Keeping the technology in your store up to date has many benefits, according to Kristine Moore, retail technology channel manager at Henderson Technology. "It allows your store to provide a more efficient customer service experience, it provides your company with more security within the site and much more visibility and control of your store, and technology is always evolving, which allows your store to be kept up to date with the latest trends and customer demands."

Henderson Technology is part of the wholesale/retail Henderson Group in Northern Ireland, servicing more than 430 stores, 90 of which are company-owned.

"Henderson Technology is the only epos company which actually uses its software in its own business," says Moore. "This gives us a perspective that no other epos company can have as our retail business drives the development of EDGEPoS forward, along with our 90 sites in Australia and other sites now in England, Scotland and Wales.

In Northern Ireland, Henderson Technology supplies, installs, supports and maintains all Spar, EuroSpar and Vivo branded stores with the latest hardware and EDGEPoS software.

"Each store is kitted out with the latest partner tills and HP back-office equipment, with a 60-month cycle of hardware upgrade. Additional equipment, including the newly launched EDGEPoS self-checkout till and the EDGEPoS Queue Buster tablet till can be added," she explains.

Philip Stinson, area manager for Port Rodie Service Station, Stranraer, says: "Working with Henderson Technology has allowed us to upgrade all 10 stores with the latest hardware; we have EDGEPoS in all of the stores now. The benefits this brings to us are infinite. Compared to our old system, EDGEPoS allows me to run all stores from one central location. The front end tills require minimal training and the back office, although comprehensive, is extremely easy to navigate and provides me with all the information I need to run the businesses smoothly."

Another satisfied customer, Alison Grattage, retail store manager for Kegworth Service Station, Derby, says: "From having EDGEPoS installed in 2017, our cashiers have found the system incredibly easy to use and the transaction speeds are much quicker than our last system."

Moore says that when considering epos for your store, you should look at operational efficiency, what security and safeguards does the system bring to your store, and lastly business development how can technology help you to grow your business?

"EDGEPoS covers all three of these areas with features such as self-populating PLUs, scheduled reports, advanced age check, fuel, Paypoint and EFT integration, audit trails, in-store coupons and upselling trigger messages."

As well as the aforementioned EDGEPoS Queue Buster tablet till and EDGEPoS self-checkout, the technology caters for mobile payments, namely BPme and Zapper integration and various EDGEPoS collaborations, such as Azpiral Loyalty and ADC link.

Full training is provided when the EDGEPoS system is installed with refresher training courses scheduled in advance for upgrades and software releases.

Also, reacting to the growing trend in food-to-go, Henderson Technology has launched an EDGEPoS Café module that bolts onto its EDGEPoS retail software solution. The system allows for sit-in and take-away service with separation for kitchen printing.

One-stop solution

HTEC says it offers a one-stop-shop solution, which covers all aspects of epos, loyalty and payments for both the forecourt and convenience sectors. Sales and marketing director, Dave Mackay, says HTEC’s solutions offer unique features, which enhance the user experience. "These include camera integration into the pos to monitor transactions and playback if queries are raised as well as HTEC’s Andromeda solution, which has been designed to give customers full control over their forecourts. This solution has links to local and central drive-off databases for vehicle registration monitoring and locking out the pump for any suspect vehicles."

He says HTEC is continually working with its customers to improve the functionality of its systems. "This year alone we have added several enhancements, including: Sage integration; CCTV imaging; enhanced promotion handling; additional supplier links; and the Ubamarket self-scanning app."

Ubamarket provides retailers with their own white label ’scan and go’ in-store app, with a shopping list feature. It’s described as a "high-tech, low-cost solution that’s simple to implement and revolutionises the shopping experience". The app fully integrates into HTEC’s pos and self-checkout systems.

"We are always looking for new solutions which improve in-store experiences," says Mackay. "Another example is our suggested ordering algorithm, which is based on specific days trading rather than simply averaging weekly sales. This provides a far more accurate suggested order and ensures customers are not left with excess stock they are not likely to sell over the next few days."

Says Mackay: "We have an extensive in-house development team who are continually enhancing our product suite, ensuring our customers are meeting the challenging demands of their customers.

"Our support team offers 24/7 support and a bespoke web platform where customers can log issues, receive notifications and monitor call statuses. Our key objective is to always ensure customers can continue to trade with minimal disruption."

