September 02, 2011

Warehouse Market, Inc. Selects NCR Point-of-Sale Technology

DULUTH, Ga., Aug 29, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- NCRCorporation (NYSE: NCR) today announced that Warehouse Market, Inc. has deployed the NCR RealPOS(TM) 80XRT point-of-sale (POS) terminals and the NCR RealPOS High Performance Bi-Optic Scanner/Scale at 16 locations to improve its point-of-sale operations, making checkout efficient and fast for its customers.

Warehouse Market, Inc. Selects NCR Point-of-Sale Technology

The NCR technology, sold and serviced by NCR channel partner Tulsa Cash Register, will help Warehouse Market employees optimize the customer experience by reducing downtime and customer wait times at checkout.

The supermarket chain chose NCR to improve transaction speeds, minimize transaction delays and upgrade its POS hardware, enabling the company to take advantage of next-generation POS applications, such as digital promotions and advanced reporting capabilities.

"It is never good when customers are waiting in long lines -- whether the cause is slow transactions or down equipment," said Jana Mercer, IT director at Warehouse Market. "Warehouse Market is committed to delivering the best service possible to its customers, and we chose NCR's RealPOS solutions because we can depend on NCR to provide the best technology in the market when it comes to performance and reliability."

"NCR is pleased to support Warehouse Market in its mission to improve operations by streamlining and speeding-up point-of-sale transactions," said Kathleen Curry, vice president, North America channel sales, NCR. "We are confident that NCR RealPOS products will translate into greater customer satisfaction among Warehouse Market shoppers by keeping lines short with quick checkout processing and reliable hardware operations."

Featuring next-generation architecture, the NCR RealPOS 80XRT delivers industry-leading power, scalability and systems management to the point-of-service. Like all NCR RealPOS hardware, it has been built to support high-traffic retail environments and withstand constant use. Additionally, the NCR RealPOS 80XRT has been designed with readily-accessible components, facilitating easy and fast service and upgrades.

The NCR RealPOS High Performance Bi-Optic Scanner/Scale boosts productivity with NCR's own Optical Effects Technology which has unmatched scan pattern density to capture and read all types and sizes of bar codes. The NCR RealPOS High Performance Bi-Optic Scanner/Scale's intuitive design and interface is easy to use and customizable.

About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR's assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming, public sector, telecom carrier and equipment organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (http://www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.

Follow us on Twitter: @NCRCorporation, @careersatncr, and @ncrhealthcare
Like us on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/ncrcorp
Connect with us on LinkedIn:http://linkd.in/ncrgroup
Watch us on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/ncrcorporation

About Warehouse Market, Inc.
Warehouse Market is a family-owned grocery chain operating 16 stores throughout Oklahoma and employing over 1200+ employees. Started in 1938, the chain continues to successfully compete with larger chains and maintains low prices by buying directly from food manufacturers and maintaining its own warehouses and delivery fleet. Clinton Vaylord Cox, Jr., who started the company with his father, continues to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company along with three generations of family members active in its operations.


Warehouse Market, Inc. Selects NCR Point-of-Sale Technology

Posted by staff at 08:01 AM

December 22, 2010

Pa. closes malfunctioning wine kiosks for fine-tuning

winekioskx600.jpgThere’s a slight problem with some of the 30 wine kiosks at Giants, Wegmans, Giant Eagles and two other supermarket chains throughout the state: They aren’t dispensing wine.[picture]

Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board has taken the kiosks offline in order to fix the problem. LCB spokeswoman Stacy Kriedeman explained several different snags have come up in recent weeks, keeping people from accessing the bottles they purchased. “That may be because a turnstile doesn’t turn, the door doesn’t unlock, the computer screen freezes up. It could be any one of those issues, but it has to do with people not getting the product,” she said.

The kiosks will likely be offline through New Year's Day. The LCB aims to open 100 machines throughout the state, but won’t introduce any more until the problem is fixed. Initially, all the machines were supposed to be rolled out by now, but the process has been delayed.

Consumers need to take a Breathalyzer test and have their ID verified by an LCB employee at a remote location in order to purchase wine from the machines.
winekioskx600.jpg
Kriedeman said the LCB apologizes for the problem.

We "would like to ask our supermarket partners, as well as consumers, to be patient,” she said. “Whenever there’s new technology, you can expect there may be issues. And that was the case here. But Simple Brands is working to address those issues. And as soon as they’re fixed, we will bring the kiosks back online.”

The problem comes at a bad time for the LCB – the agency is in the cross-hairs of Republicans who take control of Harrisburg next month. Gov.-elect Tom Corbett and top House and Senate leaders want to move quickly to privatize state-owned liquor stores. If the state stores are sold off, the kiosks will likely go extinct, too.

Posted by staff at 01:55 PM

June 04, 2010

Payment processing trends: What every operator should know

Payment processing trends: What every operator should know - Go Kiosk by the Kiosk Industry Group Read story

Posted by staff at 12:19 PM

August 19, 2009

TJX Hacker Charged With Heartland, Hannaford Breaches

Amazing story of Gonzalez and the hacks into TJMaxx, Hannaford, 7-Eleven, others. He cut his teeth on Dave & Busters, then worked for the Feds, then went back to hacking more corporations. This our government did for us? Two articles one from Wired and one WSJ. The Wired one by Zetter is great. Also reveals SQL-injection attack on web servers was route in...The Tiger Woods of Cyber Crimes. Content from Wired, WSJ and NewsHour.

Here is the Wired report
Source article

TJX Hacker Charged With Heartland, Hannaford Breaches
By Kim Zetter August 17, 2009 | 2:34 pm | Categories: Breaches

The constellation of hacks connected to the TJX hacker is growing.

Albert “Segvec” Gonzalez has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey — along with two unnamed Russian conspirators — on charges of hacking into Heartland Payment Systems, the New Jersey-based card processing company, as well as Hannaford Brothers, 7-Eleven and two unnamed national retailers, according to the indictment unsealed Monday. Gonzalez, a former Secret Service informant, is already awaiting trial over his involvement in the TJX hack.

According to the court document, the hackers allegedly stole more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers (.pdf) from Heartland and Hannaford combined. Prosecutors say they believe these breaches constitute the largest data-breach and identity-theft case ever prosecuted in the United States. They’re investigating other breaches and have not ruled out Gonzalez’s involvement in even more intrusions.

“We’re not seeing a huge array of hackers capable of doing this, but rather a more select group, [and that] demonstrates that there is a level of sophistication involved in these hacks,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Erez Liebermann of the Justice Department’s New Jersey district office.

But these are just the latest in a string of high-profile breaches that have been connected to Gonzalez. He and 10 others were charged in May and August 2008 with network intrusions into TJX, OfficeMax, Dave & Busters restaurant chain and other companies. Jury selection is slated to begin Sept. 14 in one of those cases. With regard to the Heartland-Hannaford cases, Gonzalez and the two unnamed Russian hackers have been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

They each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a possible maximum fine of $250,000 on the computer-fraud count and an additional 30 years and $1 million fine on the wire-fraud count, or twice the amount they gained from the offense, whichever is greater.

Attorneys for Gonzalez were not available for comment.

According to the New Jersey indictment, Gonzalez, 28, and an uncharged conspirator identified only as “P.T.,” allegedly found their targets on a list of Fortune 500 companies and then did reconnaissance to determine the payment-processing systems they used and uncover vulnerabilities. The hackers used computers they leased or controlled in California, Illinois and New Jersey as well as in Latvia, Ukraine and the Netherlands to store malware, launch their attacks against the networks, and receive the stolen numbers.

Using a SQL-injection attack, the hackers allegedly broke into the 7-Eleven network in August 2007, resulting in the theft of an undetermined amount of card data. They allegedly used the same kind of attack to infiltrate Hannaford Brothers in November 2007, which resulted in 4.2 million stolen debit and credit card numbers; and into Heartland on Dec. 26, 2007. Of the two unnamed national retailers mentioned in the affidavit, one was breached on Oct. 23, 2007, and the other sometime around January 2008.

Liebermann declined to identify the two national retailers, or state the amount of data stolen from them, because he said they have not gone public with their breaches.

Once on the networks, the hackers installed back doors to provide them with continued access at later dates. According to authorities, the hackers tested their malware against some 20 different antivirus programs to make sure they wouldn’t be detected, and also programmed the malware to erase evidence from the hacked networks to avoid forensic detection.

“The fact that they were able to evade antivirus software that was running on the environment by testing it and programming the malware to erase itself suggests a degree of sophistication,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Kosto of the New Jersey office. “If it were just a case of getting onto the network, the card data would probably not have been exfiltrated.”

Heartland disclosed last January that hackers had installed sniffing software on its network that allowed them to capture unencrypted credit card data as transactions were being authorized in its system.

The thieves captured card account numbers and expiration dates and, in 20 percent of cases, the customer’s name as well. The company has never disclosed the number of cards compromised, although the company’s website indicates that it processes about 100 million transactions a month for about 250,000 businesses.

According to Liebermann, Heartland accounts for the “vast majority” of the 130 million numbers mentioned in the New Jersey indictment.

Heartland reported in May that the breach had cost it $12. 6 million so far, which includes legal costs and fines from Visa and MasterCard, who say the company was not compliant with payment-card–industry rules.

Heartland’s CEO Robert Carr told Wired.com recently that the initial breach into the company’s network in December 2007 was confined to the company’s corporate network, which Carr said was separate from its card-processing network. But by May 2008, the hackers had jumped to the processing network. Carr wouldn’t say how they accomplished this.

Heartland caught the breach of the corporate network, but was unaware the hackers were sitting on its system for months conducting reconnaissance. Trustwave, a computer security firm, conducted its 2008 audit of Heartland on April 30 and deemed it compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). But shortly thereafter, the intruders began stealing batches of unencrypted card-track data from Heartland’s network, and continued doing so for months before being discovered.

