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Introducing Veras Extend’s Mobile POS Platform

Introducing Veras Extend’s Mobile POS Platform

September 16, 2019

Extend’s Mobile POS Delivers Beyond Traditional Point-of-Sale. And with Veras CheckOut, Extend’s mPOS is Included.

At the VerasONE 2019 user conference in Las Vegas today, we announced the availability of the new generation of the Veras Extend mobile platform. This new version of Extend replaces the previous iOS and Android native framework with a new look and feel, new capabilities, and a new technology paradigm.

New Paradigm. New Customer-Facing, In-Store Capabilities.
  • Bringing Ecommerce to the Store
    The Veras Extend platform is designed from the ground up to address omnichannel shopping in the store. From save-the-sale ordering and endless aisle extended catalog lookup, to clienteling tools to ensure a personalized shopping experience, Veras Extend delivers a single customer-facing experience.
  • Flexible Enough to Work with Any Platform
    Using a hybrid web/native app framework, it can run on just about any platform – iOS and Android to start with, with Windows, Linux, and MacOS coming in January – and any form factor – desktop, tablet, or handheld.
  • Expanding to Other Store-Facing Applications
    While the initial release of the Extend platform is focused on selling and customer-service scenarios that are most commonly requested by our customers for mobile use cases, the platform will eventually encompass all the store-facing functionality provided today, as well as new capabilities like self-checkout.
  • Fast, Flexible Deployments
    Just like Veras CheckOut, Veras Extend can be deployed in a multi-site cloud model, a distributed on-premises model for maximum resiliency, or any combination in between.

As with the previous generation of Veras Extend, the new version uses battle-tested functionality from Veras CheckOut, our enterprise point-of-sale application. Proven omnichannel ordering and promotional pricing capabilities, along with built-in payment processing and other third-party integrations are accessed by Veras Extend through a RESTful API layer. This allows Veras Extend to act as ‘just another register’ in the store, working seamlessly with Veras CheckOut data, business logic, and integrations.

Giving Retailers More Options

We understand that the enterprise mobility landscape for retailers is challenging. For instance, hardware providers that provide ruggedized enterprise solutions are expensive and inflexible, and grafting enterprise mobility sleds onto consumer devices such as iPads puts the retailer at the mercy of the yearly consumer hardware refresh cycle. By making the Veras Extend application platform-agnostic, we help provide retailers with more options. We’ve taken that a step further by embedding the lightning-fast Scandit camera-based scanning capability into Veras Extend.  

Scandit’s SaaS-based model allows retailers to use their scanning software across devices and platforms. If an iPad in your store breaks, replace it with an iPad mini, or a Samsung tablet. The Scandit subscription carries across devices, to ensure that you’re paying only for the scanning used. Combined with Scandit’s scanning performance, retailers can achieve both cost savings and flexibility.

Mobile POS Included with Veras CheckOut

Finally, to bury the lede completely, we are happy to announce that Veras Extend mPOS is included for all current and future users of Veras CheckOut. While other vendors move to a model where pricing varies by platform or by transaction volume, our pricing remains on a predictable per-store basis, regardless of the number of terminals per store, regardless of the platform, and regardless of the deployment model. 

At Veras Retail, we truly believe in empowering retailers with integrated mobile solutions to provide the best in-store experience. To learn more about our you can make mPOS work in your stores, download the Extend solution brief or contact us today for personalized demo.

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4 New Countries. 4 Currencies. 3 Months. 1 Solution.

4 New Countries. 4 Currencies. 3 Months. 1 Solution.

April 11, 2019

Completing a Complex, Multi-Country Deployment On Time & Under Budget Within 3 Months

Our latest customer success story focuses on a global retailer that leveraged our solutions and experience to successfully deploy Point-of-Sale, and Advanced Promotions & Coupon technology in stores across multiple countries and multiple currencies – and all within a three-month window of time. This retailer has brought every new business acquired by its parent company onto Veras CheckOut, our flexible POS platform that allows retailers to rapidly implement new solutions and capabilities at lower total cost of ownership.

Currently, the leading retailer leverages Veras Retail’s solution to support more than 360 stores in five countries and across all companies within its brand umbrella.

In this case study, you’ll read more about the retailer’s challenge of integrating a premier, international fashion brand acquired by its parent company into its operations within a very short timeframe. For Veras Retail, that meant implementing our Veras CheckOut and Veras Activate solutions at all 45 outlet and four full-priced boutique stores in the U.S. – as well as three stores in Canada, one store in Ireland and two stores in the United Kingdom – within a three-month window of time. 

Not long after, we were tapped to provide support for the retailer’s first store opening in Germany, marking its foray into a fifth international market.

Read the full case study to learn how Veras Retail stepped up to the plate to support our client by leading an on-time, under-budget implementation that complied with each country’s individual taxation and legal requirements and payment processing needs.

