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Peter Harding - retail consultant

The latest Apple event came and went launching the new Iphone 6s, new Apple TV new ios 9 and OSx El Capitan and, of course, the Ipad Pro. Having done some work with CBE on the mobile solution, I was keen to see what the Ipad Pro brought to the table.

The big fear of any mobile solution of this type is that of resilience. Portability is in no doubt and, for quite a while now, retail gurus have been pondering about the way technology will jump in mainstream retail and it is the tablet that seems to be at the forefront of people's ideas. The ability to get your sales assistants on the shopfloor and in front of customers is always key.

It's a little more difficult in the fuel sales arena, but let's look at what may happen in the near future.

I do not believe that a tablet PC on its own will have sufficient durability to offer a credible solution.

Box has launched a new mobile system, CielomOve, which is a clever hybrid solution. It will take a systems developer to utilise this in retail. But it's a good idea that will apply to many markets.

CBE has what it calls Mpos, which is probably better suited to the convenience store/fuel environment. Mpos utilises a full-size epos system and uses a cleverly constructed stand with which to offer sales. This can be sited in many areas of the store. It is a great solution for queue busting, having a small footprint and no great cost overhead.

Another solution that will encompass some of the customer attention needs is that of self-checkout. Not only has the need grown for the use of this type of device in supermarkets and larger convenience stores, but the technology has improved too. NCR now offers a hybrid system that can be both a self-checkout terminal, with full note and coin recycling, and can be switched to be a POS. This device utilises software from CBE to integrate its functions. This offers an extra POS terminal, possibly for use in those quiet times when you have more time available for sales assistants to engage with your customers. While not able to authorise pumps, these devices can read and accept the sales from the forecourt as long as you comply with forecourt visibility requirements.

There's no doubt that mobility and accessibility will play an important part of our retail future.


As the smaller/family owned independent forecourt businesses continue to be acquired by the big operators, do you think now could be the right time for you to sell up?