Gonzalez was a Secret Service informant who once went by the nickname “Cumbajohnny.” He was a top administrator on a carding site called Shadowcrew when he was arrested in 2003. Authorities discovered his connection to Shadowcrew and soon put him to work undercover on the site, setting up a VPN for the carders to communicate, which was controlled out of the Secret Service’s New Jersey office.

That undercover operation, known as “Operation Firewall,” led to the arrest of 28 members of the site in October 2004. After the site went down, Gonzalez changed his nick to “Segvec” and moved to Miami where he allegedly resumed his life of crime under the nose of authorities who were in pursuit of “Segvec,” while being ignorant of the fact that he was their old informant.

Gonzalez called his credit card theft ring “Operation Get Rich or Die Tryin.” As Wired.com previously reported, he spent $75,000 on a birthday party for himself and once complained to associates that he had to manually count $340,000 in stolen $20 bills after his counting machine broke.

Stephen Watt, a 25-year-old programmer who was working for Morgan Stanley, created a sniffing program dubbed “blabla” that Gonzalez’s gang used to allegedly siphon credit and debit card numbers from TJX and other companies and is facing sentencing this month. The indictment doesn’t charge Watt with writing the malware used in the Heartland and Hannaford breaches.

Photo: Albert Gonzalez/Courtesy U.S. law enforcement




Here is the WSJ story

Source article

By SIOBHAN GORMAN

A 28-year-old American, believed by prosecutors to be one of the nation's cybercrime kingpins, was indicted Monday along with two Russian accomplices on charges that they carried out the largest hacking and identity-theft caper in U.S. history.

Federal prosecutors alleged the three masterminded a global scheme to steal data from more than 130 million credit and debit cards by hacking into the computer systems of five major companies, including Hannaford Bros. supermarkets, 7-Eleven and Heartland Payment Systems Inc., a credit-card processing company.
[Photo of albert gonzalez released to wired.com by secret service] U.S. Secret Service courtesy of wired.com

Photo of Albert Gonzalez released to wired.com by Secret Service

The indictment in federal district court in New Jersey marks the latest and largest in at least five years of crime that has brought its alleged orchestrator, Albert Gonzalez of Miami, in and out of federal grasp. Detained in 2003, Mr. Gonzalez was briefly an informant to the Secret Service before he allegedly returned to commit even bolder crimes.

Authorities have previously alleged that Mr. Gonzalez was the ringleader of a data breach that siphoned off more than 40 million credit-card numbers from TJX Cos. and others in recent years, costing the parent company of the TJ Maxx retail chain about $200 million.

Mr. Gonzalez is in federal custody in Brooklyn, N.Y., awaiting trial for alleged efforts to hack into the network of the national restaurant chain Dave & Buster's Inc. He also faces charges in Boston in the TJX matter.

The alleged thefts in Monday's indictment took place from October 2006 to May 2008.

Mr. Gonzalez is "a very important player in a sophisticated ring that has real results at the street level of bank, retail, debit- and credit-card fraud," said Seth Kosto, an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey who specializes in computer fraud.
More

* Text: DOJ Indictment | Statement
* Q&A: What Consumers Should Know
* Earlier: Card Data Breached, Firm Says

Journal Community

* Discuss: How secure is credit card information? Have you been a victim of identity theft?

The indictment, interviews and recent court documents in the cases pending against Mr. Gonzalez paint him as a rising star in the cyber underground. He launched what he called "operation get rich or die tryin," targeting Fortune 500 companies with his data-theft operations, according to a sentencing memo filed in federal district court in Massachusetts in the TJ Maxx matter. These documents say he threw himself a $75,000 birthday party and at one point lamented he had to count more than $340,000 by hand because his money counter had broken.

Such large sums, primarily in $20 bills allegedly stolen from ATMs, proved tough to manage, the sentencing memo says. He was considering investing in a club, but told one of his co-conspirators in the TJX heist that he would only be able to pull together $300,000 in a "legitimate appearing form" like a check, according to the documents.

Federal investigators say Mr. Gonzalez is a high-school graduate and self-taught programmer who cut his criminal teeth as a leader in the self-styled Shadowcrew, an online credit-card hacking ring. In 2004, 26 leaders of the 4,000-person ring were arrested and convicted. "He was one of the key leaders," said Scott Christie, a former U.S. prosecutor who worked on the case.

Mr. Gonzalez wasn't charged when he was arrested in 2003 because he agreed to become an informant for the Secret Service following his arrest, say Justice Department officials. In November 2004, the government permitted him to move from New Jersey to Florida. Much of the subsequent hacking took place there, according to court records. He was arrested in conjunction with the Dave & Buster's hacking scheme in May 2008 and has been in detention since.

Subsequent investigations into breaches at Heartland and others led investigators back to Mr. Gonzalez. They found that he and his co-conspirators in Russia, which the indictment does not name, staged their crime on a network of computers spanning New Jersey, California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands and Ukraine that would infiltrate the computer networks of the victim companies.

In computer attacks lasting more than a year, the trio allegedly scooped up credit- and debit-card numbers and installed so-called back doors in the victims' computer networks to enable them to steal more data in the future, the indictment said. They also installed "sniffer" programs to capture card data and send it to the hackers.

The indictment didn't estimate the losses associated with the alleged activities, nor did it spell out how the alleged co-conspirators may have made money off the stolen numbers. Typically, hackers sell batches of credit-card data online -- the current asking price in online forums is $10 to more than $100 per account profile, depending on the account's limit.

The trio made extensive efforts to conceal their activities, registering the computers they used under false names and communicating online under a variety of screen names, the indictment alleges. Mr. Gonzalez often used the online alias "soupnazi," an apparent reference to a character in the sitcom "Seinfeld."

The three were charged with gaining unauthorized access to computers, computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Mr. Gonzalez faces up to 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. His lawyer did not return phone calls Monday.

"We're pleased that the authorities have aggressively pursued this case to be in a position to bring an indictment against the alleged perpetrators," said Michael Norton, a spokesman for Hannaford Bros. Heartland commended the government's sleuthing in the case; 7-Eleven declined to comment.

Wire fraud, conducted in cyberspace because wire transfers now use networks that connect to the Internet, has exploded in recent years. The Treasury Department recently reported that of the more than 55,000 incidents of wire fraud since 1998, more than half of them occurred in the past two years.

"The financial sector may be more secure than most, but it's hemorrhaging," said Tom Kellermann, a former cybersecurity official with the World Bank who is now a vice president with Core Security Technologies, a cybersecurity company. "For too long a time they have not paid enough respect to the sophistication and organization of the underground economy."
—Robert Tomsho, Joseph Pereira and Timothy W. Martin contributed to this article.

Write to Siobhan Gorman at siobhan.gorman@wsj.com


Nice writeup on StorefrontBacktalk
link here


Interview on Newshour with Zetter of Wired and VISA

Record-setting Cyber Theft Stirs Questions on Security

The Justice Department indicted three men on Monday for stealing more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers by hacking into the computer systems of five major companies. Cyber-securiity experts discuss the case with Ray Suarez.








RAY SUAREZ: It's a case the Justice Department is calling the largest credit and debit card data breach in U.S. history. Twenty-eight-year-old Albert Gonzalez and two Russian co-conspirators are charged with stealing more than 130 million card numbers between October 2006 and May 2008.

The trio allegedly hacked around the firewalls of several companies' computer systems, including card payment processor Heartland Payment Systems, supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers, and convenience store chain 7-Eleven.

It's a record-setting breach, breaking the previous mark held, federal prosecutors say, by the same Albert Gonzalez. The Miami man was already in federal custody. He previously had been charged in identity theft cases involving the restaurant chain Dave & Buster's and the retailer T.J. Maxx.

With this latest cybersecurity breach, consumers are asking themselves, how safe is my financial information?

For some answers, we turn to Kim Zetter. She's been covering this story for Wired.com. And Rosetta Jones, she's vice president for corporate relations at Visa.

Kim Zetter, how does the government say Albert Gonzalez did what they're saying he did?

KIM ZETTER, Wired.com: Well, he worked with some co-conspirators who -- they chose their targets by looking at Fortune 500 company lists. And once they found their target, they did sort of reconnaissance to find out what kind of processing system they used for processing their credit and debit cards. Once they knew that, they were able to look at what kind of vulnerabilities might exist in the system.

In the case of Heartland and Hannaford and 7-Eleven, I think we know that they used a SQL injection attack on all of them. And a SQL injection attack is a pretty kind of standard attack that can be prevented if the server is configured correctly. And in these cases, it's showing up over and over again that many companies aren't configuring their servers correctly.

RAY SUAREZ: So they did the digital equivalent of casing these places before trying the attack?

KIM ZETTER: Yes, exactly. In some cases, they went onto the Web site of the company, and the Web sites gave them information that helped them infiltrate the companies. The Web sites can tell them what kind of processes they're using and that kind of thing.

And in the case of Heartland, you know, Heartland is a credit card, debit card processor, so it's sort of the middleman between retailers and banks. And so if you hit a processor like that, then you're getting millions of cards, as they did in this case.

RAY SUAREZ: Rosetta Jones, the program, according to the government, that these fellows were using burrowed into the systems and then started exporting the data they were finding there to places outside the United States, to some places inside the United States, but also to Latvia, Russia, the Netherlands. Why?

ROSETTA JONES, Visa: Your question was why they were exporting data?

RAY SUAREZ: Well, why to those places? Is it harder to investigate, harder to prosecute once you ship the data off to somewhere else in the world?

ROSETTA JONES: We think there's ample opportunity for the government to be involved to help international cooperation in catching the criminals. We think that is an important opportunity and a significant area where the government can be involved.

RAY SUAREZ: Have the two sides been learning from each other, the hackers and the institutions that are trying to fend off these attacks? Do they look for breaches and then exploit them and then your side tries to build new defenses?

