUp for Android Wear. It turns your smart-watch into your payment device, according to the Boston-based ISV. Tapping on the smart-watch screen armed with this Android App, or saying "O.K. Google, start LevelUp," will display the merchant's LevelUp QR Code. After scanning, and setting the tip, there's push notification of the receipt. Supported are the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live, and Moto 360. Welcome to the 21st Century, Buck Rodgers.
A New Way to Pay?
Wonder Pill for NCR Retail
NCR Corporation (Duluth, GA) has appointed its new President for the Retail Solutions Division, Michael Bayer, who also holds the title of SVP. Before NCR, Bayer served as President of Global Growth Markets for Avaya. Much of his experience concerns the EMEA, with posts as Avaya's EMEA President, Motorola's VP of EMEA, and Symbol Technology's VP of North, Central, and Eastern Europe. Boy, these ex-Symbol employees get around.
"As we continue our reinvention, I am confident that Michael's leadership will enhance customer engagement and innovation, drive software-related revenue growth, and capture the significant opportunities across our Retail Solutions Division," exclaimed Bill Nuti, Chairman/CEO of NCR. "Our retail business is very different today than it was just a few years ago. We are well-positioned with high-value, omni-channel solutions and services that retailers need now and in the future."
"NCR's commitment to innovation and its world-class portfolio of solutions for retailers of all types, sizes, and geographies is unique in today's marketplace," volunteered Bayer. "I look forward to leading the talented NCR Retail team, and helping our retail clients increase loyalty with their customers and earn a greater share of wallet by providing highly personalized omni-channel shopping experiences."
Michael Bayer, SVP and President, Retail Solutions Division, NCR
Stratix Still Hiring
Industry veteran Brian Bukowski has joined Stratix (Norcross, GA) as SVP of Sales. For the past year, Bukowski served as VP of the Portable Printer Business Unit at Datamax-O'Neil. Most of his career was spent with Motorola Solutions, rising to VP of North America Enterprise Sales, and leading 200 associates in the area of mobile, wireless network, software, and services, with revenue of $1 billion. Prior to its acquisition by Motorola Solutions, he worked for many years as Sales Director at--guess what--Symbol Technologies.
"Brian is well-known here at Stratix and throughout the industry," indicated Gina Gallo, CEO of Stratix. "He is customer focused and a passionate leader who delivers results. Given his industry and customer knowledge, I anticipate Brian will contribute immediately toward our strategy and growth objectives for 2014." At Symbol and Motorola, naturally, he partnered many times with Stratix.
"Stratix has consistently executed in delivering large, complex managed mobile services for some of the world's most recognized brands," recounted Bukowski. "I'm thrilled to be a part of the Stratix team and to lead the continued expansion of our MMS offerings across the global markets." A month ago, Stratix added Brian Viscount as VP of Portfolio Management and Marco Nielsen as VP of Managed Mobility Services. Viscount was Senior Director, North American Vertical Markets for Motorola Solutions, while Nielsen was VP of Services for Enterprise Mobile, which eventually became part of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility.
Brian Bukowski, SVP of Sales, Stratix
A Walk in the Park
Park City Group (Salt Lake City, UT), which offers its trading platform for retailers and suppliers, has enlisted Frederic Van Roie as its Director of Sales and Business Development. Most recently, Van Roie served as Executive Account Manager for Trace One, focused on supply chain management, strategic sourcing, and product lifecycles. Earlier, he worked in similar vein as Business Development Manager, North America, for Agentrics. All three firms, not surprisingly, deliver as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
"Frederic is a twenty-five-year veteran of the retail, consumer packaged goods, and foodservice industries with expertise in marketing and merchandising strategies at several premier retailers, including Costco, BJ's, Home Depot, Whole Foods, D'Agostino's, Walmart, and Safeway," commented Randall Fields, Chairman/CEO of Park City Group. "His hands-on and strategic experience in retailing and manufacturing in both food and non-food is a great addition to our team."
"I'm delighted to join a team of industry experts who are providing concrete business solutions to the retail industry while leveraging proven technology," shared Van Roie. "Park City Group is delivering value to all trading partners by providing suppliers and retailers with effective technology and best practices guidance." Its products include Scan Based Trading, Vendor Managed Inventory, Store Level Replenishment, ReposiTrak, and Enterprise Supply Chain Planning Suite.
Frederic Van Roie, Director of Sales and Business Development, Park City Group
Cloud Watch at PAR
PAR Technology Corporation (New Hartford, NY), parent company of ParTech, has named Paul Eurek to its Board of Directors. As RRN.Com readers may recall, Eurek was Founder and CEO at Compris Technologies, one of the most popular restaurant POS packages, now the wholly owned subsidiary of NCR Corporation. Additional roles have included Founder/CEO at Xpanxion and Co-Founder and CEO of Hi-Tech Partners Group.
"We are excited for Paul to join our Board," stated Ronald Casciano, PAR's CEO/President and Board Member. "Paul is a true entrepreneur who founded two successful companies focused on hospitality software, and then sold these organizations to large technology companies. His deep understanding of hospitality technology, cloud-based systems, and implementation experience provides an unique perspective to advise on our go-forward strategies of transitioning our hospitality businesses to the cloud, expanding our customer base, and leveraging our infrastructure while preserving our legacy businesses."
Paul Eurek, Former CEO of Compris, Joins PAR's Board of Directors
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