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Mobile Epos system halves Xmas queues at WHSmith

Daniel Thomas
High street retailer WHSmith is piloting a mobile electronic point of sale (Epos) system in the run up to Christmas - a move that has already cut transaction times by 50%.

The implementation is the first stage of a complete overhaul of the company's Epos systems, the ultimate aim of which is to end up with an entirely mobile system.

In November, WHSmith implemented Casio wireless barcode scanning devices in 25 of its stores. The devices, based on the Coalition Omnicommerce platform from NSB, can scan the barcodes of all items in a customer's shopping basket and print a receipt for immediate payment at the checkout.

This has helped to cut customer waiting times dramatically in the vital pre- Christmas trading period, according to Mark Branwell, business systems manager at WHSmith UK Retail.

"Feedback from staff and customers has been enthusiastic and we are reducing customers' time at the till by about half," he said. "Christmas is the single busiest time of the year for us and queuing is an issue we needed to address."

Branwell said market research by WHSmith has shown that, in the past, customers have perceived queuing as a barrier to either coming into the store in the first place or buying goods once they are there.

WHSmith plans to introduce the mobile Epos system, carried by staff on the shop floor, at peak times such as Saturday lunchtime, as well as during the busy Christmas period, explained Branwell.

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