The Future of Blockchain in Retail

Written by: Michael K. Spencer

According to leading retail news publication, Retail Dive, blockchain will drive $164 billion in efficiencies for retail by 2030. The press release by IHS Markit defines business value as the cost savings and efficiencies resulting from incorporating blockchain into business strategies.

According to a Spring 2018 report by Deloitte, blockchain’s adoption in retail will also be at a tipping-point in the next five years. Deloitte sees this occurring especially in three main pillars of adoption:

  • Consumer — Improving and protecting the consumer experience
  • Supply chain — Improving process efficiencies across the supply chain
  • Payments and contracts — Improving transaction processes and ensuring the validity and implementation of contracts

While this provides a nice overview of mainstream adoption, it doesn’t take into consideration all the specialized blockchain startups that are seeking to impact a particular niche.

Recently, a corporate startup called Bakkt was announced where the likes of even Starbucks is a major partner. This has the retail and crypto community buzzing over if we’ll be able to pay for a Starbucks drink with cryptocurrencies such as ETH (Ethereum), XLM (Stellar), XRP (Ripple) or another crypto.

What makes this news noteworthy is since Bakkt is being formed by Intercontinental Exchange — the trading colossus that owns the New York Stock Exchange and other global marketplaces, namely Jeffrey Sprecher and his partner Kelly Loeffler. With the likes of Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group involved, the retail applications here could be enormous.

This could be a “Bakkt to the future” story for crypto in retail, where Starbucks on ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) combine forces. However, for blockchain in retail, the patents are where the real action is occurring, where the likes of Alibaba (the e-commerce giant) is a leader for blockchain patents with long-term implications in retail.

Deloitte’s report suggests that for blockchain’s future in retail, before 2020 many large retailers and businesses are quickly determining what value blockchain might hold for them, and have —or will begin—testing it soon, to benefit greatly while others will surely miss out and fall behind. Major retail chains now need not only to think about e-commerce, but the next layer of the internet, blockchain.

According to the forecast by IHS Markit, in the worst “downside” case scenario for the future of blockchain in retail, still sees this value increasing to $49 billion by 2030. To put this figure in perspective, the business value of blockchain in 2017 for retail and e-commerce was only $38 million.

Bakkt’s CEO describes it as the following:

“Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant, and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security, and utility.”

Merchant and consumer participation definitely sounds like retail. Many analysts believe Bakkt is an example of—and which the ICE can offer— something the crypto world currently lacks and that many crypto enthusiasts steadfastly reject: a trusted third party. How cryptocurrencies might integrate into retail will require these trusted and centralized businesses to get involved to help spur innovation in the space.

This signals Wall St. and larger investors that are starting to enter the cryptocurrency and blockchain landscape and while retail has been slow to follow; in the 2020s this movement could accelerate considerably as more use cases come into being including IBM’s private blockchain consortium. In 2018 a rapid rise of crypto funds and Wall St.’s more active involvement means it will spur on the retail sector to integrate with blockchain solutions that ultimately won’t just decrease costs and improve efficiencies, but improve customer experiences.

 

 

The Amazing Retail Machine

See the best of modern retail come together at NRF Retail’s Big Show, with displays from Star Micronics, Vend, and Vantiv

It’s almost that time.
With over 600 exhibitors, 18,000 retailers and 35,000 attendees from 95 countries, NRF truly is Retail’s, BIG Show. All of our partners will be there debuting something pretty special – The Amazing Retail Machine — and we’re giving away an iPhone X to celebrate!

What: NRF, Retail’s BIG Show
When: Jan 14-16, 2017
Where: Booth 2745, Jacob K Javits Convention Center, NYC (map)

Come to booth 2745 to see how the best of retail come together with a quirky chain-reaction machine designed by Kinetic Artist Joseph Herscher, in the original Rube Goldberg style. The Amazing Retail Machine will show how Vend, Vantiv and Star Micronics power the modern retail transaction. See how to make the perfect POS system with each part coming together seamlessly.

Joseph Herscher’s videos have been viewed by over 30 million people online. He has built a page turner, watered plants on Sesame Street, and been featured in the New York Times. This is his first installation at NRF and you won’t want to miss it!

And you can win an iPhone X! Drop by booth 2745 to see the amazing retail machine in action then post about your visit and tag it with #nrf2018 & #amazingretail for your chance to win.

