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Performance Improvements at Point Of Sale - A Guide to Getting the most out of your 4690 System.

It is clear that many of the IBM 4690 POS applications could use an overhaul. But who has the time? And where would one start?

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Solutions


A Perspective on Integration
As retailers consider opportunities to implement new application touch point solutions, the emphasis is on the benefits of using a consistent set of business logic to drive both existing and new touch points. For businesses with significant investment in IBM POS systems, it makes sense to preserve and reuse the proven POS business logic, along with the numerous custom extensions (user exits). That combined business logic embodies the retailer's internal strategies and feeds mission-critical backend applications. These new touch points will need to perform most of the same actions that traditional POS applications perform—the price lookup, total and tax calculations, discounts, credit authorization, and hundreds of other actions that execute flawlessly today.
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Migrating to Best-of-Breed POS Equipment

No one likes being stuck with old technology systems, especially when it means paying higher costs or being denied certain beneficial POS features. That is exactly the frustration of many IBM 4690 users.  They feel confined to selecting IBM hardware to run the IBM 4690 operating system and applications.  Naturally, POS equipment vendors like Fujitsu, NCR, and Wincor Nixdorf would like to offer these users other choices. That's why these companies have embraced QVS products and technology that enable retailers to make POS equipment decisions even if they are running 4690 OS in their stores.  With QVS technology, retailers can immediately enjoy the benefits of using the best-of-breed POS terminals and peripherals from several different manufacturers.

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Scalable Solutions

Let's examine for a moment the different demands that today's application solutions place on POS system implementations. Traditionally, the POS device served as the execution environment for the IBM POS applications (e.g., SA, GSA, and ACE). However, many of today's POS touch points are either smaller mobile devices or larger devices with less POS processing capacity, such as fuel pumps. And even some legacy IBM equipment lacks sufficient capacity to run the customized POS applications. Application solutions built around these devices require a different approach, commonly referred to as a thin client solution.

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Endless Possibilities - Now and in the Future

Kiosks…pharmacy…deli…service desk…cell phones…browser-based solutions...

Consumers demand improved service, but retailers everywhere are reluctant to implement new services that result in substantially higher labor costs. Technology has become so powerful and readily available that new application solutions, such as those that might be implemented using a kiosk rather than a person, can produce quick return on investment. Imagine eliminating the wait at the grocery store deli by letting customers enter orders at a kiosk during peak hours. Orders can be filled while the customers shop for other items, rather than growing irritated while they stand in line. Similarly, bridal registries allow customers to service themselves, even performing their own inventory checks. All of these options are available today because enabling technology permits them to be integrated with the existing 4690 system.

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Self-Checkout Solutions

A number of motivating factors are driving retailers around the world to provide self-checkout solutions. As evidenced by the growing number of worldwide installations, consumers are ready and willing to use this technology. The motivations for providing these solutions include: 

  • Shortening checkout lines without increased labor
  • Need for more merchandise display space, dictating a smaller checkout footprint
  • New opportunities to interact with customers, including directed advertising
  • Mergers that drive the need for store-to-store consistency of services
  • Internal shrink control
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Web Shopping Solutions

Consumers are becoming progressively more savvy with technology, and they expect retailers to do the same—especially when it means added convenience. Online shopping with the option of express local pick-up or home delivery can help retailers tap into an audience that doesn't mind paying more for the time savings or convenience. Web-based solutions provide an excellent opportunity to give customers premium personal service (e.g., recipes, nutritional analysis, or product comparisons) without creating the line delays that might result if the services were offered within the store.

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Mobile POS Solutions
Like every other aspect of our lives, retail solutions are becoming increasingly mobile. Mobile solutions can reduce the footprint of the checkout area even more than self-checkout solutions. And the per unit cost of equipment is typically far less than that of traditional POS terminals. The lower cost of these devices is making them an increasingly attractive option for retailers to manage a seasonal rush or major sales event. Long lines are a major contributor to customer frustration and lost sales opportunities. Because news of long lines travels quickly throughout a community, retailers who address this issue can gain a real advantage during peak sales cycles.
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Fuel Pump Solutions

In their quest to continually broaden the range of products and services available to consumers, many retailers are adding fuel pumps. In our fast-paced world, the convenience of one-stop shopping including fuel purchases is the stimulus behind a growing demand for this application solution. Equally important to retailers are the loyalty programs that can be developed around fuel pump solutions. A retailer can reward its in-store customers with discounts at the tank, or lure fuel customers into the store with a promotion aimed exclusively at them. Naturally, this type of cross selling is much simpler to implement when the fuel pump solution converges on the same set of business logic that is being used in the store.

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