NCR celebrates 25th 'scanniversary'

NCR celebrates 25th 'scanniversary'

Point-of-sale (POS) systems vendor NCR said it is expecting to increase its involvement with the channel in coming years as retailers move to integrate checkout systems with back-end systems.

In a promotion it called its "scanniversary", NCR yesterday pointed out it had been a full quarter of a century since it introduced the barcode scanning technology now very much a part of retailing POS.

It also used the celebration to sing the marketing message of how technology is continuing to change the face of retailing.

According to Paul Mitchell, marketing director for NCR Asia-Pacific, it is customer relationship management (CRM) and one-to-one marketing that are the buzzwords in retail at the moment.

He said that systems successfully achieving these goals need to integrate POS with enterprise and CRM systems, which have traditionally had much higher contact with indirect channels such as integrators, than NCR's current model.

Mitchell said only 30 per cent of its current POS business is moving through resellers such as Retail Directions and Surefire, but he expects that to be much closer to 50-50 in the future.

"Retailers are all moving towards closer relationships with their customers and one-to-one marketing strategies," Mitchell said.

"For us to get our solutions into these companies we have to be integrating with their back-end enterprise and customer management systems which means we will be doing more partnering with specialist resellers."

Mitchell said other successful applications of technology in retailing that NCR is pushing include in-store kiosks, electronic price labelling, product-recognition tools and self-service checkout counters.

These technologies are already changing the shopping experience at big chain stores in the US and are currently being assessed locally by some big names.

Interestingly, he also claims it is technology which offers the best opportunity for independent retailers to improve efficiencies and combat increasing competition from the Internet and national chain.

"It is a lot easier for independents and smaller retailers to develop loyalty programs on a local basis," Mitchell said. "Getting closer to customers is one of the biggest driving forces in retailing at the moment and the smaller guys already have a much better understanding and knowledge of who their customers are."

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