Roll-out at the group’s Michel’s Patisserie franchise is
already half-way there and advancing at a steady clip of 20 stores a week. The franchisor’s other three brands
(Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery and bb’s café) are next in line. Foodco Group is also deploying the
system across its 220-strong network of Jamaica Blue and Muffin Break
Xchangexec’s tentacle-like reach into every nook and cranny
of a retail business has to be seen to be believed. Every POS terminal, every sales clerk, every peripheral,
every sale – nothing seems to escape the all-seeing eye of xchangexec.
“Xchangexec connects head office directly to every POS
terminal and peripheral in every store – even if there are thousands of them
spread across the globe,” says Kym Houden, Task Retail Technology’s Managing
And it’s that direct internet-based connection that gives
xchangexec its real-time power.
“Xchangexec will alert you if a particular sales clerk is
actually offering your customers that 2-for-1 combo deal when they should be
and what proportion of offers are being taken up,” says Houden.
“And you’ll know if your sales
team is meeting its hourly targets – every hour if you want.”
It will also tell you which clerks are leaving the cash
drawer open or ringing up ‘no sales’, the most common indicators of till theft.
Security alerts, sales data and other real-time reports can
all be delivered by SMS to that most ubiquitous communication tool on the
planet, the mobile phone.
And with Australians among the world’s most avid mobile
phone users (there are now more mobiles in Australia than people) Task Retail
has made sure to offer the benefits of SMS to consumers too, in the shape of
queue-busting food ordering.
To sign up to text ordering, a consumer enrols in the
brand’s loyalty scheme (which is integrated in and managed by xchangexec),
makes a pre-payment to put his account in credit and selects his favourite
outlet – for example the one he passes on the way to work each morning.
The consumer texts his order (for example, “1 lrg flt wht, 1
choc mufn”) to the dedicated ordering number. Xchangexec identifies the consumer’s phone number and
delivers the order to the selected outlet’s POS terminal.
Because the POS system can see everything (including the
kitchen’s order queue) it immediately calculates when the order should be
ready, texts the consumer back with the cost of the order and debits the amount
from the loyalty scheme’s balance.
SMS food ordering is likely to be big business in Australia
because if there’s one thing that matches our love of mobile phones, it’s our
hatred of queuing. In 2007, NCR commissioned
global research1 that found Australians were among the world’s worst queuers,
with 81% saying they were getting less patient about waiting in line (a whisker
behind the French at 83%).
More than a third of those surveyed (36 percent) named retail
environments among the top queuing hell-holes, and 73 percent said they had
left a store because they couldn’t wait any longer to be served.
New York-based SMS company gomobo claims the value of fast
food text orders are, on average, 24 percent higher than those placed in-store.
But you don’t have to be a thumb-twitching texter to enjoy
xchangexec’s new retail experience; you can see the difference if you order
in-store too. RFG’s Tony Alford
says, “The integrated loyalty program capability means RFG’s customers can
enjoy and maximise value benefits from tailor-made promotions and coupons that
are delivered directly to the customer at the point of sale.”
These in-store promotions are delivered on counter-height,
customer-facing screens and backed-up by the sales clerk’s software-prompted
verbal offer and a customised ‘bounce-back’ coupon to encourage a repeat visit.
Add the smell of coffee and freshly-baked pastries and
consumers will surely find it hard to resist this promotional attack on the
senses. “From a business perspective, dynamic marketing and customised product
offerings increase up-sell and cross promotional opportunities at the point of
sale,” says Alford of the software’s capabilities.
Ross Checkley, Managing Director at NCR, whose RealPOS
terminals Task Retail has specified as the hardware platform, is evangelistic
about the software’s capabilities.
“Xchangexec is one of those pieces of technology that just makes you go
‘Wow!’. Like Apple’s iPhone and
Google Earth, it strikes you as genuinely ahead of its time.”
Checkley may be biased but xchangexec is earning plaudits
elsewhere too. In May, the suite
was a winner of the Consensus Software Awards 2008, which recognises innovation
and excellence in the Australasian software industry.
And as recently as 11th July, the 2008 Dell Small Business
Excellence Award announced that Task Retail was one of its ten finalists.
But it is Task Retail’s customers whose verdict really
matters. Customers like Steve
Stubbs, Commercial Manager at Sydney Turf Club, which sees plenty winners and
losers on its two Sydney race courses.
“At last, xchangexec gives us everything we want from a
point of sale system,” says Stubbs.
Deployment across 110 POS terminals at STC’s Rosehill Gardens race
course has gone so well, he says, that he is now eager to install it at the
Canterbury Park track when major construction work is complete.
“Across our food and beverage outlets, it maximises sales,
increases efficiencies, reduces waste and improves the customer experience,”
says Stubbs. “Xchangexec has
turned our POS system from a cost centre into a profit centre.
And that sounds like winning odds in anyone’s language.
The Impact of ‘Queue Frustration’ on Australian Consumer Behaviour, NCR
Learn more about Australian Retailers Association >>