RetailBiz Round Up for Friday 21 February 2014 – with Claire Reilly

What do a bakery and an airline have in common? Despite their radically different sizes, operations and industries, both require modern point of sale (POS) and logistics set-ups to be able to run efficiently on a day-to-day basis. Logistics and POS provider Epson is celebrating success with two such clients: Sonoma Artisan Sourdough Bakeries, which has six retail outlet/cafes around Sydney, and Qantas, one of the largest airlines in the world. 

Despite its small retail presence, Sonoma has its own catering business and supplies baked goods to some of Sydney’s best restaurants including Quay and Pilu at Freshwater. But looking for more than its basic cash register system, Sonoma set its sights on a POS solution that could provide greater insights into how different areas of the business were performing whilst also being easy to set-up and taking advantage of mobile and wireless technology. 

With the help of cloud-based software, iPads and new printers, Sonoma completely transformed its POS; each iPad could function as “a dedicated, powerful, and highly mobile POS terminal” while the printers could receive print commands directly from the iPad browser for immediate receipt printing. 

From this small-scale solution to the big end of town, Epson has also worked with Qantas to simplify logistics in its Air Freight business. 

Qantas wanted to simplify the self-service process for its delivery drivers when collecting goods, allowing its staff to quickly check their delivery lists (connecting in real-time to iPads mounted in Qantas’ warehouses), whilst removing the need for laser printers which slowed down processes and resulted in bottlenecks. 

The result was a system that included 23 self-service Express Check kiosks in Qantas’ four Australian international freight terminals, and a system that allowed staff to print directly from their tablets (and, potentially in the future, other mobile devices). 

These two examples offer a good case study for all retailers. From a small-scale solution to a mammoth operation for an international company, there are always processes that can be streamlined and modernised. It begs the question, is the old cash register or warehouse office computer really the best solution?

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Meanwhile, the ACCC has put retailers on notice today, outlining its policy agenda for 2014 which focuses on cracking down on competition in “highly concentrated sectors” such as the supermarket and fuel sectors, “credence claims” (including product claims such as ‘made in Australia’ or ‘free range’), Australian Consumer Laws (especially in relation to warranty sales) and online sites that engage in “drip pricing”. 

According to ACCC chairman Rod Sims, drip pricing is a common sight for consumers booking event tickets and airfares: 

“Consumers see a ‘headline’ price advertised at the beginning of the booking process but when they progress to the payment phase, additional fees and charges have been added,” he said. “Drip pricing involves a lack of transparency which may mislead consumers, and it can also make it difficult for businesses to compete on a level playing field.”

For more, read the full story on Appliance Retailer, and read chairman Rod Sims’ full speech here.

Visa is hoping to increase security online with a new scheme targeted at e-commerce retailers, known as ‘Verified by Visa’. While the service will be available to all online retailers, Visa is specifically targeting those that experience high levels of e-commerce fraud, requiring those that meet its criteria to implement new security measures by 1 October 2014. 

Data from the Australian Payments Clearing Association shows that online fraud in Australia was up 5 per cent in the 12 months ended 30 June 2013, accounting for $198.9 million. In addition, online fraud represented a large proportion of fraud on Australian cards. 

Visa is targeting the service at merchants across airlines, computers, software, electronics, music, telecommunications, travel and gambling, all areas that have seen significant online growth. Verified by Visa will require consumers to confirm their identity with a personal password at the checkout on high-risk e-commerce sites.

According to Visa’s senior director of Risk Services, Ian McKindley, “Card fraud in Australia remains at low levels but we must remain vigilant.”

Roy Morgan’s annual Customer Satisfaction Awards recognised the standouts of the retail, tourism, banking and telco industries in Melbourne overnight, with 15 retail chains awarded as best in their fields:

Auto Store of the Year – Autobarn
Chemist/Pharmacy of the Year – Guardian
Clothing Store of the Year – Sussan
Coffee Shop of the Year – Michel’s Patisserie
Department Store of the Year – Myer
Discount Department Store of the Year – Harris Scarfe
Discount Variety Store of the Year – The Reject Shop
Furniture/Electrical Store of the Year – The Good Guys
Hardware Store of the Year – Home Timber & Hardware
Music/Book Store of the Year – JB Hi-Fi
Quick Service Restaurant of the Year – Subway
Service Station of the Year – 7-Eleven
Shoe Store of the Year – Williams
Sports Store of the Year – Rebel
Supermarket of the Year – Foodland

It was second time lucky for Myer, while JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys both took out their categories for the third time in a row. 

“With their specialist, professional service, enjoyable in-store experiences and competitive pricing, these businesses are a timely reminder that — if done right — traditional retail can survive and thrive alongside its online equivalents,” said Roy Morgan Research CEO, Michele Levine.

David Jones has added another exclusive to its stable of brands, bringing clothing from London-based fashion designer Richard Nicoll into its stores from next month. The Australian-born Nicholl is stocks his womenswear label in internationally-recognised department stores including Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Richard Nicholl’s international exposure is a key selling point for DJs:

“Our customers are well travelled and the internet has given them instantaneous online access to the international shows,” said David Jones’ GM of womenswear, Sophie Clark. “This means that they are familiar with many international designers before they are available in Australia. Richard Nicoll is a case in point, with demand already existing amongst our customers for this designer.”

Quote of the Day

“I am very pleased to be able to confirm my re-commitment to the CEO role at Myer. I continue to have a passion for retail, and Myer in particular, and believe there is much I can still contribute to the business. Should a transaction to merge Myer and David Jones be successfully completed, I can commit to presenting myself as a potential CEO for the merged entity.”

Despite announcing his impending retirement last year, Myer’s CEO and managing director Bernie Brooks yesterday inked a new contract to stay on in the top job for a tidy $2 million per annum (plus cash and equity bonuses of up to $3 million). With Myer still embroiled in David Jones merger rumours, Brookes also put up his hand as a candidate to run a combined company in the future. 

Image of the Day

Last week Sydney’s new Central shopping mall hitched its wagon to Valentine’s Day festivities by sending out a bevy of scantily-clad cupids to promote the so-called ‘Living Mall’ in the inner-Sydney suburb of Chippendale (an appropriate suburb for a shirtless promotion). Morning commuters were offered a “sunflower in exchange for a selfie,” with each flower bearing a message to go visit the mall.