Steve Watts, sales director at TSG UK (exclusive partners for Tokheim products), is full of praise for Tokheim Fuel Pos. "Tokheim Fuel Pos is the industry-specialist pos solution that has been chosen by oil companies and thousands of independent service stations across Europe to help run their businesses more effectively. It combines an easy-to-use touchscreen interface with powerful management and analytical software tools. It allows you to connect seamlessly with all other systems on your service station including dispensers, indoor and outdoor payment, fully integrated CCTV, tank-level gauges, price pole sign, back ofce and car wash. Many of these solutions such as Tokheim Eye CCTV can also be supplied by TSG."

He says Tokheim Fuel Pos has all of the functionality that you’d expect from an advanced pos system but with a simple-to-use cashier interface with clear icons, audible alerts, pop-up windows, and carefully designed touchscreen layouts to ensure a quick and smooth sales process for customers.

"In a retail environment where customers expect to be rewarded for loyalty, Tokheim Fuel Pos has a range of clever applications to help improve your sales including e-vouchers, loyalty, discounts (coupons/vouchers), promotions and fuel bonus applications."

There are three software releases a year.

"Retailers like Tokheim Fuel Pos because of its simplicity and powerful reporting that ensures the retailer can keep track of sales. The system also allows retailers the flexibility to target key sales strategies in an attempt to gain better margins," says Watts.

Gaining traction

Orbis Tech may be a relative newcomer in the fuel retail epos space in the UK and Ireland, but it is established elsewhere in the world. The company’s marketing manager, Darren Brown, says it has quickly gained traction and acceptance because of a high functionality focus in the retail convenience and food-to-go hospitality arena.

"The first thing about Orbis Software is that it includes all the functionality to run forecourt, retail convenience and hospitality sales in one system," he explains.

"Most epos systems have been originally developed around a traditional fuel forecourt and while they may be able to deal with wet-stock management control and c-store stock management, they don’t go into recipe management of fresh food offerings, for example."

Brown says the need for recipe management can be seen even in a simple fast-moving hospitality line, such as fresh coffee, where a regular latte, for example, may use so many millilitres of semi-skimmed milk.

"This milk needs to be deducted from the forecourt’s stock, the same stock that is often sold in one-pint, two-pint and four-pint bottles over the counter. This has led to customers needing more than one solution to deal with problems which come with multiple databases, data integrity and then importantly missing accurate and timely management business analytics."

Brown says the second reason to choose Orbis Software is the system architecture, as the pos, back-office software and head-office software are all on one single software platform with the back and head office running on thin ’web’ client architecture on the cloud. "As a result, this negates the need for expensive IT server infrastructure on each site, instead site managers can access the back-office system via an internet browser. All the forecourt retailer needs on site are the tills, and management can log into the Orbis back-office on a browser from anywhere using a PC or tablet."

The third reason for choosing Orbis is reduced costs. The software is on the cloud, and support and upgrades are secure and quick, which means it can be offered for sale in a SaaS (Software as a Service) model.

Much is often made of the fact that epos gives retailers access to tons of valuable data but are retailers actually accessing it and using it? "Yes and no," is the answer from Brown. "Most fuel retailers should certainly look at investing more in training; while although many use the data correctly they sometimes do not use all the data available," he says.

"When an epos system is commissioned the retailer begins trading with it using a process to ensure smooth operational running of their business. The fuel retailer’s management often leave training at that." Brown says this then fails to explore all the other rich functionality that a new epos system can provide. "Often this requires refresher training or even a series of workshops where the epos vendor updates the fuel retailer on new features, integrations and functionality that they could benefit from going forwards."

Watts at TSG adds: "The key thing that retailers tend to miss is the amount of functionality at their finger tips and quite often they will only use 10% of a system’s functionality. We at TSG pride ourselves on offering training courses and even remote training modules so that retailers can learn new parts of the system that are designed to help them improve profitability."

Mackay at HTEC adds: "Having vast amounts of data is fundamentally key to driving any business forward but this information is less powerful if it can’t be accessed quickly, efficiently and, most importantly, easily. Both our back-office and head-office databases are based on industry-leading technology, ensuring that vast amounts of data are stored in the most easily accessible way possible."