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Veras Retail Wows At NRF 2019

Veras Retail Wows At NRF 2019

February 22, 2019

Looking Back at NRF 2019

Despite market uncertainty and the looming, albeit empty, threat posed by a ‘retail apocalypse’, 2019 was a good year for the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show, which attracted nearly 40,000 attendees, more than 700 exhibitors and featured a wide variety of sessions at the conference in mid-January. 

The show floor was alive. Any lingering doubts that the physical store would continue to serve a purpose in a world that increasingly embraces ecommerce were quashed, with so much of the conversation centering around ways retailers can create a seamless in-store and online shopping experience, and how new technologies are setting the stage for next-level customer personalization. 

Amid robots and drones and endless talk of AI, analytics and machine learning, other trends that emerged at this year’s conference centered around the need for advanced in-store and payment solutions that can keep pace with customer data privacy regulations like CCPA and GDPR. Fraud prevention also was top of mind and remains as pervasive as ever, accounting for up to an estimated $24 billion in losses in the U.S. each year. 

A group of people standing in front of a store

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Given all these factors, we picked a good year to ramp up our NRF exhibition game. This was only our third year exhibiting in the Expo Hall, but it was undoubtedly a major step up from last year with double the booth size. Visitors also noticed our bigger footprint, both in terms of square footage and presence. When demonstrating Veras Activate’s ability to simulate the interaction of complex promotions weeks in advance of their effective date, another prospect said, “Now you’re going to make me cry!” 

A consultant informed us, “Now that I see your booth, I know you are big enough to work with my client.” Although positive, this comment admittedly stung a bit, “Veras Retail is the best-kept secret at NRF! Why didn’t I know about you guys before?”

The booth was indeed inviting, and our products clearly resonated with brick-and-mortar retailers looking to enhance the in-store shopping experience and help drive revenue and brand loyalty. Ultimately, the feedback we received at NRF 2019 provided validation that our decision to focus on customer needs and satisfaction after we acquired the store systems suite from JDA Software in 2016 was the right one.

At NRF 2019, we showcased our re-platformed Veras Reach solution, which offers a powerful combination of CRM and customer loyalty program capabilities to help retailers think outside the box in terms of how they can reward their best customers, for a fraction of what other loyalty programs cost. 

We demonstrated the forthcoming Bluetooth beacon-driven Veras Affinity clienteling module, allowing sales associates to proactively engage customers on the sales floor as they shop. We also announced that Veras CheckOut 10.2 point-of-sale includes integration with Appriss Retail’s innovative return authorization technology, Verify®, which uses individual customer behavior data to render a fair decision to accept or deny merchandise returns. 

If we didn’t get a chance to connect with you this year, make a note to stop by our booth at NRF 2020, #1253. It’s sure to wow again!

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Bluetooth Beacons: The ‘Next Big Thing’ In Retail Tech?

Bluetooth Beacons: The ‘Next Big Thing’ In Retail Tech?

October 7, 2013
By Bruce Herrier, SVP of Product & Strategy at Veras Retail

If you work in technology, and retail technology in particular, you can get worn down by the excitement over the ‘next big thing’, usually with an acronym that loses meaning the more it is repeated. The Gartner hype cycle tracks this phenomenon. As technologies emerge, the possibilities of the new technology at first seem limitless, vendors jump on the bandwagon to exploit the technology and hype it to the max. It then enters the ‘trough of disappointment’ as implementation obstacles like cost, regulations and security, weigh down the rate of adoption.

However, I’m ready to drop my cynicism for the new ‘next big thing’ – Bluetooth beacons.

If you’re not already familiar with the technology, it involves using a low-energy variant of the Bluetooth technology, Bluetooth LE, introduced as part of the Bluetooth 4.0 spec, to send small packets of information to other Bluetooth devices in the immediate area. The beacon can be a fully-fledged smart device, Apple’s implementation of this concept is the iBeacon, added as part of iOS 7, so an iPad/iPhone can act as an iBeacon; or it can be a low-cost, embedded device mounted on a wall or fixture, such as the ones being marketed by Estimote. 

Either way, the beacon’s ability to detect and quickly communicate (no pairing required) with nearby Bluetooth LE devices, which includes the bulk of the devices made in the past year by Apple, Samsung, HTC, and Nokia, opens up a huge variety of potential uses. Basically, any use case that involves an interaction with a smartphone in a large public area, which previously was hampered by infrastructure challenges (GPS inaccuracy, especially in large buildings, Wi-Fi security, and opt-in) is now in play.

It’s not so much that Bluetooth LE is a revolutionary technology that brings new and unheard-of capabilities to the market. The secret sauce of Bluetooth LE is that it holds the potential to make existing business concepts more feasible or more open. 

A Few Examples From The World of Retail

Camera-Based Technology
A variety of people-counting technologies from Brickstream and others have used varying camera-based technologies for years to track customer activity. Bluetooth LE holds the potential to accomplish many (but not all) of the same capabilities of those technologies with lower cost and greater potential specificity.

