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PETER HARDING

07 November, 2011
retail technology consultant
Page 19 

You will be seeing more and more of this logo in the next 12 months. It indicates the acceptance of contactless payment and will be added to terminals soon. There will be some big advantages to retailers adopting this technology. Speed of payments is key and there will also be some financial benefit as the transactions accepted using contactless may well attract lower acquiring rates. Some good news, but of course the biggest downside is that the transactions will be limited to sub £15; more than this and the card will have to be used as a normal chip and pin transaction. Working out how many transactions you have with cards less than £15 will soon tell you whether there will be a benefit to your site.

Waitrose has just opened a new supermarket store in Exeter and announced a new high street Little Waitrose too! Sound familiar? While checking it out last week I noticed that they have installed a lane of self-checkouts three terminals in all. One big difference these are cashless Self Checkout (SCO) units. So, anyone wanting to avoid queues can opt for this card-only method of payment. The only company in this market that currently offers a cashless SCO is CBE, Ireland's leading systems provider. The cashless units have many benefits over the current crop of units currently available to the market: they have a much smaller footprint; are less intimidating to the customer; will work in tighter spaces; and cost less, making them affordable for the convenience store. So where you need to reduce queues they would sit perfectly as part of the payment area. CBE's offer also does not need a separate control unit, as it can be administered via a POS unit. As more shops are developed using the latest technology, it's worth considering different methods of servicing the customers who seem to be getting more frustrated by having to queue.

There is firm evidence that the self-checkout method offers its own payback in the form of speedier transactions. Where installed in Ireland they are seeing a 30% uptake in customer use, the result being that with shorter queues, the staff should have more time to engage with customers. Old and young have taken readily to their ease of use.