ROSETTA JONES: Well, I think, as long as card data remains valuable, criminals are going to continue to seek that information. What we have to do as an industry is to work with financial institutions and with merchants to protect that card information. And we have to make sure that they're adhering to strict industry data security standards.

I think as an industry we also have to explore new ways to make that card data not valuable to criminals. And we're looking at things like the introduction of dynamic data into the transaction. We think that has a good opportunity to help prevent fraud.



Background of a hacker
RAY SUAREZ: Kim Zetter, Albert Gonzalez was already known to federal law enforcement before he was arrested, wasn't he?
KIM ZETTER: Before he was arrested this time? He's already in custody at this point, but, yes, he was known -- he's been known to authorities since at least 2003. He was arrested in 2003, and authorities discovered that he was the top administrator on a carding forum called ShadowCrew. It's basically an online community or was an online community where credit card thieves gathered and sold their goods.

And when they arrested him and found out that he was administrator, they flipped him to become an informant for them, and he worked out of the Secret Service New Jersey office from I think it was about late 2003, early 2004, until they brought down ShadowCrew in October 2004.

And he convinced the carders on that forum to use a special virtual private network for communicating, and that network was controlled by the Secret Service, so they were able to read all the communications that was going through there.

When the bust was over, he went back to his criminal ways, and he changed -- his online nick at that point was "Cumbajohnny," and he changed it to "Segvec," and he continued to commit crimes as "Segvec," and authorities were actually chasing this person named "Segvec" without knowing that he was the former informant for the Secret Service. And then he...

RAY SUAREZ: While he was working as an informant, was he learning things that he could then turn around and use against places like card processing services and retailers?

KIM ZETTER: He probably was. And of course, he was making connections during that point, as well, because also on ShadowCrew and other forums that were connected to it were, you know, Russian criminals from the Russian hackers. And those are, you know, pretty much the top ones in this field, are coming from Ukraine and Russia.

And in this case, on the indictment that came down yesterday, there are two unnamed Russian co-conspirators who helped him hack into the systems. So those connections were probably made at that period and thereafter, as well.


Fraud rates
RAY SUAREZ: Rosetta Jones, are there a lot of people who know how to do this? Would it be happening more often if this wasn't such highly technical work?
ROSETTA JONES: Well, I think what you have to keep in mind is that, although you might read about hundreds of millions of accounts being compromised, that we know from our investigations less than 5 percent of those accounts are ever used fraudulently.

So while criminals might be trying to seek this information, the industry, Visa, and financial institutions are able to reduce fraud through effective monitoring of fraudulent transactions in the system.

And the fraud rate within Visa is actually at historic lows. It's just 6 cents out of every $100 transacted, and that's about half of what it was 10 years ago.

So, yes, we have more work to do to protect card information, but we know as an industry we're doing a good job at keeping fraud at bay.

RAY SUAREZ: So there's less fraud today than during the old days of running a card through one of those pressing machines and having carbon copies?

ROSETTA JONES: Today, using credit and debit cards remain one of the safest way to pay, especially over cash and checks. It's just the reality. Zero liability today exists for cardholders, so if there is fraud on your account, that you do not have to pay for that fraud. That's a protection that exceeds cash and checks.


Protections for consumers
RAY SUAREZ: But if you're reading the news and you see that there's been this latest breach, what can you be doing in your own interest? What should you be doing to protect yourself and check that your identity isn't being stolen, that your information isn't being used fraudulently?
ROSETTA JONES: Well, I think, first and foremost, again, it's important to remind consumers that you have important protections with using credit and debit cards. Zero liability is one of them.

But, of course, consumers should always monitor their accounts. We encourage consumers to have online banking and check their accounts real time and check their statements for fraudulent activity, and if they notice anything suspicious, to call their financial institution right away.

RAY SUAREZ: Kim Zetter, what do you think about the position of the consumer? Are people more vulnerable than they realize? Or, as you just heard Ms. Jones suggest, really the problem is with the credit card companies and they're the ones bearing the cost?

KIM ZETTER: Yes, I mean, I should point out that consumers, at least in the case of credit cards, we know there's zero liability. What's happening to our debit is that debit cards are being taken, as well. And, of course, when a debit card is stolen and, in some cases, PIN numbers are being grabbed, as well, then, you know, it allows an attacker to basically drain your bank account.

And in some cases, we're finding that consumers, it's not so easy for them to get that money back. They have to prove that they didn't use the card in many cases, and it can take months. In some cases, people aren't getting it back if it's, for instance, a business account instead of a personal account.

But, you know, I want to point out that even if consumers have zero liability, retailers are the victims in this, as well as the banks, the card issuers who have to reissue, you know, millions of new cards to customers whose numbers have been breached.

And there are lawsuits because of this, you know, against Heartland, TJX. You know, when they have unsecured systems that are breached, the cost, you know, is passed down to the retailers for the fraudulent transactions and then also for the people who have to reissue the cards.

RAY SUAREZ: We'll have to end it there. Kim Zetter, Rosetta Jones, ladies, thank you both.

ROSETTA JONES: Thank you.

KIM ZETTER: Thank you.

Posted by staff at 08:02 AM

July 24, 2009

Point of Sale (POS) software software - Essential Guide

Point of Sale (POS) software, also known as electronic Point of Sale (ePOS), is an essential application for retail or hospitality businesses because it manages checkout operations and is what the customer sees when they make a transaction. Here is a simple overview of what it is and some of the providers.

What is POS software?
POS software or POS systems are located wherever a transaction occurs, which generally tends to mean the terminal that is used for checkouts.

Some systems are the equivalent of an electronic cash register, used to make and record a sale in a restaurant, cafe, retail store or supermarket, and also in hotels, stadiums and casinos

But point of sale systems can also be used as part of a more sophisticated IT system, linked into back-office stock control, ordering, and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

What operating systems do POS systems run on?
POS systems are manufactured and serviced by a range of firms and tend to run on a range of operating systems, including DOS, Windows, Linux and Unix.

What networks do POS systems use?
POS equipment can use a variety of physical layer protocols, although Ethernet is currently the preferred system, being fast, flexible and inexpensive.

However, wireless technology is increasingly being used, particularly for drive-thru restaurant systems.

These often use wireless or headset systems which enable communication between the kiosk and the main POS system.

What are vendors doing to standardise POS systems?
POS vendors and retailers are working hard to standardise the technology behind POS systems, to drive down manufacturing and product costs.

OLE for POS (OPOS) was the first commonly-adopted standard in 1996, and was created by Microsoft, NCR Corporation, Epson and Fujitsu-ICL.

An alternative open standards system, JavaPOS, was developed by Sun Microsystems, IBM, and NCR Corporation in 1997 and first released in 1999.

JavaPOS is for Java what OPOS is for Windows, and is largely platform independent.

What are the latest advances in POS software?
The restaurant industry is increasingly adopting wireless POS because of the flexibility it offers. Many high end restaurants, as well as high volume restaurants and pubs favour wireless handheld POS devices.

Waiting staff use a PDA-sized POS system that can register orders and send them directly to the kitchen in real time. Customers are able to view their transaction and pay for at the table.

Web based POS systems are also on the rise. These offer even more flexibility because they can run on any computer with an Internet connection and browser, which means most smart phones and PDAs as well as mobile terminals.

The web-based software does not require any software installations or updates, and runs on secure servers in multiple data centres which have real-time backups.

How can I secure my POS system?
It is possible to secure your POS application by using ‘whitelisting’ security software so that only approved applications or devices can access the network.

UK retailer Marks & Spencer is using this to secure over 16,000 POS systems, and also to enforce Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS).

The "whitelisting" software, which is from Bit9, stops malicious, illegal and unauthorised software from running, thereby preventing data leakage.

POS product list

Actinic
Actinic has an affordable EPOS system for independent retailers, and can also provide computerised till systems for many types of retail business. All systems are Chip & PIN compatible.

EPOS Retail
EPOS Retail sells its HOSPOS (Hospitality point of sale) software system for restaurants and hotels.

Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft provides POS and retail management for individual and chain stores through its Dynamics product line.

SalesStream
SalesStream is a UK-based supplier of Windows EPOS retail software suite, SalesStream EPOS. The firm said it requires no expert knowledge or expensive engineer visits and runs on a single PC.

SAP
Business software giant SAP offers its own POS Software suite which it says can help to reduce costs and enhance customer experience.

Volanté
Designed for the hospitality industry, Volanté’s POS management system is developed entirely in pure Java[http://www.java.com/], and is object- and network-oriented, which enables it to run on Windows 2000/XP, Unix and Linux.

Wasp Barcode Technologies
Wasp Barcode Technologies sells several ePOS and retail point of sale software systems designed for small and independent retailers.

Source article

Posted by staff at 07:23 AM

July 15, 2009

POS and Security, HP and Ingram

Worth noting -- Ingram Micro puts together bundle for small businesses which specifically addresses PCI compliance and consists of complete solution offering. They are using HP RP3000s along with the new MagneSafe card readers from Magtek. Software by Uniforce.

Ingram Micro Intros Security-Centric POS Bundle For Retailers

By Chad Berndtson, ChannelWeb
6:00 PM EDT Tue. Jul. 14, 2009 Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM) this week began offering a point-of-sale (POS) solution bundle intended to meet the security needs of small and midsize retail environments.

Available through the channel, the bundle continues Ingram Micro's push to expand its POS retail offerings through its Micro Data Capture/POS division.

"Our channel partners keep telling us that they want more solutions [and] bundles like this -- simple, high-value solutions that are ready out of the box," said Marc Rachiele, director of vendor management and marketing for the division. "Because of Ingram Micro's broad portfolio, we're able to be a single source for our partners and deliver bundles that are all-inclusive and come in one single box."

The heart of Ingram Micro's SecurePOS SMB Bundle includes Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ)'s rp3000 Point of Sale System, the MagTek MagneSafe Card Reader and software from Uniforce Technology.

