A study by Leger Marketing shows Canadian retailers may be losing $1.7 billion due to poor point-of-sale management. The study, conducted for Moneris Solutions Corp., shows that 56 per cent of Canadians have walked away from a purchase because of long waiting times at the checkout. Montreal-based

Leger Marketing spoke to 1,510 Canadians in a May telephone poll. About 60 per cent of them said the maximum acceptable waiting time is five minutes.

“”It is extremely significant,”” says Rena Granofsky, a retail analyst with Toronto-based J.C. Williams Group. “”You’ve just turned away business that you never even knew you had, and there’s really no way to track it other than surveys like this. What you really want to do is make sure your POS systems are as quick as possible (and) that you have enough of them.””

“”Merchants could be doing everything right but just because of the nature of their business, they get long lineups. That’s where the technology comes into play,”” says Kevin Tait, senior manager of communications with Moneris.

Toronto-based Moneris the result of a joint investment from Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada. In February, the company announced its intention to move its transaction-processing retail clients away from legacy architecture to an IP-based platform. Many businesses have already moved to an IP architecture for transaction processing, including Moneris clients FutureShop and Staples. There are some hold-outs, particularly among Tier 2 and Tier 3 retailers, which operate smaller storefronts, and still use dial-up technology for their POS transactions. “”I’m sure you’ve stood in line where you can actually hear the terminal dialing up after your card’s swiped. The new terminals (on an IP-based platform) are more like high-speed Internet. You swipe the card, you’re already connected, the transaction goes through and gets authorized,”” says Tait.

The move to IP for retailers is practically inevitable, according to NCR Canada president Brian Sullivan. There are still some large chains that use their own networks for transaction processing, but most retailers have by now built IP networks into their POS strategies. “”An IP-based terminal offers a little more functionality but it also becomes part of a bigger picture – how am I going to deal with information in my enterprise? – of which payment is a small subset of many things that go on,”” says Sullivan.

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