Frictionless transactions really taking off in the cloud

With the cost of retail and hospitality operations rising at an alarming rate, businesses must work smarter. The use of technology to improve efficiency and customer engagement is paramount, while improved data analytics must inform every business decision

James Connolly, sales manager, CBE: ‘The demand for our cloud solutions in retail and hospitality has really taken off since the pandemic’

When James Connolly, sales manager, CBE, was asked what is the most recent significant innovation for EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) over the last 2 years, his answer was “cloud”.

Having seen the company grow from providing cash registers to the many tech services it offers now, his experience highlights how some of the most significant innovations are simply automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks that people are doing everyday.

“The demand for our cloud solutions in retail and hospitality has really taken off since the pandemic,” he said. “Staff in businesses that implemented our solutions have seamlessly pivoted from being in the office to working from home.

“Owners and managers using our reporting apps on their phones have all the information they need in real-time, with live graphical dashboards.”

Some other significant benefits for businesses of moving to the cloud are lower cost capital investment and helping the environment by reducing power consumption, carbon footprint and improved food waste management.

In the hospitality sector the demand for a more frictionless experience for both the customer and staff has grown as a result of the pandemic.

“Using our solutions a customer can use their own phone to scan a QR code at the table, view the menu and place their order.

“The EPoS is automatically updated with the order and the details go straight through to the kitchen management screens where the chefs can prepare the food. Similarly orders can be processed seamlessly from kiosks and online ordering platforms. Some of these solutions existed pre-pandemic, but a lot of focus has been put on these over the last two years to ensure they all operate more effectively and integrate with each other in an efficient manner.”

Android devices including tablets and mobile phones are becoming more commonly used by staff to take customer orders at the table and outdoor seating areas. Similarly, more devices can support ‘Pay At Table’ thus ensuring a more pleasant experience for the customers and with cloud integration, all transactions and relevant payment data are updated in real-time into the EPoS.

“It’s utilising tech and keeping it quick, simple, and easy to use. For wait staff, they’re all tech savvy, so they require minimum training.”

The demand for these solutions has grown as customers and businesses look for more accessible and innovative ways of ordering and handling payments. This is reflected across Ireland, Britain and Europe.

Within the retail sector, CBE has also seen a demand for innovative solutions that make the shopping experience more frictionless. These include self-scanning by the customer using either their own phone or a store provided device, increased deployment of self-checkout solutions across convenience and forecourt and outdoor payment terminals (OPT). Higher transaction values for contactless payments and the availability of e-receipts further enhance the consumer experience. CBE’s integration to the Gander app has delivered a sustainable solution that not only addresses food waste but also considers the cost and pressure of in-store labour.

CBE is also working on innovations that improve staff communication and collaboration. One of these is the integration with VoCoVo headsets. This enables staff members to use the headset or EPoS system to call someone off the floor to help assist a customer. It’s similar to the setup in fast-food restaurants, but Connolly mentions that it has now found its place in retail areas.

“Rather than someone announcing it over the tannoy, it’s all integrated with the headsets,” Connolly said. “The staff are talking to each other to collaborate and communicate.” The solution is now being rolled out in stores across Ireland and Britain.

“At CBE, we strive to give our customers the very best solutions, services and support,” he said.

“We’re constantly engaging and listening to our customer’s business needs, which is key to our success. Our customers will know most of us by name, so it’s also very personal.

“We can assist our customers in their journey to go greener, lower their power consumption and reduce their carbon footprint,” he said.

“Our unparalleled innovations and technology solutions across the retail and hospitality sectors take our industry to the next level. CBE continues to innovate, always being one step ahead and first to market.”

This expansion of services and demand is a big reason why CBE invests over €3.5m per annum in R&D. With over 200 highly-skilled employees across Ireland and Britain, CBE has over 50 dedicated software development professionals based in its Research & Development Division in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, which keeps CBE at the forefront of technological innovations.