The bundle also features hardware and software from Cherry Electronics, Citizen, Planar and Payment Processing, and will be offered starting at $1,850, with packages running up to $2,850, depending on the retailer's needs, according to the distributor.

"When dealing with bundles, it's important to use products that our partners and their end users will recognize," Rachiele said. "Because this bundle is focused on SMB, we also take into consideration the price point. We want to keep it affordable and leave room for our partners to add in their service value."

Rachiele said that fully secure POS solutions for smaller retailers are often prohibitively expensive, so the retailer is left either paying through the nose for a pricey system, or risking the security of credit card information and other sensitive customer data. The latter isn't really an option, either -- retailers have Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance to consider and risk breaking the law if they don't.

"This is the first to market from distribution that offers end-to-end data encryption," Rachiele said. "The security on this bundle is so high that it starts with the swipe of the card."

Rachiele said Ingram Micro has more vertical-specific bundles on the way, including government, health care, and additional solutions for retail environments.

Rachiele pointed to IMStimulus and IMGrants, Ingram's two demand-generation programs for helping VARs capture federal stimulus dollars, as examples of what Ingram hopes to offer more of in the future.

Posted by staff at 07:28 AM

July 07, 2009

POS Offering by NCR Gaining Traction

NCR RealPOS 70XRT is latest POS offering for retailiers and ISVs in what is termed a challenging environment. A couple of partner testimonials from WAND, XPIENT and Menusoft gives added "digital dining" thread. Would be interesting to figure out who is winning the war with ISVs/Partners between NCR and IBM. We think NCR may have the momentum for now.

Amid rollouts at quick-service restaurants, convenience stores and other retail venues, the newest integrated point-of-sale (POS) workstation from NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is also growing in popularity among top independent software vendors (ISVs).

At last count, some two dozen POS applications have been certified with the NCR RealPOS 70XRT, which will be featured in NCR’s booth at RetailNOW, the Retail Solutions Providers Association’s Convention and Expo, July 11-16 in Las Vegas.

Introduced late last year and released for customer deployments in March 2009, the NCR RealPOS 70XRT represents a sound investment decision for retailers, even in a challenging economy. It is designed for high performance and reliability, and offers energy efficient Intel processors with a high-efficiency power supply – features that can reduce energy consumption up to 50 percent over previous-generation POS workstations.

“World-class ISVs have responded enthusiastically to the NCR RealPOS 70XRT and the support we provide through an enhanced NCR partner program. As a result, retailers and restaurateurs can choose from an extensive array of powerful applications paired with industry-leading POS technology,” said Mike Webster, NCR vice president and general manager for Retail and Hospitality. “This is also good news for NCR resellers, who can offer the same game-changing solutions to their customers.”

NCR offers its Solution Partners a number of programs designed to enhance their success with the NCR RealPOS 70XRT or other NCR solutions. These benefits include a discount on the cost of new NCR hardware and marketing development funds for advertising, trade shows and other promotional activities.

NCR Solution Partners can also access the NCR Retail Partner Lab and are eligible for up to 60 hours of support a year at that facility, which is located in Duluth, Ga., near NCR’s retail solution developers and engineers. The lab’s staff provides technical consulting, test tools and assistance with debugging or diagnostics, helping assure successful solution integration.

NCR Solution Partners and Authorized Resellers have enthusiastically endorsed the NCR RealPOS 70XRT and the NCR channel partner program:

“The NCR RealPOS 70XRT is without a doubt one of the most advanced integrated POS workstations on the market today,” said Mark Mansfield, vice president, Sales, for WAND Corporation. “It delivers extreme retail technology and provides an unbeatable restaurant solution when powered by WAND’s NextGen POS software featuring conversational ordering. Moreover, NCR's certification assistance was invaluable in helping us successfully and quickly port our software.”

Millenium Retail Solutions, Inc. has certified its In the Black Retail Suite – a fully bundled software solution for the retail industry – with the new NCR workstation. “The NCR RealPOS 70XRT continues the tradition of excellence for general retail started with NCR’s earlier integrated workstations,” said Peter Edwards, vice president, Sales, Millenium Retail. “In addition to performance, NCR has focused on serviceability and total cost of ownership, which are critically important to our customers today.”

“NCR and XPIENT have enjoyed a long, preferred relationship that has delivered significant benefits to our mutual customers and reseller partners,” said John Tata, vice president, XPIENT Solutions, LLC. “Together, the NCR RealPOS 70XRT and XPIENT IRIS Point of Sale solution are a great combination for today’s high-speed food service environment – an example of ‘technology that works’ to help make things faster and easier for consumers and businesses alike.”

“The hardware discount, developer support and other elements of NCR’s partner program are second to none,” said Andre Nataf, vice president, Business Development, for Menusoft Systems Corporation, developers of the feature-rich Digital Dining point of sale solution. “From our first demo, we’ve been ‘pumped’ over the NCR RealPOS 70XRT and the way its advanced platform technologies enable the unique capabilities and user-friendly features of Digital Dining.”

Contact information for NCR Solution Partner and NCR Authorized Reseller organizations serving the retail and hospitality industries can be found on www.ncr.com through a search link on the Business Partners page.

“NCR’s continuing commitment to our channel partners, in combination with technology like the NCR RealPOS 70XRT, creates great value for end users,” Webster said. “Retailers benefit with solutions that can help transform their businesses and enhance the consumer’s shopping or dining experience.”

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR’s assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.

NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Posted by staff at 06:48 AM

June 04, 2009

Video: POS and Order Placement and Obama

XPIENT Solutions provides market-leading Point-of-Sale, Back Office, and Enterprise Management technologies designed to address the unique operational needs of the Quick Service, Fast Casual, Family and Casual Dining restaurant segments. On their website is great example of POS entry with video of Obama ordering fast food. He opted for Cheezy Tater Tots.

Posted by staff at 09:25 AM

February 28, 2009

What's New in POS (Point of Sale) Software for Linux - Your 2009 Shopping List

When it comes to sourcing out POS software for Linux, there's no question that hospitality operators have become more tech savvy in recent years. Not only are they more comfortable choosing Linux POS systems, but they're also demanding a bigger bang for their buck when it comes to their POS software choices. Thinking of upgrading your POS system? Here's what you should be looking for in 2009.

It doesn't seem so long ago that hospitality operators were excited to see Remanco Systems hit the marketplace. Does anyone out there still remember Remanco? You had a sleek looking keypad, a little black plastic "key" and a bible of PLU codes to memorize. You punched in your food and beverage orders, and miraculously, your beverage orders printed out at the bar while your food orders printed simultaneously in the kitchen. It was exciting, sleek, and revolutionary. In many restaurants, the terminal was small enough to rest comfortably next to the Pac-Man machine. Enough said.

The world of POS technology has come a long, long way since those early days. Today's hospitality operators are much more tech savvy than they've ever been, and the POS industry is slowly responding to this fact. The big players are still out there, such as MICROS and Squirrel, and it's indisputable that they've enjoyed a large share of the market for a number of years. But a growing number of smaller players have emerged in recent years, and the big guys could see their portion of the POS pie gobbled up as quickly as a starving Pac-Man on a rampage if they don't offer what today's hospitality operators are demanding. With this said, here's the top features you, as a hospitality operator running Linux in 2009, should be looking for once you've decided to invest in a new POS system.

Data Reporting
The top two issues every hospitality-based business wants to get a handle on are food cost, and labor costs. Keep those things in check, and your chances of succeeding in such a competitive market are greatly increased. A modern POS system will help you get a handle on these profit killers by allowing managers access to important, easy to understand data on demand, and in real time. A POS system with state of the art data reporting capabilities will allow you to forecast business volumes, which gives managers the information they need to fine tune scheduling and avoid unnecessary labor costs. Time and attendance can be precisely monitored. Real time and instant access to data also allows managers to spot problems quickly and make snap decisions to address discrepancies in cash flow and adjust inventory levels. The POS system will pay for itself many times over if it can help you get a handle on these two issues alone.

Back Office Management & Integration
Having all your POS terminals linked together, combined with the ability to run reports, make menu and pricing changes on the fly, check inventory levels and consolidate payroll at one central location is crucial to running your business efficiently and profitably. A modern POS system will allow you to do this quickly and easily, all from the back office. Integration and back office management capability should be at the top of your shopping list.

Customer Relationship Management
Effective promotions can go a long way in boosting profits. Determining if your coupon or gift card program is working as it should, however, can be difficult. If your POS system can quickly help you evaluate which promotions are working and which ones aren't, you save time and money in spades. Having a POS system that can keep track of customer histories, their likes and dislikes, comments, etc. can give you valuable insight into what future promotions to put in effect, and which ones should bite the dust. Effective customer loyalty and points programs keep your customers coming back. When it comes to CRM, let your POS system do most of the thinking for you.

Wireless Mobile Computing & Hand Held Technology
Wireless point of sale systems are imperative for businesses that operate outside of traditional, brick and mortar locations. Venues such as ski resorts, theme parks or even stadiums can greatly benefit from a wireless point of sale system (think concession stands or private suites for instance). In a more traditional environment, such as a restaurant, the benefits of having wireless, at the table ordering capabilities through hand held units are many.

With wireless hand held units, serving staff save time by not having to line up to get access to the POS terminal, and therefore are much more productive. Since each order is transmitted instantly, at the table, serving staff are able to go quickly from one table to the next. Managers can reduce staffing levels by scheduling just a few skilled staff, give them larger sections, and make their primary focus greeting customers, taking orders and up-selling. Non-serving staff can then be hired (at significant payroll savings) to dispatch food and clean sections. When serving staff are able to remain on the floor, the result is a superior customer service experience for your patrons and increased sales for you through up-selling and faster table turns. Also, waste is cut down considerably, since placing orders at the table greatly reduces errors.