Interested in attending?
Retailers can register for their free EXPO Hall pass at https://nrfbigshow.nrf.com/register

Want to catch up at the show?
We’ll be at Booth 2745 during expo hours – but if you’d like to set up some specific time to chat just email events@vendhq.com. We’re all really looking forward to meeting you.

Star Micronics’ ETA TRANSACT 2017 Recap

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Star Micronics recently exhibited new mPOS technology at the ETA TRANSACT show in Las Vegas from May 10th through the 12th, and would like to thank all of those who visited our booth. For those who couldn’t make it to the show this year, we want to provide a brief recap of what you missed and where to find more information on Star Micronics’ peripherals.

New mPOP™ peripheral options!

Star Micronics showcased our popular all-in-one mPOP™ peripheral for mobile point of sale that combines a cash drawer and 2-inch receipt printer. This year, Star has decided to make our mPOP even better with more functionality for mobile point of sale. We’ve added optional peripheral support for a customer-facing line display, 2D bar code reader, three scale options, and an extra cash drawer to our mPOP. This allows users to transform their mPOP into a complete point of sale hub, making it a more versatile option for mobile POS.

Faster, Easier, Better!

Throughout 2016, Star Micronics began rolling out our TSP100III series of thermal printers – the faster, easier, and better solution for POS receipt printing. At this year’s TRANSACT show, Star Micronics debuted our TSP100IIIU! The TSP100IIIU is Star’s intuitive “plug and play” USB printer for iOS, Android, and Windows. With faster print speed, easier connectivity, and better features, the TSP100IIIU is guaranteed to make a splash in the point of sale world. Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y40VyDkFPLc

SM-L300: Receipt, Label, & MAXStick® Portable Printer

Star’s new SM-L300 Bluetooth low energy (BLE) portable printer offers ultimate versatility for any mPOS application! The SM-L300 portable printer allows users to connect to any Apple iPad®, iPhone®, or iPod touch® BLE compatible device without having to pair to it, making it the perfect solution for any BYOD (bring your own device) environment. Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJdLcSYOgGE

Booth Partners

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Star Micronics is always happy to feature a number of our software partners in our tradeshow booths. At this year’s TRANSACT show, Star hosted Biztracker, who demoed their solution with a Star TSP650II receipt printer. Doublebeam showcased their solution on Elo’s I-Series and Wallaby flip-stand along with a Star TSP700II receipt and label printer. We also provided demos of Star Cloud Services’ free digital receipt and customer engagement solution through Vend’s retail software and a Star TSP100IIIBi receipt printer.

Star Cloud Services is offered for free with any Star Micronics receipt printer and allows users to offer digital receipts to their shoppers through the AllReceipts™ app. Learn more: https://www.starcloudservices.com

Star Sightings

Star Micronics spotted several of our printers around the show floor! Thank you to Paradise POS, Pioneer Solutions, MS-Cash Drawer, USAePay, and POS Portal who showcased Star technology in their ETA TRANSACT 2017 booth!

Star thanks everyone again for taking the time to visit us and learn more about our point of sale peripherals at ETA TRANSACT 2017. We look forward to seeing you all next year!

Star Spotlight with Shift4

Shift4 blog

What does Shift4 do?

Shift4, the first card-present payment gateway and the largest independent payment gateway in North America, is now launching their mobile point of sale system. Shift4 decided to take a different appraoch in building their mPOS solution and wanted to put a focus on the enterprise market. Shift4 offers specific solutions to hospitality, retail, food and beverage, eCommerce, and most other industries which are scalable from a single store to an international enterprise with franchise and company-owned locations.

How is Shift4 working with Star Micronics?

Shift4 is a software-as-a-service provider that was seeking the perfect hardware to compliment their solution. They decided to go with Star Micronics base on their reliable and advanced printer models. Shift4 has integrated throughout Star’s entire line of point of sale peripherals including desktop thermal and impact printers, portable printers, and the all-in-one mPOP™ peripheral. Shift4 currently supports Star Micronics’ SM-S220i, SM-S230i, and SM-T300i portable printers, the TSP650II BTi and WebPRNT thermal printer, the SP700 impact kitchen printer, and the mPOP™.

What key benefits does the mPOP™ bring to Shift4 customers?

Shift4 values customer communication and keeps in close contact to make sure that all of their customers are satisfied with their solution. The mPOP offers a compact solution that can work with any mobile device. Having the printer and cash drawer combined into one peripheral is a huge benefit in the mPOS space, and it is simple to operate.

