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    News from the NRF Show

    Tech vendors continue to improve c-store solutions, and the big boy technology companies, such as Dell and Microsoft, are making headway in the single-store industry.

    By Tammy Mastroberte

    NEW YORK -- This year's NRF Show (National Retail Federation) took place in New York City at the Javitz Center from Jan. 14-17. And while the tradeshow floor featured technology solutions for all channels of retail, c-store solutions were booming.

    DemandTec, a provider of consumer-centric merchandising, sales and marketing software in the price optimization space -- recently selected by Circle K Stores for both its Price and Promotion technologies -- showcased its newest software-as-a-service solution following its acquisition of TradePoint Solutions Inc., announced in mid-December, 2006.

    In combination with the company's promotion modules, the TradePoint technology provides consumer demand management and forecasting, promotion planning and optimization and online collaborative deal management.

    Benefits to retailers include consistent deal management and billing across all vendors and brokers, integrated and controlled planning with vendors, improved promotions and category performance, better forecast accuracy and in-store service levels during promotions, and improved audit performance, according to the company.

    SAP America, Inc., is another provider that was on hand with its SAP for Retail solution, chosen by Wawa Inc. as its business management platform to integrate core operations from the storefront to the corporate back-office. The solution enables the Wawa to run industry-specific business processes for store-level forecasting and replenishment and merchandise planning, while better managing point-of-sale (POS) data, procurement processes and back-office functions, the company stated.

    SAP for Retail is an industry solution that combines mySAP Business Suite solutions with a broad set of integrated retail applications to help companies profitably serve consumer demand across multiple channels. SAP provides Internet-enabled applications in a fully connected system to help companies integrate sales channels, take advantage of collaboration over the Web, and better understand customer preferences, according to the company.

    Built on the open architecture of the SAP NetWeaver platform, SAP for Retail allows for integration of business processes for merchandise management and planning, demand forecasting, sophisticated allocation, workforce management, POS data management, RFID and replenishment.

    Single-Store Solutions
    This year's show also had a number of technology applications geared toward the small chain and single-store operator, and Microsoft and Dell are leading the way.

    Partnering with HP and First Data Corp., Microsoft offers The First Data POS Value Exchange, which replaces a cash register and traditional POS terminal with a computer-based system that delivers a complete store management solution with greater information security, speed of transactions and more flexible payment options for customers, the company reported.

    The POS Value exchange leverages First Data's payment processing power for virtually all forms of payment -- from credit and debit to gift cards and checks; Microsoft Dynamics POS 2.0 software from Microsoft, designed to manage inventory, track sales and improve customer management; and HP's rugged, retail-specific POS hardware solution.

    Both purchase and lease options are available, and can be acquired through First Data as well as its participating alliance partners.

    Dell also showcased a small business solution on the NRF trade show floor -- the Dell/Quickbooks POS. The software virtually replaces a cash register, tracks inventory, sales and customer information, and provides a variety of reporting capabilities.

    The bundle available includes Windows XP Professional, a Dell 17-inch monitor, a Dell keyboard and mouse, a hand-held bar code imager/scanner, ID Tech magnetic stripe reader, APG Compact Cash Drawer, Epson Thermal Printer, Quickbooks POS 6.0 Basic Software fro Intuit and three-years of support. The system starts at $2849, and can be leased for as low as $76 per month.

    Dell also introduced its new 15-inch touch-screen monitor priced at $529 at the NRF Show. It features acoustic wave technology for precise performance and clarity, and includes an option for an attachable magnetic stripe reader that can be easily removed for servicing, the company stated. Additionally, it complies with the RoHS Directive, which restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

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