Another important feature with wireless hand held technology is that orders going into the kitchen are more evenly spaced, so you avoid overwhelming the kitchen with too many orders at once. This greatly increases the efficiency of kitchen staff and further decreases waste. Wireless hand held technology has been greatly refined in recent years, with increased battery life for hand held units and improved ease of use for staff. The time indeed has come to embrace wireless POS technology.

Payment Security
Payment security is crucial in today's marketplace. With the incidence of fraud and identity theft reaching epidemic proportions, safeguarding the safety of your client's credit card data is vital. The PCI Security Standards Council is an open global forum for the ongoing development, enhancement, storage, dissemination and implementation of security standards for account data protection. Is your POS system secure and PCI compliant? If it's not, it needs to be.

Self Service Technology
Self-service technology has created quite a buzz in recent years. Having moved beyond kiosks, self serve options give restaurateurs' the ability to delegate the food ordering process to customers themselves. Touch screen terminals are now intuitive and easy to use, and offer add on/up sell items items instantaneously, which boosts average check totals. The traditional "Server" is replaced by food runners, or counter staff, who can also do quality checks. Even the payment process can be taken care of by the customer, allowing for quicker table turns and increased cover counts.

Self-service technology may not be appealing for patrons looking for a fine dining experience, but it certainly is attractive for those who operate fast food or quick serve/casual dining establishments. Remanco certainly didn't offer all these features!

Enterprise & Multi Unit Capability
For those who operate large and multi-venue operations, choosing the right POS system has never been easy. Due to logistics and a host of other obstacles, businesses with multiple locations were forced to be creative in how they coordinated the collection of cash and data. Businesses such as these require enterprise wide systems that offer features such as client recognition capabilities, hospitality and retail sales, gift card processing, quick and easy debit and credit options, and more. They also require a system that can get around cabling and network issues, and preserve precious data in case of a system or network failure. If your company fits in this category, a reliable and flexible enterprise POS solution is a must.

With the above list in mind, one might think that it would be challenging to find a POS system that offers all of the above and more, never mind finding one with the capability of running on Linux as well. One POS system, however, consistently stands out and is without peer in the POS industry. Volante POS Systems, of Toronto and Hong Kong, is a state of the art, modern and flexible POS system. Volante has seamlessly embraced all the above features and more. It's also fully PCI compliant.

Volante first appeared on the scene in 1993, and because it has been developed entirely in Java, it's cross platform compatible, meaning it will run seamlessly on Linux, Unix and Windows. Linux POS solutions are very attractive to many businesses these days, since Linux allows business owners to cut costs by saving on Windows licensing fees, and is easy to use.

Volante also utilizes peer-to-peer technology, which allows each terminal to be connected, yet operate independently, without being reliant on a main server. Volante's unique implementation ensures that your business will continue to run smoothly in the event of a terminal or server failure. In other words, if your system crashes, your POS terminal still operates without losing any data or interrupting service. Any restaurant manager with some time under their belt has experienced the horror of a system crash during a peak service period. Needless to say, they would understand the importance of this feature.

Another item of note about Volante is that it's a good fit for many different types of hospitality operations, having been successfully installed in such venues as restaurants, hotels, stadiums, race tracks, ski resorts, outdoor sales areas (patios), casinos and theme parks. Its multi location capability makes it a full enterprise POS solution. For more information on Volante's many features, visit their website at www.volantesystems.com.

In a self service perspective, Volante Systems has recently announced a partnership with uWink, a new interactive restaurant and entertainment concept from Nolan Bushnell, of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese fame.

The two companies have partnered to offer the "uV Hospitality Solution", an end-to-end self-order, self-pay and at-the-table digital entertainment delivery solution, which was pioneered and proven in uWink's prototype interactive restaurant in Woodland Hills, California.

The "uV Hospitality Solution" is a seamless integration of uWink's innovative touch screen user interface software and micro-transaction game credit and redemption system with Volante's point of sale and back office enterprise system. At the uWink restaurant in Woodland Hills, customers self-order and self-pay for food, drink and digital media, including short form video games (uWink offers a library of 70+ casual and social single-player and multiplayer games) all from tabletop touch screen terminals located at each seat. This technology is really the new wave of self-service technology, and was recently awarded Best Technology Innovation from Hospitality Technology magazine.

With the above shopping list in hand, hospitality operators currently enjoying the advantages that Linux offers should feel even more prepared when looking to upgrade their current POS system. If the POS software you're looking at doesn't offer the features mentioned above, move on. In today's economic times, you can barely afford not to. However, if worse comes to worse, you could always sell that Pac-Man machine.

###

Contact:
Annette Ennamorato
Vice President, Operations
Volante POS Systems
1188 Martin Grove Road
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
M9W 5M9
416.522.1825 ( Direct )
sales@volantesystems.com
www.volantesystems.com

Posted by staff at 09:54 AM

January 22, 2009

POS news - Subway Announces new system

Subway to Implement Restaurant POS across 30,000 Global Locations. SUBWAY announces a partnership with Torex to implement its Quick Service Restaurant POS solution globally. Upon completion of the roll out the SUBWAY chain…as posted on gokiosk.net

Posted by staff at 10:25 AM

August 19, 2005

POS VISA/MasterCard Approved Pin Pad

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) announced today the immediate availability of the new P1300 PIN Pad, the first handheld PIN entry device to meet the rigorous new PCI (Payment Card Industry) security standards established by Visa International and MasterCard International to protect consumers at the point-of-sale.

The compact, low-cost device easily integrates with all Hypercom card payment terminals and leading electronic cash register systems, allowing retailers to quickly take advantage of the increase in PIN-based card transactions.

The P1300 enables merchants worldwide to offer the highest payment protection and safety to customers when they key in their PIN numbers at the point-of-transaction, said Guilherme Blumenthal, Executive Vice President, Sales & Operations, Hypercom Corporation. It delivers low-cost, reliable PIN entry for consumers using debit cards, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and other PIN-based forms of payment while meeting the newest requirements to safeguard sensitive data.

Key features of the P1300 include:
# Stringent security, including PCI PED certification, Triple DES encryption, DUKPT (Derived Unique Key Per Transaction) key management and MAC (Message Authentication Code).
# Tamper-proof construction with intrusion detection to safeguard the device from external attacks.
# Small, flexible ergonomic design that fits comfortably in the customers hand and allows twist and turn motion for enhanced privacy.
# Large, hard-rubber keys with color-coded Cancel, Clear and Entry keys that minimize finger slips and other customer errors, and are water and splash-resistant.
# Alphanumeric LCD screen with two-line high-contrast display shows up to 16 characters per line for clear and concise user prompting.
# Multiple connectivity options with support for RS-422, RS-232 and USB that allow easy integration with all Hypercom credit/debit terminals and electronic cash registers.
# Fully compatible with all Hypercom card terminals and compatible with the companys Key Loading and Management (HKLM) system.

"As the first handheld PIN device to earn PCI certification, the P1300 demonstrates Hypercom's commitment to delivering innovative, business-driven and high security payment technologies to the retail community," said Roger Swales, Senior Vice President, Global Acceptance and Operations, Visa International. "The deployment and use of PCI certified devices benefits retailers and consumers worldwide by reducing the likelihood of fraud at the point-of-sale."

P1300

About Hypercom (www.hypercom.com)

Widely recognized as the global payment technology innovator, Hypercom delivers complete card payment terminal, network access device, server and transaction networking solutions that help merchants and financial institutions generate revenues and increase profits. Hypercoms card payment terminal, network and server solutions are leading the transformation of electronic payments in more than 100 countries. The company is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

When granted, Visa approval is provided by Visa to ensure certain security and operational characteristics important to Visas systems as a whole, but Visa approval does not under any circumstances include any endorsement or warranty regarding the functionality, quality or performance of any particular product or service. Visa does not warrant any products or services provided by third parties. Visa approval does not under any circumstances include or imply any product warranties from Visa, including without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for purposes, or non-infringement, all of which are expressly disclaimed by Visa. All rights and remedies regarding products and services which have received Visa approval shall be provided by the party providing such products or services and not by Visa.

Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners. This press release includes statements that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding market acceptance of new products, product performance, product sales, revenues and profits. These forward-looking statements are based on managements current expectations and beliefs and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. In particular, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, industry, competitive and technological changes; the loss of, and failure to replace any significant customers; the composition, timing and size of orders from and shipments to major customers; inventory obsolescence; market acceptance of new products and services; the performance of suppliers and subcontractors; risks associated with international operations and foreign currency fluctuations; the state of the U.S. and global economies in general and other risks detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission , including the Company's most recent 10-K and subsequent 10-Qs. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made and are not guarantees of future performance. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. HYCP

:: Hypercom Corporation :: Newsroom

Posted by keefner at 03:23 PM

August 04, 2005

Kiosk Devices and Web Interface Framework

UnifiedPOS committee of ARTS gets open specification for web apps accessing scanners and mag stripe readers (which can be located on kiosks).

Noteworthy: IBM Grants Royalty-Free Terms on Patent (WAMPOS)

New Specification Standard Connects POS Devices to Web Apps

By John Connor, IBM, Retail Store Solutions

IBM's John Connor explains how a specification for allowing Web applications to access retail Point of Service (POS) devices such as scanners or magnetic stripe readers could break through a technology barrier in retail. Connor is with IBM's Systems and Technology Group in the Retail Store Systems (RSS) Division.

Have you ever gone to the wine store and wanted to know more about a certain bottle of wine, but the merchant was busy with another customer? What if there were a kiosk right on the shelf that could take you to the producing vineyards Website and provide you with information about the wine as well as recommend an excellent dinner recipe to accompany it -- all by scanning the barcode on the wine bottle? It seems like an easy service to provide using a browser-based application implementation on a kiosk. But as easy as it sounds, there is no standard way today for a Web application like the one described above to talk to or access the scanner that reads the barcode.

