VeriFone Systems Inc. is offering retailers a digital marketing system that touts discounts and suggests additional purchases based on what shoppers are buying at that moment at the point of sale.
The San Jose, Calif.-based terminal maker acquired the system by purchasing a startup called Lift Retail Marketing Technology Inc., and it is branding the product as LiftRetail Solutions. Wells Burke, Lift CEO, is joining VeriFone as vice president and LiftRetail general manager.
The Lift acquisition is small for VeriFone but fits the vendor’s recent pattern of acquiring companies that take it beyond the confines of the payment-terminal business, says Gil B. Luria, senior vice president at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities LLC.
Adding the product also enhances VeriFone’s convenience-store software, Luria notes.
LiftRetail software records purchases of “affinity” merchandise–goods that customers buy at the same time, Burke tells PaymentsSource. After observing purchases in a store for a couple of weeks, the software begins offering discounts or making suggestions for add-on purchases, he says.
Say a customer walks into a convenience store and buys a cup of coffee, for example. When the cashier scans the barcode, an image of a steaming mug of joe and some other product might appear on a 19-inch monitor aimed at the consumer.
The system chooses that companion product based on the history of what shoppers buy with their coffee in that particular store at different times of day. At a particular location shoppers might tend to buy a donut with their morning coffee, a bottle of water and a cup of coffee in the afternoon so they can hydrate and caffeinate at the same time, or a cup of coffee and an energy shot in the evening to keep going.
A written message on the screen with the coffee and donut image might offer information on the price of adding the second purchase or how much the shopper would save by buying the two products together if the retailer is offering a discount.
Meanwhile, the cashier sees a sales script on a 7-inch monitor angled to accommodate his or her field of vision. The script might prompt the cashier to offer the additional product and quote the price or savings.
The cashier’s screen also keeps a running total of “upsells,” or additional products they have sold. It also might inform the employee that, for example, the evening’s 45 successful selling gambits are closing in on the goal of 65 for the shift, Burke says.
The data collected on the cashier’s performance give management a new way of evaluating employees, he notes. Until now, managers have used negative criteria to evaluate workers, such as “voids” that tell little more whether someone is stealing from the till.
The data collected on purchases also could impart wisdom on stock and brands that managers could use to operate their stores more effectively, Burke says.
Time permitting and depending on their proclivities, managers may use the system as a tool to understand their operations and to further the 20 to 40 promotions per month convenience stores typically offer, he notes.
However, overburdened mangers can plug in the system and give it time to “learn” the clientele’s habits and preferences, Burke says.
The system detects discounts and displays them frequently, he notes.
VeriFone is marketing the product to convenience stores and petroleum retailers but sees potential to move beyond those categories to any store with a large assortment of merchandise, Burke says.
The system also works with POS systems that are not manufactured by VeriFone, he notes. Testing of the product began about two years ago, but VeriFone declines to say how many stores are using it.
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