“In mobile point of sale, it’s important to have a solution that is versatile and doesn’t take up a lot of space. The mPOP combines the cash drawer and receipt printer into one compact form factor that it perfect for mPOS needs.” – Jeremy Fried, System Architect at Shift4.

 

Growing Restaurant Revenue with Mobile POS

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Mobility is dominating the point of sale world. From table-side service, to tablet point of sale, mobility is making is easier for restaurant owners and operators to perform quick and painless transactions and give their customers the ideal dining-out experience. While some of the smaller, “mom and pop” restaurants may be hesitant to invest in a mobile point of sale (mPOS) system, they could be missing out on a huge boost in revenue by not upgrading. In addition to revenue increase, the adoption of an mPOS system could also mean an increase in tips for servers, making it easier to maintain low turnover rates.

A report by Software Advice shows that mPOS can predominantly impact your servers’ commitment to upselling – therefore, increasing daily restaurant revenue. Upselling is a sales technique that restaurant server often use to induce the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or add-ons when placing their order. This technique is commonly used by restaurant server because their calculated tip becomes higher with every dollar spent by the customer.

How does mPOS impact upselling?

In restaurant settings where the mPOS system is used for table-side service, the server may have a tablet in-hand entering the order as it is being placed. This can help remind the server to ask the customer if they would like to add a side of fries to their order or upgrade their drink to a larger size for only a dollar more. This is especially helpful for daily promotions or one-day offers that are not a part of the server’s regular order-taking routine.

restaurant mPOS charts

In the chart above provided by Software Advice, you can see that restaurants are not upselling as much as they could be. However, we can see that the majority of customers surveyed are more likely to make an order modification that was suggest by their server when dining out.

The Mobile POS Checklist

In case revenue increase isn’t reason enough to adopt a mobile point of sale system, we’ve outlined some additional benefits that mPOS can bring to restaurant businesses. According to an additional report done by Software Advice, 72% of restaurant owners request mobile restaurant POS software.

First and foremost, you need an mPOS system that is simple enough for any server to fluently use. If you’re looking for a mobile solution that will allow for a table-side service, you must ensure that your mPOS software is quick and easy-to-use. If your servers are disrupting the order process by taking the time to search for items in the POS, it defeats the purpose of the table-side mPOS solution.

Secondly, you will need a receipt printer that works seamlessly with your mPOS solution and will allow for a total transaction to be completed right at the table. It has been bound that engaging customers by having them complete the payment process right on the tablet can actually lead to an increase in tips. When this transaction is complete, servers equipped with portable, handheld receipt printers can kindly print and hand the customer their receipt without ever disrupting the transaction process.

In addition to the ease of use and fluid transaction process, mPOS systems often offer features such as inventory management, loyalty, and customer data capture, that help you run your restaurant more efficiently.

If you’re looking for an mPOS solution to take your restaurant business to the next level, be sure to check out Star’s line of portable receipt printers for your mobile point of sale needs.

3 Critical Payment Trends to Watch This Year

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The past few years have brought rapid evolution and change to the payments industry, with the same growth expected in 2017. Retailers must remain aware of these developments to properly compete with other operations in their vertical market. Here is a close look at three critical payment trends that will prevail this year.

Mobile Wallet Growth

Statistics make a strong case for including increased momentum for mobile wallets on the list of significant payment trends to watch in 2017. This is especially true of mobile wallets that incorporate near field communication (NFC) technology.

  • According to a report by research firm Research and Markets, the global mobile wallet market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35.5% between 2017 and 2021.
  • Technavio, another research firm, has predicted a similar CAGR (more than 35%) for mobile wallets through 2021.
  • A Capital One Wallet Survey conducted by Capital One late last year shows that nearly one-quarter (24%) of U.S. consumers use mobile wallets in some capacity.
  • More proof that the use of mobile wallet technology among consumers is trending up: Of 24% of Capital One survey respondents who claimed to utilize mobile wallet technology, more than 63% have been doing so for less than a year. This demonstrates rapid adoption and use of the technology in 2016, according to Capital One, with a similar pattern expected throughout 2017.

Ongoing technological advanced in NFC devices and heightened security of payment portals rank among catalysts for the consistent growth of mobile payments and its high rank among key payment trends, according to Research and Markets and Technavio. Mobile wallet options such as integration with coupons and tickets are fueling the fire as well.