Read full story on KioskCom.com

Posted by keefner at 02:16 AM

June 08, 2004

POS and CSTORES

Speedway SuperAmerica new POS

Speedway SuperAmerica Revs Up POS With Radiant Systems
June 8, 2004

ATLANTA -- Radiant Systems, Inc., announced that Speedway SuperAmerica LLC (SSA) has selected Radiant to be the exclusive provider of point-of-sale (POS) systems for its more than 1,700 stores.

SSA will deploy Radiants POS system, including the companys latest software and P1550 POS terminals, to help improve speed of service and speed to market of customer-focused initiatives.

We view this selection as an extension of a partnership that we have shared over the past 10 years, said Ron Becker, SSA president. Our expectation is that Radiants new POS solution will play a key role in our ability to quickly and cost-effectively deliver new functionality to our stores.

Radiant said its POS system will provide SSA with a zero-training user interface that enables store associates to deliver fast service to customers even on their first day on the job. The open system is built for convenience retailing--it supports current and future customer programs for the point of purchase, enables quick service through integrated credit and scanning, and simplifies integration of numerous peripheral devices such as money order machines and check readers.

The Radiant P1550 POS terminal is a 15-inch touchscreen terminal, incorporating the Microsoft Windows XP Embedded operating system, the Intel Pentium M processor and the Intel 855 chipset, technologies that support the latest advancements for retail POS and provide a long-term platform, said Radiant.

Additionally, Radiant will provide SSA with ongoing implementation and development services to support the rollout of the new technology.

Radiants selection by SSA has validated our vision around POS and our dedication to forming lasting partnerships in the industry, said John Heyman, Radiant CEO. Together, we aim to redefine the consumer experience with SSA stores through speed and convenience and enable SSA to act and react quickly to their business needs through an advanced POS system.


News & Media Center > Speedway SuperAmerica Revs Up POS With Radiant Systems | NACS Online

Posted by Craig at 09:52 PM

January 12, 2004

Payment Devices

Hypercom Introduces S9 terminal

Hypercom Introduces the S9
Jump to first matched term

New PED and EMV Certified, Infoguard Tested Payment Device Delivers High Security, Versatility, Features and Value for Retailers

NEW YORK, National Retail Federation 93rd Annual Convention & EXPO, Jan 12, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via Comtex/ -- Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC), a global leader in innovative electronic payment solutions, today introduced the Hypercom(R) S9 payment device at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention & Expo in New York. The new PED and EMV Level 1 certified, Infoguard tested S9 gives retailers a high security payment device packed with unique merchant branding features, flexible connectivity for easy integration with leading POS systems, and the ability to truly take advantage of the increase in PIN-based card transactions. The S9 demonstrates Hypercom's continued commitment to deliver business-driven technology that enables the world to reliably and securely move transaction data faster and more cost-effectively.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040112/LAM009 )

High Security and Value in the Palm of Your Hand

Like other members of Hypercom's highly popular product family, the S9 meets and exceeds industry requirements, standards and certifications. In addition to achieving PED and EMV Level 1 certifications and Infoguard testing, the S9 provides options for reading both magnetic stripe and smart cards. The payment device fully meets industry security requirements including a tamper-resistant case, separate security processor, Master/Session DES, Triple DES and DUKPT support.

The Hypercom S9 features a distinctive ergonomic design, large color-coded keys and an easy-to-read backlit two-line display for use in diverse retail environments. It was specifically designed to help retailers and their customers get business done faster and better. A key feature for the S9 is its unique ability to deliver a new level of retailer branding at the point-of-sale. With the S9's innovative use of post-mold decorating technology, retailers can easily customize the S9 with their own distinctive brand and brand colors. As consumers swipe their card at the checkout counter, the retailer can seamlessly integrate their brand and a message, giving them control over the entire payment experience.

"Understanding the most fundamental and practical requirements of the retail marketplace is essential to delivering products with the right levels of performance," said Eric Duprat, senior vice president, Global Marketing & Product Development. "The Hypercom S9 marks the introduction of a very attractive, cost-effective and highly secure device that will substantively benefit retailers. The S9 gives retailers the right technology, the right software, the flexibility and branding opportunities to enhance the payment experience."

Smart Combination of Flexibility and Functionality

Added to the new level of retailer branding is the device's flexibility to work within the retailer's infrastructure requirements. The S9 can be physically deployed as a hand-over or countertop PIN entry device or cleverly mounted to ergonomically integrate into the existing point-of-purchase design. This flexibility also offers retailers a smooth and cost-effective EMV migration.

Additionally, retailers who select Hypercom's S9 payment device do not have to write any new code. Thanks to Hypercom's HyperWare(R) FPE toolkit, all of the necessary functionality is incorporated to enable rapid integration into existing POS systems. In fact, most retailers and/or system integrators are able to quickly combine their electronic cash register systems and Hypercom's card payment devices.

The HyperWare FPE software includes drivers such as a Windows DLL, OPOS controls and JavaPOS controls -- each which enables the retailer to take full advantage of all the features and functions of the S9 without having to write a single line of code, preserving the flow of the consumer payment experience.

"The Hypercom S9 really represents for the industry a well thought out and intelligent, business-driven solution to move retailers into the fast lane with the unique benefit of extending their brand to the point-of-transaction. And with its cost effectiveness and flexibility, the S9 is the simple, smart solution for retailers who want an attractive way to provide more payment options to the consumer," said O.B. Rawls, IV, president, Hypercom North America.

Hypercom's S9 payment device is the result of focusing on what retailers need the most -- a cost-effective payment device that helps maximize the return on investment and provide new business building advantages through the enhancement of the payment experience.

The S9 is available for immediate delivery.

About Hypercom ( www.hypercom.com )

Celebrating 26 years of technology excellence, innovation and industry leadership, Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers.

Hypercom's products include secure web-enabled information and transaction terminals that work seamlessly with its networking equipment and software applications for e-commerce, m-commerce, smart cards and traditional payment applications. Hypercom's widely-accepted Internet-enabled, consumer-activated and EMV-approved touch-screen ICE(TM) (Interactive Consumer Environment) information and transaction terminals enable acquirers and merchants to decrease costs, increase revenues and improve customer retention.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom has shipped more than six million terminals in over 100 countries, which conduct over 10 billion transactions annually.

Hypercom and HyperWare are registered trademarks of Hypercom Corporation. ICE is a trademark of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners. Certain matters discussed within this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although Hypercom management believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include industry, competitive and technological changes; risks associated with international operations and foreign currency fluctuations; the composition, timing and size of orders from and shipments to major customers; inventory obsolescence; market acceptance of new products and other risks detailed from time to time in Hypercom's SEC reports, including the company's most recent 10-K and subsequent 10-Qs.

For more information, please contact Pete Schuddekopf of Hypercom Corporation, +1-602-504-5383, pschuddekopf@hypercom.com .

SOURCE Hypercom Corporation

Photo : NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040112/LAM009

Pete Schuddekopf of Hypercom Corporation, +1-602-504-5383,
pschuddekopf@hypercom.com

Posted by Craig at 02:48 PM

November 14, 2003

Multi-Channel Retailers Increasingly Rely on Internet-Based Kiosks

Nice case study on the NCR site about VANs and KIS

Multi-Channel Retailers Increasingly Rely on Internet-Based Kiosks to Bridge Gap Between Channels

by Timothy P. Henderson, Editor-in-Chief
STORES Magazine, October 2001

Despite advances in technology and consumers' tech savvy, retailers must ensure that kiosk applications provide definite customer value

Three million consumers are projected to purchase nearly $200 million in goods and services via kiosks during 2001, an average of $57 per buyer. By 2006, and in large part due to the ever-increasing number of retailers launching kiosks, those figures are projected to increase to 23 million users, $6.5 billion in purchases and an average of $289 per buyer, according to a Jupiter Media Metrix report, "Kiosks, Empowering Customers to Close the Sale."

Although kiosk technology has been available for almost two decades, it's only been over the course of the past several years that such diverse retailers as Kmart, Crate and Barrel, Gap, Barnes & Noble, 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart and Staples have begun widespread implementation of the devices to help their customers with everything from purchasing out-of-stock and gift registry items to obtaining product information and creating customized products.

Industry observers say the lag time is due in large part to the lowering of technology barriers. Widespread Internet usage and high-speed connections have replaced yesteryear's relatively slow laser discs and CD-ROMs, and PC costs have decreased dramatically.

"Fundamentally, the failure in the initial implementations of kiosks were in and around the technology and the deployment of the technology," says Nelson Gomez, general manager for kiosks at Dayton, Ohio-based NCR.

"The connotations of kiosks in the industry are, 'Temporarily out of order' or 'Please see clerk' -- very bad connotations. That was primarily around the technology that was originally implemented," Gomez continues. "Today, we've had the fortune of technology advances that have enabled us to provide high availability and highly reliable kiosks with management systems that allow us to remotely detect and understand exactly the state of the device."

Despite such advancements, however, retailers must still jump several hurdles to attain successful kiosk implementation. While 77 percent of consumers have noticed kiosks in stores and 41 percent have used one, the Jupiter Media Metrix report also found that of those consumers who have not used a kiosk, 76 percent avoided them because the devices were unable to provide any service they needed at the time.

"This has to be integrated properly. It has to be part of an overall strategy for the retailer that says that this is just another channel or another information portal for the customer to access my value proposition as a retailer," explains Bob Henshaw, business line manager for retail POS and kiosk hardware at IBM. "If it doesn't have that integration, it'll fail."

KID MAGNET
Parallel with the technology advancements that have helped retailers increase their kiosk usage, consumers -- especially younger consumers -- have become more familiar with kiosk-type technology. A recent U.S. Census Bureau report, entitled "Home Computers and Internet Use in the United States: August 2000," indicates that nine out of 10 school-age children (6 to 17 years old) had access to a computer during 2000.

Such data is not lost on Vans, a Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based retailer of branded, active-lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories aimed at the youth market of skateboarders, in-line skaters and BMX freestyle riders. At the merchant's 150 stores, customers typically are in their 20s or 30s and are both computer and Internet savvy.

