As the range of products and services offered by forecourts has increased, a wealth of new solutions is being offered by epos suppliers to handle every conceivable transaction and work seamlessly with retailers’ back-office systems. Seamus McHugh, international sales and marketing manager at CBE, says that the best of the new technology also allows retailers to curb their costs in a way that wasn’t possible in the past. He outlines ways they can do this:
Integration: eliminating the need for multiple applications/terminals to be running separately at the point of sale means all transactions can be processed on the terminal and the epos system concurrently which eliminates any human error or cashing up discrepancies;
Mobile: retailers are satisfying growing consumer demand with solutions such as BP’s BPme mobile payment app, which is integrated to the epos system for a fast, secure and convenient way for their customers to pay for fuel;
Self-Checkout (SCO): SCO is still in its infancy in the forecourt sector, however, the introduction of the cashless SCO, which offers customers a faster checkout option and has a smaller footprint could be the catalyst for a much bigger uptake in the industry; and
Automation: linking the fuel price on the system to the price pole is one such example that can save staff enormous time as the price of fuel fluctuates on a regular basis, and can produce a big saving for multi-site operators who can simply change the price of fuel at head office.
Bala-Kumaran Tambi-Aiyah, who has been a forecourt dealer since 1992 and currently owns a site in the Cotswolds, is the director of Oyslans and has developed Zynix, a pos system specially designed for the forecourt industry. It handles all transactions and is connected with a back-office system called Echo which handles stock. He says Zynix is an integrated point-of-sale solution which can handle fuel and shop sales as well as non-sale items like cash back, Pay Point, Pay Zone, and allows all kinds of payment methods such as cash, vouchers, cheque, EFT and local account cards. Unlike some competitors, he says, his system works on the latest technology, the Windows 10 64-bit operating system, giving customers greater flexibility and an operating system that will have long-term support from Microsoft. Bala says the number of sites using his system is increasing rapidly. He is aiming to have it in 500 by Easter, and adds: "I am targeting 1,000 sites by the end of 2018, and I’m confident I’ll reach my target."
EDGEPoS is another solution that highlights its origins in the independent retail sector. It was developed to meet the needs of convenience and fuel retailers served by the Henderson Group in Northern Ireland and is now used by more than 400 sites there.
P&C Services and Aspen Payments, have recently been authorised to sell and support EDGEPoS in the UK. Richard Quarmby, managing director of P&C Services, comments: "The solution will be available on a monthly ’software as a service fee’ with no upfront costs. This includes ongoing system enhancements at no additional cost." He adds that the involvement of Aspen means they are able to offer a full payment solution, along with EDGEPoS.
Meanwhile, a new epos solution has been previewed by TLM Technologies. Adrian Felton, TLM chief technologies officer, explains: "We will officially launch evoPOS in March 2018. The jewel in the crown of the Evolution product suite, evoPOS is developed exclusively for convenience and fuel. Built from the ground-up for a mobile-first world, evoPOS offers exciting new functionality like self-checkout, mobile payment, and the queue-busting capabilities of tablet epos. It will be piloted in stores over the next few months in the run-up to its official launch next year, and its development roadmap is steered by a community of retailers who participate in regular user groups with the TLM team."
TLM showed evoPOS in its early stages of development to retailers at this year’s National Convenience Show. Mike Garner of the Garner Group said: "We were extremely impressed by the demonstration, and having seen what it can do and spoken to the team about their plans for new functionality, we are looking forward to being one of the first groups to pilot the new system."
Self-service checkouts are becoming increasingly common in larger supermarkets as retailers seek to cut staff costs, but James Widdowson, group sales director at Point Four, says several issues have acted as barriers to their widespread use in forecourts. However, a new development by Point Four, ServeAssist, enables forecourt retailers operating with two or more tills to address these issues. One attendant maintains a customer-facing position behind a row of self-service checkout units, to provide interactive service as required. The attendant gains visibility of every transaction in process via a ServeAssist touchscreen, on which pump authorisations, age checks, validations and interventions are performed. Widdowson says: "Critically, the customer must enter whether they have filled up on the self-service touchscreen. This provides a record which can be used as evidence, should fraud be attempted."
Customers can select in-store services and items located behind the counter using a look-up list on the self-service touchscreen. These products and services are passed to the customer at the end of the transaction, on receipt of payment, to increase security.
Finally, to help retailers handle transactions on machines outside on the forecourt, Nayax has introduced its cashless payment system. Vpos by Nayax enables cashless payments via credit, debit and prepaid cards and mobile phone apps. A software suite allows retailers to manage and monitor machines.
Peter Cox director of PTC Supplies & Services comments: "We have deployed Nayax’s Vpos cashless payment solution on our air-vend units, in partnership with HKS Royston. This move has resulted in a significant decrease in vandalism, saving us a great amount of maintenance time and money, as well as downtime. Our customers and HKS are very happy."
HTEC starts Gempay 3 terminal roll-out
HTEC supplies a range of equipment for forecourts such as pos, tobacco dispensers and OPTs (outdoor payment terminals), and has started the roll-out of the new Gempay 3 payment solution to thousands of fuel forecourts. There are currently over 3,000 previous generation Gempay terminals in use covering some 26% of all UK forecourts. The new devices are capable of supporting the wide range of bank and oil company cards including contactless, Apple Pay and loyalty.
Paresh Patel, director of forecourt sales says: "The Gempay payment solution has been designed specifically to meet the demanding requirements of the fuel retail and convenience store sectors.
"The distinctive landscape media screen and wide access shielded keypad have been well-received by our clients wanting a modern, reliable interface to their customers. The devices look great and will be appreciated by our customers for looking modern and sleek."
One of the first forecourts to receive the Gempay 3 terminal was a Texaco site in Stockport. Usman Patel, managing director of Mabco Petroleum, said: "We have been looking forward to upgrading to Gempay 3 and our customers have been commenting on what a nice experience it is for them. It makes payments faster and means that our customers don’t have to queue. The added security is a bonus and we are reassured that our customers’ data is safe."
Certas Energy is currently rolling out Gempay 3 across its dealer network. "It’s important that we always stay abreast of new systems and technologies and implement solutions that enhance the business capabilities of our dealers," explains Colin Levy, retail operations manager, Certas Energy.
"Gempay 3 is a proven evolution that speeds up contactless and other card payment methods, offers the latest PCI level 4 compliance, and provides additional security enhancements."