Payment Security Push

With perpetrators’ attempts as and methods for transaction fraud growing more sophisticated, increased and varied attempts to shore up payment security is one of the hottest payment trends. There is now a major move among U.S. merchants to migrate to point of sale (POS) equipment that accommodates microprocessor chip-enabled credit and debit cars (“chip cards”) under the umbrella of the Europay/Mastercard/Visa (EMV) liability shift that took effect in October of 2015.

  • The Payments Security Task Force, a consortium of payment networks, backs, credit unions, acquirers, retailers, POS device manufacturers, and industry trade groups, estimates that the shift to EMV will “reach 98%” by the end of this year.
  • According to Mastercard, 9 in 10 Americans now user chips cards, a 38 point year-over-year increase from 49% in 2015 to 87% in 2016. Payment trends cited in a recent Mastercard report includes additional increased in chip card usage in 2017.

More mPOS

Mobile point of sale (mPOS) and tablet POS devices are becoming a staple as merchants adopt mobile technology to assist with line-busting and speeding up transactions during peak traffic periods. What’s more, with innovations like Star Micronics’ new mPOP™ accessories, tablet POS devices can be used as a cost effective, fully functioning point of sale system. This versatility makes mPOS a hot ticket item in 2017.

  • According to a study conducted by Boston Retail Partners, almost half (49%) of retailers are using mobile solutions for sales staff. That’s up from less than a third (31%) from last year.

Payment trends other than those discussed here may also take hold in 2017. However, the rise of mobile wallets and mPOS, coupled with a greater emphasis on payment security, merit special attention in the coming months.

Learn more about the mPOP™, Mobile Point of Purchase, here.

Electronic NFC Payments Continually Increase in Popularity

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Who is using it?

Millennials are embracing the use of their phones and mobile near field communication (NFC) technology at the checkout lane. Now is the time for small business owners to accept that reality and harvest the benefits by adapting their point of sale system.

Picture this. A consumer is in a hurry to grab a quick bite to eat on their way to a meeting. While driving through town, the consumer sees a local restaurant and decides it would be a good place to pick up lunch. Getting back on the road with as little time disruption as possible is important. After a quick meal prepared by the merchant, the consumer soon realizes he left his wallet in the car, but notices that the restaurant accepts mobile payments. Without hesitating, the consumer pulls out his phone at the point of sale and uses it to pay for his meal. After a speedy meal and transaction, both the merchant and consumer are happy with the exchange.

Consumers and shoppers are always looking for the smallest queue. NFC technology effectively cuts back the wait time since people with smaller purchases can complete their purchase faster. There’s no more waiting a half an hour just to buy a single item. Thankfully, there’s also no more searching through purses (or man purses because… it’s 2016) for oversized wallets filled with tons of credit cards or cash. With the advent of technologies like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay, wallets are succumbing to the Internet of Thing (IoT), a past time that consumers are likely not to miss.

Where are they being used?

contactless-lead-1355413251According to a Business Insider article, there are approximately 2.5 million point of sale systems equipped with NFC readers that are being used in the United States alone and Apple Pay is looking at a lot of growth. Mobile payment systems are being used in local retail stores, restaurants, for public transportation, and inside convenience stores when consumers are making a quick or small purchase. As long as the point of sale hardware or credit card reader displays an NFC logo, that means Apple Pay and other mobile payments are compatible at that retail location.

 

Barclays is now leading the finance industry with newly announced ATMs. The new machines offer cardholders contactless access to their accounts via mobile key points at the ATM, according to multiple news sources. These new machines utilize the same kind of near field communication technology, and prompts user authorization to allow the debit card stored on their device to be used for banking.

Why are they using it?

In 2014, PayPal disrupted the payments industry where users could pay across platforms with a single touch, without the hassle of entering usernames and passwords. A year earlier, companies like Venmo began the downplay of entering credit card numbers on small screens. Innovative technology continually changes our world, and millennials are adapting by using these services to help create a smooth initial transaction at checkout. PayPal and Venmo revolutionized the way younger consumers interact with their finances, and larger tech companies notice the switch in consumer behavior and react by scaling use of mobile payments.

In addition to the mobile payment phenomenon, millennials are now using more coupons than previous generations and they are accessing these on their mobile device. Imagine allowing customers to not only use their phone for coupons at the point of sale, but for payment as well. The two go hand-and-hand because with every mobile payment, there is an opportunity for the merchant to access the customer digital world by offering digital receipts and coupons, ultimately driving more return customers.