That tech savvy increases among customers at the merchant's eight skateparks, a hybrid of retail store, entertainment venue and alternative sports arena, where the average customer is a 14-year-old male. Vans currently operates eight skateparks, with another four under construction. In addition to the skate areas, the parks offer lounge areas with customized videos, custom-built furniture and a bank of eight kiosks.

"We call it a kid magnet," says Neil Lyons, president of retail stores for Vans. "It's actually a retail footwear, apparel and accessory store. It has a full-service pro-shop that sells over 500 skateboards, all the way down to nuts and bolts. We sell bicycles, BMX bikes, helmets, pads, anything that goes into the sports."

Like some other retailers that have created a lifestyle around their products, Vans is a culture, says Lyons. "We built everything we do around alternative sports," he explains. "We're not a fashion company. We're an athletic company. Our shoes are influenced and signatured by pro skateboarders, bikers, motocross riders, surfers -- all those people. That culture builds around our products."

In addition to e-commerce, the Vans touchscreen kiosks include information on sports, events, tours, athletes, contests, music and other items of interest to customers. Providing Vans shoppers with such information is vital, Lyons says.

"We're a Generation Y company. Kids are our business. Unless you're in touch with the Internet and have a huge Internet site, you're not in touch with kids," says Lyons. "We want to bring that image of Vans to those kids, and the best possible way to do it is to give a kid the opportunity to walk into one of our stores or our skateparks, go into the Vans website and see what we're up to and what we're all about."

While Vans only recently began the roll-out of new kiosks supplied by Broomfield, Colo.-based Kiosk Information Systems, the retailer has actually been using kiosks for much longer. They were custom-built and bulky, however, and involved a process that Lyons says finally became too labor- and cost-intensive. "First of all, they were ugly. Second, we were buying way too many. We needed to go to an expert," Lyons notes, recalling how the merchant first came to work with KIS.

In addition to the skateparks, the KIS kiosks are being rolled out to the retailer's traditional stores. Vans' in-house IT staff handles upkeep of the units. "When we go out to the parks and open them, we have an IT team that goes out and makes sure that they're all unpacked and ready to go," says Lyons. "We also have a manual in the stores and a hotline number to call. We don't like things to go down -- it's very negative. If they have a problem, all they do is call the hotline and they bring it back up."

Vans is using one of the standard KIS kiosk designs: the slim, simple and metal KT-110 Stealth kiosk. "It fits their image, fits the type of thing that they're looking for, the types of transactions they plan to conduct, the types of applications they plan to use. It just worked," says KIS president Rick Malone.

'THREE-TAIL' GLUE
Internet-based kiosks like those installed by Vans are becoming integral to the overall retail strategy, according to Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates, a Rockville, Md.-based kiosk consulting firm.

"It's sort of the glue of retailing, three-tailing as someone put it -- catalog, web and bricks-and-mortar. Kiosks really transcend all those. I consider it the glue of three-tailing," she says. "By itself, could it stand alone? Not really. It's got to be tied in."

At KIS, Malone foresees a time when retail kiosk integration will virtually reach a store fixture level. But he also cautions that kiosks are not the next retail revolution. "I don't think that kiosks can be taken in the same light as retailers and the dot-com economy of a couple years ago like it's going to take over the world. It's simply a supplemental tool that retailers can use to improve their operations," he says.

It's precisely because of the need to properly and carefully integrate retail kiosks that some implementations have failed, and industry pundits predict more such failures. Indeed, says Raymond Burke, a researcher at Indiana University's Center for Education and Research in Retailing, retailers have been struggling for years to develop a kiosk application as compelling as the ATM, which is considered by many to be the grandfather of all kiosks.

The most successful applications, notes Burke, have been those that increase shopping convenience by solving a problem, such as checking product inventory or prices and ordering items. But because kiosks can do so many different things, he adds, retailers are sometimes tempted to do too much.

"One of the areas where retailers could do a better job of implementing retail technology is in understanding how the consumer shops the store and tailoring the kiosk applications to the stage of the purchase process that the consumer is in," Burke explains. "The kind of application that might work well in a dressing room is going to be different than the application you have as the consumer enters the store."

Most industry experts agree with Burke's assessment that retailers need to conduct market tests of various kiosk applications to ensure a successful and larger roll-out that provides definite consumer value, while also providing various in-store kiosks tailored to immediate consumer needs. Both are made possible by the falling price of kiosk technology and shrinking of the typical device's footprint.

"You start with a few, and you get the kinks out," explains Mendelsohn. "You need to be flexible, you need to understand that what you think is the killer application, the public might not. You have to be able to swallow your pride and go with what the customer dictates, what they've shown is of value to them."

ONGOING EVOLUTION
At NCR, Gomez applies the adage "measure twice, cut once" to kiosk implementations. "Do your planning up front, get buy-in, and make sure you have a strong business model around the first-out application," he advises.

"I truly believe that kiosk technology will be, from a retailer's perspective, one of the major points of differentiation in the shopping experience. It will be a competitive advantage," Gomez continues, adding that a retailer's initial application needs to pave the way to a successful implementation.

"This is going to be continuum and an evolution. It's not going to happen overnight," Gomez cautions. "You'll have first-out applications that can warrant the investment in the technology and the infrastructure, and then you'll see an overlay function of additional applications on a specific device."

One company that has developed several unique kiosk applications is Netplex Systems, an Edmond, Okla.-based provider of industry-specialized business system solutions. In 1999, Netplex worked with the now defunct Custom Shop to develop an application that allows for custom design of shirts via Internet-based kiosks. Unfortunately, two weeks prior to completion, the retailer filed for bankruptcy. "That left Netplex holding the bag," recalls Larry Davenport, senior vice president and general manager at Netplex.

The silver lining, however, was that Netplex retained ownership rights to the application. Since then, the company has renamed the application and is marketing it to other component-driven customers. "When you go to build a shirt, for example, you have the ability to choose from a variety of colors, materials, collar settings, pockets, cuffs, whether you want it monogrammed, the buttons you want, do you want a tailored look, a blousy look, a suit-type of shirt and so on," explains Davenport.

"Now this application extends itself to, for example, a bicycle manufacturer that may want sell bicycles over the Internet. They could use the same basic engine, but instead of having a collar, they may have different types of wheels or different types of calipers for the brakes," he continues. "It's a component-driven engine now as opposed to being purely customized, tailored clothing."

Netplex has several prospects interested in the application, according to Davenport. In addition, a number of retailers and cosmetics manufacturers are looking into the company's Kiosmetics application, which allows consumers to interact with a kiosk to select and purchase cosmetics based on their personal input. Users can peruse favorite brands, select their season and enter information on hair and eye color, skin tone and type, and wardrobe style and color. The kiosk then produces a list of cosmetic recommendations.

The Kiosmetics application is still being developed. "The skin tone is one piece of it. What has to fall out of that, in order for it to be something that is extremely attractive for a consumer, is the tie-in from that skin tone back to a specific foundation color, for example," notes Davenport, adding that with any single cosmetics manufacturer, there may exist many different foundation derivatives.

"Somebody has to write the parameters that say, 'When it's this specific skin tone, it goes to this specific foundation model number,'" Davenport continues. "You have to get the manufacturer's involvement in that and their willingness to participate. At the same time, you're getting a retailer to say, 'Yes I want to put it in my retail stores.'"

pdf link

link: http://www.ncr.com/repository/articles/store_automation/sa_stores_oct01.htm

Posted by Craig at 03:42 PM

October 29, 2003

Circuit City, Sears lead in study of in-store pickup

Circuit City Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. stood out among the other surveyed retailers due to their personalized service, it says.

story link

Circuit City, Sears lead in study of in-store pickup

Although only half of stores surveyed had online-ordered products available for same-day pickup, multi-channel retailers are showing strong execution of in-store pickup services, according to a study by The E-Tailing Group Inc. Circuit City Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. stood out among the other surveyed retailers due to their personalized service, it says.

"Overall we found that this feature was very well executed," said Lauren Freedman, president of The E-Tailing Group, which surveyed ten retailers. She added that retailers pick-up locations were clearly designated, and that pick-up transactions typically took under five minutes to complete. For 9 out of the 10 retailers surveyed, she added, ordered items were readily available at the pick-up area as scheduled.

Among Circuit Citys strong points: Merchandise was ready for pick-up the same day; dedicated staff processed pick-ups; the store pick-up area was easy to find; and it allows 14 days to pick up merchandise.

E-Tailing cited Sears for the self-service kiosk it provides in the customer pick-up area. After the customer types in her phone number, a screen shows the order to be picked up. When an e-tailing researcher tested the system, the kiosk noted on its screen that the order would be ready in less than five minutes and promised a discount on a future purchase if it took longer than 5 minutes. "The associate came out less than four minutes later with the item," E-Tailing says. It adds that Sears had e-mailed an order confirmation explaining how to pick up the order with detailed instructions on how to use the kiosk.

While only 5 of the 10 surveyed retailers had the ordered items available for same-day pickup, it the average wait among the other stores was seven days, the study found. It also found that 8 of the 10 retailers e-mailed a notification advising that the ordered product was available for pick-up; of those, 75% included store hours and 63% included pick-up processing instructions.

The survey also noted that half of the retailers e-mailed customers about the number of days that a product would be held for pick-up, and that the average number of days was 10.75. Four of the 10 retailers provided a separate designated pick-up area, while three provided pick-up at a cash register and three at a customer service area.

