The traditional EPOS terminal has hardly changed in 30 years, and is still primarily a very large calculator with a cash drawer, some back office software and a method for taking card payments. Casio Electronics Co are now looking very carefully at the overall customer experience in the high street and how the EPOS business solution can positively improve this. Dr Guy Boxall, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Casio Electronics, explains that “it is now time for change as the high street fights back, and intelligent retailing makes a difference to how we serve, and keep our high street customers. Good customer service leads to greater loyalty and the sharing of this positive experience with other consumers through social networking.”
The launch of Casio’s new Android™ platform VX-100 EPOS terminal, together with further product releases during 2012, brings an exciting time to retail. Some of Casio’s new product concepts will be shown on stand 337 at the Retail Business Technology Expo, London Earls Court on 13-14th March, showing how the high street can indeed fight back.
Now the leading operating system on smart phones, taking Android™ to the retail environment is an exciting development for the industry. By adopting the Android™ operating system, the Casio VX-100 EPOS solution has a low cost of entry, there are no costly licensing fees and all development tools are free of charge. Working closely with their growing list of Android™ software application partners, Casio will make it easier for retailers to improve customer service by offering innovative apps and services, that would manage stock more carefully, facilitate links to web sites, handle PCI and PA-DSS-approved card payments and to provide paper-less receipts to your smartphone or email address. Other apps being developed for the Casio Android™ EPOS solution include the distributing and redeeming mobile coupons and gift vouchers and connecting the EPOS terminal to social media such as Twitter for flash marketing. On top of this innovation, Casio will work with its partners to provide these services for convenient monthly payments or as a pay-as-you-go facility.
The fight has started and there is no doubt that by taking up the increasing innovation that is available today and in the future, via the Casio Android™ platform; the high street has every chance of making a comeback and to retain and win back many more consumers.
We are seeing high street shops close daily. The high cost of rent, rates and increasing regulation, together with the competitive nature of the Internet makes the high street store increasingly untenable.
A shocking 14.3% of shops in the UK* were empty at the end of 2011, with some extreme retail conditions in the high street, over 30% empty in Stockport, as one of the worst examples. The number of empty shops looks set to increase again this year. The government has published research** on the high street which shows that a third of high streets are ‘degenerating or failing’. The same report predicts that by 2014, less than 40% of retail spending will be on the high street, moving away to out-of-town locations or to the internet.
So is it too late for the high street? Dr Guy Boxall says, “Certainly not, the high street as we know it has to change and now is a good time for retailers to restore the high street as a preferred shopping destination and to make a positive difference to our shopping experience.”
“There are many commentaries from retail experts; Mary Portas, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Retail Consortium have advocated many good ideas. Some of these involve more market days, free town centre parking, a reduction in trading regulations and changes in local planning.“
Evidence is certainly available to support the growth of certain types of retail establishment in the high street. In fact, charity shops, small convenience stores, pharmacists, food specialists, stationery shops and to some extent, fashion retail, are all experiencing some growth in the high street. So it’s not all bad news. But how can we help these shops expand? At Casio, we believe some of this change has to be the way in which retailers serve their customers at the Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS). Although internet retailing has many benefits, it lacks one thing; personal interaction, or good old-fashioned customer service.
“Consider some common frustrations that we all familiarise when high street shopping. The effort it takes to find if the right size and colour of shoes are in stock, usually on a Saturday afternoon, when every family in the UK are shopping for new shoes; the assistant making multiple trips to the stock room. The discount voucher that we forgot to tear out of the newspaper, only to pay full price for something we know we can probably buy for less on-line. The handbag full of paper receipts; only one is needed for the exchange or refund of an incorrect purchase, can you ever find it! A large item which needs to be home-delivered, only to be sent two floors up to arrange this at the customer services desk; the queue is never short.”
* Local Data Company High streets hit as 14% of shops stand empty February 2012
** Department For Business Innovation & Skills Understanding High Street Performance December 2011
Casio Electronics Co Ltd
Tel: 020 8450 9131