Small businesses can believe in the post-cash payment era because it all comes down to speed, ease, and simplicity. Using a phone to pay for goods provides a better solution for consumers who don’t like to carry cash or consistently forget their wallet, and it provides a faster and easier workflow for the retailer who wants to keep their lines moving.

Learn more about Star’s digital receipts and coupon solutions at www.starcloudservices.com.

Rob Hom

Marketing Intern

The Benefits of Free POS for Bakery Shops

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With technology moving forward and over 9,000 bakeries in the U.S., a recent study found that over 70% of those businesses still use an analog cash register. It could be because they are already used to them, or it could be because they feel the cost is prohibitive. However, there are good free POS systems which help to optimize operations and service.

These systems are able to remedy the problems bakeries deal with on a regular basis. Though it may seem like a giant pipe dream to have a full POS system in a small business at no expense, it’s very possible. The features and benefits offered promote efficiency in the bakery, and ensures customers get the time and service they need.

Generally, a lot of bakers think that a few lost customers here and there is acceptable. This is not the case, as they typically do not return. Lee Resources found that 91% of unhappy customers will not return for repeat business. One bad experience is enough to cost many dollars in profit from the lost chance of repeat business.

Loyal customers are like gold to small businesses. A study by Constant Contact found that eighty-two percent of small business owners say that loyal customers were their primary sources of profit and success.

Let’s go over the features that can help a bakery help them roll in the dough.

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It All Starts In the Kitchen, But Ends with A Happy Customer

The heart and soul of any bakery is where the bread is made, which makes the kitchen in the back even more important than the counter in the front. Making sure that cooks and other kitchen staff have the tools they need to fulfill orders quickly and correctly is what keeps a bakery operating at maximum efficiency.

A point of sale system comes with core features that are built to make the entire process of baking goods and selling them to customers must faster, easier, and less prone to mistakes which cause customer issues and loss of profit. Bakery profits need to rise as much as the dough in the oven will.

Order Management

Bakeries do much more than sell individual loafs to people who walk in to make a purchase. Restaurants, stores, and other businesses often make large orders on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis. A pen and paper “system” is prone to error, and busy periods will lead to incorrect orders and misplaced tickets. Order management allows counter staff to provide accurate, digital order lists to the kitchen staff that have been taken down as they were on the phone. This ensures accuracy when the order is being baked and prepared.

Order Tracking

When effort is put into ensuring that customer orders are completed and received by a grinning customer, each step to completion must be tracked. With order tracking, managers can keep track of walk-ins, deliveries, dine-ins and even drive-thru orders. By tracking each step, it cuts down on errors because they can be corrected in real-time. Accurate orders always make for happy customers, especially in an industry where order mix-ups are the norm.

Customer Management

Bakeries are busy for a reason; customers and businesses alike purchase from them regularly. No matter who the customer is, everyone could use a slice of bread. This is why they are better off using a bakery POS instead of quickly scratching out words on a pad of paper. It’s a given that these will get lost in the shuffle out. This is proven with a study by Acxiom which reported that half of businesses today cannot name their most loyal customers. Having a record of frequently ordered items from a customer will make their ordering process more convenient for both the buyer and seller.

Inventory Management

No one runs a successful bakery by selling items on the fly. Taking an order and not having the baked goods to complete it will leave a customer looking for another bakery. With inventory management features, managers can actively add to the counts with a few button presses, and the POS will simply manage the inventory as items are sold, instead of dealing with the pressure and panic of managing a constantly changing inventory, the point of sale system does all the tough stuff for you.

Business Reporting

After a hectic day of running around, tending to the ovens and making sure customers aren’t left hungry, the bakery manager just wants to know how much profit was made from today’s haul. Instead of sitting down to do the time-consuming math, POS systems take care of all the calculating in real-time as the staff does business and makes customers happy. All information will be stored on a cloud server and can be accessed at any time. It is constantly updated as sales are performed. Even better, the closing manager only has to simply close the register at the end of the day.

As demonstrated, a POS system has a lot to offer to any small bakery. If bakeries wish to see their customer satisfaction rise, it’s time to check out one of these systems and see the benefits and solutions they provide from the moment they are booted up at the start of each day.

Many of our customers who own and manage small bakeries provide us with a lot of vital feedback, which we put together for this piece, as useful information is always good to share in today’s business market. If more tips are needed, reach out to us at any time, or download eHopper POS for free and discover the benefits.

To find even more great posts such as these, visit eHopper’s blog for new ones each week.

Ronald Morris

Marketing Manager for eHopper Services, LLC