The 10 digital retail terms you definitely need to know

As new convenience and fuel technologies emerge, they bring with them a whole of host of new phrases and terminology intended to identify new functionalities and additional capabilities. And whereas some of these terms might be seen as self-explanatory, others can be a little more confusing, especially for those who may not be all that familiar with the technology itself.

If you’re one of the many retailers still getting accustomed to the concept of Software-as-a-Service, or you instinctively look to the skies at any mention of the term cloud-based, we hope to clear up some of the technical vernacular to help improve your understanding.

We’ve pulled together 10 of the most important digital retail terms that all convenience store and forecourt owners need to know, to help you stay on top of the latest technological trend

1 – Back Office Software – This is software designed specifically to help a business manage its overall operations at a particular store or site. This would typically involve aspects that are not sales related or customer facing, such as inventory and stock management, pricing and promotions.

2 – Cloud-based – When something is described as being cloud-based, this means that a particular service or software is being hosted (stored) at another location (typically a third-party data centre) so you don’t need to have hardware at your site performing this same job. The software is still freely accessible on-demand you just need an Internet connection to do so

3 – Digital Signage – This refers to a form of electronic display. Digital signage typically uses technologies such as LCD and LED screens or projectors to display images, text or videos. These are often used in retail to alert and inform customers of new products or promotions.

4 – EPOS – An EPOS is an Electronic Point of Sale, often using specific Point of Sale software on a computerised system that allows retailers to process transactions and record sales data. As customer habits are changing the role of the EPOS is expanding to enable lots of other capabilities like mobile payments and self-checkout.

5 – Head Office Software – This refers to software that is specifically designed to help retailers collect and analyse data gathered at multiple stores or sites. Information is collected by individual Back Office Systems and then aggregated together by the Head Office Software to provide an overall view of business performance.

6 – Mobile Payments – This refers to a payment method that allows customers to complete transactions using their mobile device as opposed to paying cash or inserting a debit or credit card into a chip and pin pad. Paying in this way typically requires the use of specific mobile applications which need to be integrated with your EPOS.

7 – Mobile POS – A version of your Point of Sale software which is installed on a mobile device, allowing users to actively engage with customers and complete transactions on the move without the need to queue for use of a fixed terminal.

8 – Open Platform – This is a common computing term and refers to a software system that is based on open and universally recognised code, making it easier for third-parties to integrate and add additional functionality

9 – Software-as-Service – Otherwise known as SaaS, this refers to the payment of software and applications via regular subscription, as opposed to an outright purchase of a single license to be used over a fixed time period. We’ve already covered this particular topic in a recent blog, so take a look if you’d like to explore SaaS in more detail.

10 – User Interface – This is the point at which a user and a computer system interact. Through the interface, the user can then operate that particular system and perform certain tasks. For many retail technologies such as our own evoPOS, the user interface is a touch screen display from which the user, often the cashier, can process transactions.

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