Retail embraces pan-European concepts and integrated solutions
From 23 to 27 February 2008, EuroShop, the leading show for retail investement will be staged at the Düsseldorf Trade Fair Center. One of the four sub-sections under the EuroShop umbrella is EuroCIS, where the topic of payment systems will take center stage. Already, almost all of the key players in the card payment systems sector have registered to participate in EuroShop 2008. Aside from TeleCash and easycash, these will include Thales, REA, Banksys, B&S Card, InterCard and El-Me. Plus, numerous companies active in cash management solutions, such as Gunnebo and CashGuard, will also be stepping out.
Just how important integrated pan-European payment concepts are, especially in view of the far-reaching spread of internationalisation towards Eastern Europe, is revealed in the latest EHI Retail Institute survey, entitled “Card-based Payment Systems in Retail”. Willingness to invest has taken a significant step up. Although many issues regarding a “Single European Payment Area” (SEPA) are still unresolved, many companies have currently put migration to a pan-European payment system high on their agendas.
Further areas attracting intensive investment, as noted in the EHI study, are the integration of payment systems, i.e. the streamlining of software and terminal concepts, TCP/IP solutions as well as the implementation of combined processes, such as electronic cash and direct debit. It was found that the latter solutions were preferred when risks were weighed up against costs. Through a system of flexibly controlled limits, the secure PIN-supported electronic cash process is combined with the more cost-effective, signature-based direct debit process.
Among the 228 German companies with their total of roughly 49,000 branches participating in this year’s EHI survey, there were no longer any willing or able to dispense with cashless payment entirely. Accounting for a total of 34.1 percent of sales, paying by card has become one of the cornerstones of in-store service. Just twelve years ago, the proportion of these transactions was a mere 6.2 percent.
The biggest increase in the use of cards was recorded by discount grocery stores. In this highly competitive sector, where the major players long put off the introduction of cashless payment, sales paid by card rose by 11.5 to 17.9 percent within a year. With the nationwide introduction of electronic cash payments at German discounter Aldi and just before it, at Lidl, the last bastions holding out against universal card acceptance have fallen.
As far as chip technology goes, retailers have picked up on the first noticeably positive effects. Most stores where electronic cash payments are accepted now successfully authorise an appreciable number of transactions (roughly 15–20 percent) offline and on site. For this process to work, the cards accepted must be fitted with a chip and a personally defined limit on the funds available. This facilitates speeding up the payment process. Almost 70 percent of large companies already take advantage of this offline electronic cash payment option.
The EHI forecasts a further, but somewhat slower growth spurt in sales paid by plastic by the year 2010. The cannibalisation effects between the various processes will continue to increase as they compete under the criteria of security, transaction speed/reliability, system openness and, last but not least, cost.
With all the leading suppliers of payment system solutions for fixed location retailers lined up to appear in the EuroCIS section of EuroShop 2008, the industry is greatly looking forward to the event. The entire spectrum of payment systems for retailers ranging from the latest generation payment terminals through payment software for checkout systems and cash management solutions to sales transaction-related services will be on display.
As Europe’s No. 1 trade fair for IT and security technology, EuroCIS has successfully established itself with annual stagings over the past few years. Every third year, the next being 2008, EuroCIS opens its doors under the EuroShop umbrella.
Just how respected EuroShop and EuroCIS are in the industry is apparent from exhibitors’ response to EuroCIS 2007. Oliver Lohmüller-Gillot, who heads retail sales at the Stuttgart payment services business, TeleCash, voiced his company’s tremendous satisfaction: “EuroCIS has firmly established itself as an annual trade fair for retail. Our integrated solutions offered within the framework of the TeleCash PaymentBOX were very well received.” Germany’s biggest POS network operator, easycash, also regularly harnesses the EuroCIS and EuroShop platforms to successfully maintain existing business relationships and forge new ones. Siegfried Heimgärtner, managing director, praises above all the industry focus and high-calibre discussions that can be conducted at the fair: “Participating in EuroCIS serves to pique interest among our clients, in Germany and abroad. We expect this interest to translate into new projects, particularly in the retail sector.”
EuroShop will welcome trade visitors to Halls 3–17 (excluding Hall 8) of the Düsseldorf Trade Fair Center daily between 10am and 6pm from Saturday, 23 February to Wednesday, 27 February 2008. The EuroCIS segment will occupy Halls 6–7. One-day tickets will cost EUR 40 (EUR 28 plus postage if purchased in advance online), while two-day tickets will sell for EUR 60 (EUR 45 plus postage, online in advance). Five-day tickets will be available for EUR 110 (EUR 90 plus postage, online in advance). Students and trainees will be admitted for EUR 15. Admission tickets entitle holders to travel free of charge to the fair and back on public transport within the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Sieg Regional Transport Networks (VRR and VRS). For further information on all things EuroShop, please go to www.euroshop.de.
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