Retailer advantage

Oyslans director Bala Kumaran says the main advantage of his company’s epos system is that it has been developed by a forecourt retailer who has 20 years’ experience.
"The main objective of the system was to address the issues faced by forecourt retailers. This means Oyslans epos can handle prepay/postpay fuel transactions, cashback, refunds, shop sales, payments, local account sales, discounts, paid outs, fuel delivery capturing, tank reading and much more.
"In particular, it’s been designed to operate multiple payment terminals from one single pos unit. Our development team is regularly working on advance technologies and customer feedback based-changes, which will be updated to each site."
Kumaran says the system is easy to use: "Users don’t require any technical knowledge; any cashier can learn it and use it within a few minutes."
Oyslans epos is available as a full package, which covers forecourt controller, epos unit, OPOS devices and back office unit all at a great price. "We are providing a price-beating guarantee for forecourts that no other competitor can match," he says.

The winners’ choice

At least two previous Forecourt Trader of the Year award winners have opted for CBE’s FutaTill in their stores. Patrick Sewell, managing director of Sewell Retail Group, says his company spent over two years researching the epos market before selecting the CBE FutaTill. "It has everything that we need for our system ambitions not only now but also in the future," he says.
And David Charman, owner of Parkfoot Garage, says: "I have worked with a number of epos systems over the years but the CBE FutaTill package is the most comprehensive I have seen to date."
CBE describes the FutaTill, which was designed with input from many hundreds of users, as ’intuitive’. It’s been built to be easy to use; the company says a cashier can acquire the ability and confidence to use it quickly.
As with any modern epos application it has the functions to control stock, cash and sales. Data analytics on the back office provide reports with data analysis and decision- support tools. CBE says the software works across all parts of a modern forecourt including the food and beverage areas.
Chris Evans, business development UK at CBE, says: "The product continues to evolve in line with demand. Self-checkout is something that is getting operators excited, providing the ability to offer an improved customer experience. We have fully embraced digital options with the use of apps for services such as BPme, Shell Fill Up & Go and Nectar along with other loyalty programmes. All are integrated and available now through CBE FutaTill software."
At least three updates are released every year.

EDGEPoS self-checkout first

Spar Loughbrickland, located between Banbridge and Newry in County Down, has recently become the first service station to install the EDGEPoS self-checkout in store. The site is owned by the Beckett brothers Aaron and Dale and Dale says they have already seen the advantages of adding self-checkout to one of their tills. "Our rush of school children mainly pay by Apple Watch or smartphone, so self-checkout has eliminated the queues on-site at this time. Our customers still have the option of being served by a cashier, in fact we employed three more local staff in the same week that we launched our self-checkout. We are able to provide both experiences to our customers, and EDGEPoS self-checkout enhances the unique and modern feel of our busy store."
Within just seven days of installing self-checkout, 5% of all store transactions were going through it and Aaron and Dale are confident that this will quickly grow to their target of 13%. The brothers are big fans of EDGEPoS, which they use across their four sites. Dale says: "When we were approached to purchase our second and third sites in Lisbane and Glenarm Road, they had third-party epos systems in, and we knew that we could not work with these systems. Once both sites were rebranded under the Henderson Group, we had EDGEPoS installed."
Aaron says everything is well laid out on the till: "The PLU buttons are self-populating, even down to the household fuel buttons. When a customer purchases two bags of coal, there is an automatic upsell message, for the cashier to remind the customer to buy one more bag and receive a discount."

Certas chooses Orbis Tech

Certas Energy has chosen Orbis Tech’s epos solution for the six Gulf-branded forecourts it recently purchased from David Taylor in South Wales.
The roll-out, which is already under way, will increase the number of Certas sites using Orbis Tech products from 19 to 25 sites.
Orbis features web-based architecture for the back office and head office, securely hosted in the cloud. The Orbis solution removes the need for a costly local server at each forecourt and the infrastructure that goes with it.
"The shift to Orbis is a strategic business move," says Certas Energy’s retail director, Richard Billington, "because Orbis will allow us to have a single head-office, back-office and point-of-sale platform across our entire estate."
The change to Orbis will enable Certas to replace out-dated systems, improve the support process and deliver increased functionality across fuel, retail and hospitality utilising Orbis’s integrated pos, back-office and head-office system.
Orbis Tech’s UK and Ireland sales manager, Jon McCarthy, explained: "With this deployment Certas is future-proofing its forecourt retail business through technology to meet today and tomorrow’s requirements.
"We are delighted to win this contract and look forward to continuing working with Certas Energy into the future.
"Certas will continue to enjoy the benefits it can achieve across its estate from meeting increasing consumer demands for convenience, including; fuel, coffee, food-to-go, groceries and other retail offerings."