A CSD Staff Report
For convenience store retailers, cashiers embody both the assets and the liabilities of running a cash-intensive business. Cashiers provide the face and the feel for store operations, but also the risk from cash and cash handling in the form of both internal and external theft, simple human error and time focused on managing those risks.
But what if there were no cashiers in c-stores? What if cash handling could be reduced to a simple, secure task that was seamlessly incorporated into each POS transaction? With AT Systems’ CashLINK, retailers employ salespeople and sales managers, tasking former cashiers with growing the business instead of managing cash. For retailers, it’s like getting a an extra part-time manager who works two hours each day, completely focused on growing the business, for the price of one manager.
“Armored transportation companies have transitioned from the old muscle and brawn of cash management, hauling cash to and from customer banks,” said Rick Uren, national accounts manager for AT Systems. “Vendors who still have a place in the market are those who have kept pace with customer need for both ‘brawn and brains’ from a logistics provider.
“Customers assume vendors have competency in hardware and armored transportation, but they feel their businesses are most impacted by information. They want vendors to provide that information in real time, and then incorporate it into their existing systems.”
So as the face of the armored industry-is changing, so is the feel of the traditional transportation customerthe convenience store. People are becoming the difference for where consumers choose to spend money on gas and store items, almost as significant as the classic three-cent differential.
Using products like AT Systems’ new CMS8000 solution, cashiers can switch their focus to customer service and upselling to increase UPTs, no longer bogged down by the burden of cash handling. CMS8000 autosafes offer open architecture through a Windows XP platform, providing for easy system integration with POS, back office and corporate accounting. Systems are network ready and fully scalable to suit customer needs as the business grows and changes.
Uren explains that as customers become increasingly savvy about soft costs, solutions such as CashLINK with the CMS8000 autosafes further improve ROI by reducing training costs with user-friendly touch screen technology that offers bilingual options.
“With the capability for us to remotely interface with autosafes placed in customer locations, downtime is reduced for upgrades, such as bill reader improvements and diagnostics, keeping employees selling to customers with minimal focus on the cash handling equipment. Plus, fewer technician visits equals reduced operating costs and limited store disruption,” he said.
AT Systems customers, such as Speedway SuperAmerica and United Dairy Farmers, don’t want complicated explanations and procedures. Customers look for “money magic” that delivers timely, accurate information to corporate; security, accuracy and ease of use to store personnel; and an overall enhanced bottom line, all while requiring minimal effort from them.
“When customers choose a service as important as securing cash and cash related information, they want all of the work to go on behind the scenes with vendors, and why shouldn’t they? After all, ‘seamless’ means transparent. It means employees should only have to touch the cash once as part of the transaction,” Uren said. “Customers shouldn’t have to know that CashLINK processed more than $8 billion, which translates into 500 million notes last year.
“Managers should just have to see their cash deposit information, and their individual reporting appear in their systems, with nothing required of them to get it there,” he added.
So what about the cashier-less store environment? Uren believes it’s the concept of the tomorrow being offered today. “If you owned an auto dealership, would you rather have only cashiers ready to ring in purchases or salespeople assisting customers?” he said. “No businesses are really very different in this respect. With products available being similar, the competitive advantage belongs to retailers who offer the best people, the best product and the most efficient, streamlined operations to reduce costs.”
And what of a link tying it all together? “Information. Usable information. It changes everything for retailers interested in building profits,” Uren said.