Beyond GPS Triangulation
Shopkick built a business by creating a novel solution to address GPS inaccuracy by embedding an inaudible signal in the piped-in music in various stores. Bluetooth LE beacons could certainly fulfill the “welcome to our store, here’s a coupon” mobile offer use case with accuracy and without having to subscribe to Shopkick’s service and proprietary dog-whistle approach.

Predictably, much that has been written about Bluetooth LE has been focused on payments, whether or not BLE is a viable platform for payments, is it an NFC-killer. These miss the point that most have overlooked regarding mobile payments, technology has not been the obstacle that’s constrained adoption. The obstacle is that from the consumer’s perspective, taking five seconds to swipe a credit or debit card, accepted virtually everywhere, is not a problem that needs fixing.

Bluetooth LE’s potential lies in the fact that it combines a low infrastructure cost with a near-ubiquitous and non-proprietary technology platform. This opens up an array of capabilities that used to require massive investments in proprietary hardware and software. Consumer-facing use cases don’t have to be creepy or annoying. There’s a wide range of benefits to both customers and retailers by being able to be accurately located in the store. Additionally, given the wide adoption of mobile devices in the enterprise, there’s a wide variety of enterprise uses (warehouses come to mind) where privacy and annoyance concerns are secondary. 

We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of our developer kit and beacons from Estimote, because we think this ‘next big thing’ might actually be the exception to the rule and avoid the hype cycle.

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JCPenney’s Cautionary Mobile POS Tale

JCPenney’s Cautionary Mobile POS Tale

June 17, 2013
By Bruce Herrier, SVP of Product & Strategy at Veras Retail

The Bloomberg report on JCPenney’s re-boot of its mobile point-of-sale initiative in the aftermath of Ron Johnson’s departure sheds some light on the real-world ramifications mobile POS implementations. The retailer discovered there are a few vastly underrated factors linked to the customer experience that retailers should seriously take into consideration in a mobile POS deployment.

1. Help Shoppers Identify the Mobile POS “Cashier”

Reading how JCPenney discovered that their customers couldn’t distinguish the store’s employees from other customers reminded me of my first retail experience at Barnes & Noble – we sneered at (and were secretly jealous of) the Teva-wearing sales associates at Borders. However, we often heard from customers that shopped both stores that the professionally dressed B&N associates were easier to identify and were more approachable. 

So, in the case of JCPenney, a red lanyard and a gray sash for the associates toting a mobile POS, just wasn’t enough. This is one area where Apple does it right – the bright blue t-shirts worn by Genii at the Apple Store make them hard to miss.

2. Designing a Full-Service Checkout Experience

Some retailers aren’t prepared to give up many of the tangible benefits of the cashwrap, including: 

  • Loss prevention for fixed point for CCTV surveillance or de-activation of anti-theft tags
  • Branding opportunities such as retail bags 
  • Customer interaction during bagging present an opportunity for conversation and upselling

JCPenney’s rolling cart approach will help mitigate some of these problems, but there still appears to be a gap between traditional, full-service cashwrap and the fluid Apple Store model.

3. Cultural-Norm Obstacles to Mobile Checkout
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While it’s true that Apple’s typical customer may be more tech-savvy than JCPenney’s, this trope ignores something more fundamental – regardless of our technical aptitude or affinity, we share cultural norms about shopping that are difficult to dislodge, and in some cases, exist for very practical reasons. There are cultural obstacles to mobile checkouts that have nothing to do with the type of merchandise or the customer’s comfort with technology.

I consider myself tech-savvy and shopped in the Apple Store for a new iPad cover a few months ago. This item was eligible for Apple’s EasyPay self-checkout program. So, as a dutiful geek, I made sure my Apple Store app was configured to allow EasyPay ahead of time. When I arrived at the store, I connected to the store’s Wi-Fi, pulled the item from the shelf, scanned it with the app on my phone, checked out, and the request timed out.

Not wanting to risk being accused of shoplifting, I went to find a Genius to check me out. The first associate I approached told me she couldn’t help me, as she didn’t have a device capable of checkout. She pointed to one of her colleagues in the middle of the sales floor, who was intently focused on a conversation with another customer. This put me in a bind. Do I barge into the conversation, demanding to be checked out? Or do I awkwardly hover nearby, waiting politely for the conversation to finish? I chose the awkward hover. 

In this case, I would have happily stood in a short line, rather than deal with the mobile POS “queue” where no societal norms have been established. When the Apple Store isn’t busy, the appeal of mobile POS to both Apple and the customer is clear. Increased conversions for the store, increased convenience for the customer. Although when things get backed up, the model starts to break down.

Through these real-world lessons, more retailers are thinking through the operational and cultural considerations of mobile POS, rather than learning that lesson the hard way like JCPenney. There are certainly huge potential benefits to mobile POS to be had, but only when every facet of the experience – like the physical space, device and peripherals, customer and associate training – is aligned toward a common goal.