Freedman offers the following checklist for providing best-in-class store pick-up of online orders:
1. Train your personnel in how your store pick-up process works;
2. Make it free to deliver the product to the store;
3. Provide clear and intuitive instructions on how the pick-up process will work: how many days the product will be held along with the store location including store hours and phone number;
4. State allowable time frame to pick-up merchandise on Web; in email confirmation and allow for a reasonable number of days to pick-up once customer has been notified (14 days);
5. Alert customers by email when merchandise is ready for store pick-up;
6. Follow-up with subsequent store pick-up email reminders;
7. Have at minimum a designated customer service area for pick-ups and adequately man those counters with trained personnel;
8. Store packages in a specific location known to all customer service personnel;
9. Encourage shoppers to make additional purchases while visiting the store;
10. Facilitate an easy return should the merchandise not be right for the customer.


Posted by Craig at 08:48 PM

October 25, 2003

Home Depot tries to cut waiting times

Home Depot is taking steps to streamline the checkout process at its stores.

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Home Depot tries to cut waiting times

By TONY WILBERT
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Local contractor Tony McAllister likes shopping at Home Depot, but he says the checkout process can be frustrating.

Sometimes lines are too long because cashiers are scarce, says McAllister, who shops various Home Depots several times a week. At other times, it's hard to maneuver carts of bulky building materials through the checkout lanes.

So it pleases him that Home Depot is taking steps to streamline the checkout process at its stores.

"That would be a great idea," McAllister said, "especially when you have a big old stack of lumber and three or four carts."

The Atlanta-based company kicked off its program to improve "front-end," or checkout, efficiency late last year, when it began installing self-serve checkout stations. Self-serve checkout is now available at about 750 Home Depot locations, including 22 in metro Atlanta.

The next steps to shave seconds off of customer wait times include installing cordless scan guns and touch-screen registers. The scan guns are used to read price codes attached to items and can be used for customers standing in line, while the touch screens are aimed at speeding up cashiers' work.

Committing time and money to reduce long checkout lines is important as Home Depot strives to improve customer service and fend off archrival Lowe's, retail analysts said.

The money Home Depot spends on the technological upgrades will pay off if it leads to better service, said Michael Baker, an analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities.

"It's an important initiative," Baker said. "The key is to improve customer satisfaction. If it does reduce customer checkout time and increase accuracy, yes, it would improve customer satisfaction."

Service complaints

Complaints about customer service have dogged Home Depot, especially since it increased the percentage of part-time workers more than a year ago. The company has since returned to using more full-time workers, who tend to be more knowledgable about home improvement issues than their part-time counterparts.

Moreover, Lowe's has stressed customer satisfaction and has been helped by the perception that its service is better than Home Depot's.

While Home Depot doesn't agree with that perception, it continues to find ways to improve its customer service. The company's latest front-end changes will work in conjunction with self-checkout lanes to reduce waiting times, said Troy Rice, senior vice president of operations.

"This is just a rollout of all these components into an integrated strategy for us," Rice said. "This isn't about a new [point-of-sale] system or about self-checkout. It's about a combination of things working together to really transform the front end of our stores."

Home Depot refused to say how much it is spending on self-checkout stations, cordless scanners and touch-screen registers. But Rice said the expenses are part of $360 million the company will spend on information technology this year.

The new initiatives will further separate Home Depot from Lowe's. North Carolina-based Lowe's does not have self-checkout, touch-screen registers or cordless scan guns, spokeswoman Chris Ahearn said. The company is evaluating whether to eventually install self-checkout stations, she said.

"We're still investigating technology options for our customers," Ahearn said.

The cordless scanners that Home Depot plans to install in all its stores by next spring will incorporate two-way communication that will allow cashiers to ring up merchandise for customers waiting in line.

The scan guns will display items that are rung up and send the information to the cash register. Cashiers then will return to the register, hit a "complete" button, collect payment and send the customer on his way.

Other large retailers use one-way cordless scanners that send information to the register but do not display what has been rung up on the scanner itself. Rice calls them "dumb guns."

Just touch the screen

The new touch-screen registers will save time because they will virtually eliminate the need for price-list books currently used at Home Depot. Cashiers will find prices by touching electronic icons on the register's screen.

"Instead of having the big black cashier look-up book they have on the register today, which takes an average of 23 seconds to look up one item, cashiers can find items right there on the register," Rice explained. "It's going to help cut down on wait time, absolutely."

Instead of having to physically amend the price books, Home Depot will be able to change prices and add items electronically across the company on a monthly basis, Rice said.

As for self-checkout stations, Home Depot plans to have them in 800 stores by year end.

At stores with self-checkout, customers should see shorter lines and a reduction in waiting times of as much as 30 percent, the company said.

But the kinks still need to be worked out, contractor McAllister said.

"I always have a hassle with self-checkout," he said. "It seems easier for me to go to a clerk. And at certain Home Depots, they never have enough clerks."

Posted by Craig at 04:37 PM

October 10, 2003

McD franchisee in Colorado Experiment

McDonalds in Colorado Springs employing several innovative ways to provide more efficient customer service including internet kiosks.

McD franchisee in Colo. routing orders through call center
SunTimes Article


October 9, 2003

BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter

A McDonald's restaurant operator in Colorado is funneling customers' orders through a telephone call center to improve service speed and accuracy.

Here's how it works: Customers at six McDonald's restaurants in Colorado Springs, Colo., call in their orders on telephones sitting on each table.

The employees at the call center electronically relay the orders, as well as orders made at the drive-through, to the appropriate restaurant's kitchen. The orders appear on a screen in the kitchen, and identify the table or car where the order originated.

Inside the restaurants, McDonald's employees take the orders to the tables and collect payment. Customers at the drive-through pay for their orders and pick them up as they always have.

A seventh McDonald's restaurant, this one in Brainerd, Minn., recently set up the high-speed data line necessary to run its customer orders through the Colorado Springs call center.

Though the call center employs as many as eight workers -- it reaches a peak during busy times -- the system halves the 35 to 40 cents in costs that a restaurant normally incurs to take a customer order at the counter, said Craig Tengler, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Exit 41, an Andover, Mass.-based firm that supplies the system's software.

The call-center workers are trained to urge customers to buy more, so an average order is 10 to 15 cents greater under the new system than an order taken at the counter, Tengler said Wednesday.

Corporate executives in Oak Brook are impressed enough by Colorado Springs franchisee Steve Bigari's idea to expand the call-center test to as many as four additional restaurants by early 2004, said McDonald's spokesman Bill Whitman.

"We see that it has some potential to help reduce customer wait time," Whitman said, declining to release numbers. "It also reduces order time."

Those are magic words to McDonald's, which has consistently ranked at the bottom of customer service surveys and consistently lagged in speed-of-service surveys. CEO Jim Cantalupo, who took over in January, has begun efforts to grade each restaurant's quality and hold the managers accountable.

Bigari could not be reached for comment, but Tengler said Bigari intends to expand the initiative to include cell phones. It's hoped that by early next year, customers will be able to call in orders on their cell phones, with those calls also being routed to the call center, Tengler said.

One possibility is to let a customer hit a number on his cell phone to relay his most frequent order, without having to say anything.

The Colorado Springs restaurants already have set up new drive-through services to speed order times and improve accuracy.

Digital cameras are set up at the drive-throughs to take a photo of each car. The photo is matched to the order that the driver made.

The restaurants also feature new Zoom-throughs.

The Zoom-through drive-throughs have no menu boards, so customers must know what they want. Customers place their order, swipe a credit card, bypass the drive-through line, and pick up their orders at a window separate from the normal drive-through pickup window.

Plans call for a Virtual Zoom-through sometime in the future, in which customers would call in their orders and the payment would be deducted from a prepaid McDonald's card.

The Colorado Springs restaurants also each have an Internet kiosk, and most tables have Internet access hookups.

Separately, McDonald's announced Wednesday it will provide its New York, New Jersey and Connecticut customers with literature and information on how to order their favorite McDonald's food and still stay on a low-fat, low-calorie or low-carbohydrate diet.

The program, to start in January, is part of McDonald's "Real Life Choices" initiative. It is being created in part by nutritionist and wellness coach Pamela Smith.

Posted by Craig at 05:31 PM

September 02, 2003

KIS and McDonalds

KIS delivering POS kiosks for McDonalds

McDonald's takes a closer step to self-serve
Updated: 7/25/2003 9:58 AM
By: Cle Pickett & Web Staff


If you've visited one McDonald's in Research Triangle Park lately, chances are you've been asked to place your own order and pay for it using a new high-tech kiosk.

"You see it everywhere, whether it's pay at the pump or self-checkout at the grocery stores, self check-in at airports so it's only natural that we would offer customers the option to place their order the way they would like at McDonald's as well," said McDonald.s representative Darnell Crews.

Seven Triangle McDonald's are testing out the self-service kiosk. How much customers use it and whether or not they like it will help the fast-food giant decide if the machine stays or goes.

"This is a very technologically savvy area and it's just a very nice fit we think to test something like this," said Crews.

And so far, the Triangle has given the kiosk a big thumbs up.



WATCH THE VIDEO


McDonald's takes a closer step to self-serve

Long lines could be a thing of the past at some Triangle McDonald's restaurants. Thanks to technology, customers can order and pay for their food at a click of a button.


Customer Melanie Lyons says she felt more in control of her order when she used the kiosk. "Just telling the person behind the counter what you want...sometimes they don't get it right,. the mother of two said.

Others say they got their order faster when they stood in line. "You've got the chicken nuggets, the Big Macs, the drinks everything just right there in front of you," said customer Lee Hopkins.

But not everyone thinks the kiosk is so cool. Jeffrey Pinnix would rather give his money to a person than a machine. "I hadn't seen a change machine yet that didn't give you trouble sooner or later,. said Pinnix. .It'll jam up and cause more trouble and frustration than just handing your money too somebody."


The self-serve menu

McDonald's expects to test the kiosks here in the Triangle for about three months. But it could be awhile before customers see them in stores across the country.

And, of course, McDonald's says it will continue to give customers the option of placing their orders the old-fashioned way.

http://rdu.news14.com/media/2003/7/25/images/01_mcds_selfserve2.jpg

Posted by Craig at 03:23 PM