Forecourt epos technology is undergoing a high-octane makeover to maximise potential sales within the highly-regulated fuel and convenience environment because margins on petrol and diesel have become so slim, according to John Lewis, the new convenience and fuel manager for retail software provider PCMS.

Lewis, who has worked in the forecourt and convenience market for more than 25 years, said that convenience goods represent the real profit centre for forecourts, while fuel continues to make up the majority of the volume. To overcome this challenge, fuel retailers need to maximise the trade and margin from their non-fuel sales utilising the footfall that the forecourt creates.

In response, PCMS has developed fuel and forecourt functionality into its Vision BeanStore technology that is said to seamlessly centralise control for single sites through to national chains with multiple sites in order for them to develop and maintain sales growth of their convenience offering both on and off forecourt sites.

Existing point-of-sale equipment in the forecourt industry has been almost exclusively developed from fuel systems, said Lewis who added that this is the first solution to enter the market that comes from a grocery and convenience background.

Vision BeanStore’s functionality includes full promotion management, margin and stock control along with total transparency of stock for the identification and reduction of shrinkage.

PCMS has extensive experience in the broader retail environment. Their range, which includes comprehensive management reporting, integrated head office and back office functionality through their Vision Enterprise solution, is already relied upon by some of the most influential and successful retail businesses in the UK as well as around the world.

“Margins in the fuel business remain under constant pressure as customers shop around for better deals, but there is considerable scope for greater profitability through the convenience offering which BeanStore can help lift,” said Lewis.

“Many forecourt operators have developed into multiple sites operations and Vision Beanstore gives them full stock visibility and control, something they have been crying out for in recent years.”

PCMS is planning to pilot a number of sites in the UK ready for a rollout in late summer. “Forecourts typically have four fuel products on sale, all of which are heavily regulated, while the convenience section has multiple products in a variety of areas,” said Lewis. “Historically, forecourts have not had the tools to manage this section efficiently and optimise their sales potential. However, switching is straightforward with the pos operation being simple and instinctive.

“We recognise this as a major growth area for the industry over the next few years as it will make the forecourt business more profitable and life a lot easier for the staff working in often highly-pressurised environments.”