From The Editor | August 29, 2013

How Money Makes Retailers Money


By Bob Johns

Bob Johns, Robert Johns, associate editor

Cash can become a revenue generator and efficiency gainer for retailers using the latest technologies.

Money, whether it is processing it in the back room, cashiers handling it up front, or customers turning in coins for cash, is at the forefront of retail operations, especially for supermarkets and high-volume sales retailers. Sometimes it costs retailers money by counting, processing deposits, counterfeit acceptance, and purchasing coin. Other times it can make retailers money through increased efficiencies or coin machines for customers.

There has been a lot of talk about the new $100 bill due to be released, and not all of it good. One thing that is going to be extremely important is being able to accept and process the new bill in feeders. Many companies rely on safes and bill counters that could be older or outdated. “The new $100 bill deployment offers a great opportunity to upgrade to newer technologies, or trade in older equipment,” says Bob Gibson, VP of branch operations with Cummins Allison. “The new currency upgrades have been going on for over 10 years, where the government gives the various denominations a facelift. We know in advance that these changes are coming, so we stay ahead of the process and educate the retail client. They may need to be able to process the new bill on the existing equipment with an upgrade or add new equipment. They also need to be able to identify counterfeits right at the POS. We can help them in all of these areas with new solutions and training.” Depending on what the customer prefers, there are do-it-yourself upgrade flash drives, upgrades can also be provided as part of the preventative maintenance contracts, service work, and inspections. There are multiple ways for retailers to get upgraded.

The Treasury Department and Bureau of Engraving work with companies in the cash-handling space, and they know the different technologies that may have to handle the bills. They will reach out to companies like Cummins Allison to evaluate and test processes with the bill, so that they are prepared for the retailers when the bills are released.

Being prepared for the new bills is not the only way retailers can save money when it comes to cash handling. Managers spend many man-hours per week counting and recounting deposits. The JetScan iFX from Cummins Allison can cut that time significantly. The technology is revolutionary in that it can scan both checks and currency at 1,600 notes and 400 checks per minute, offering huge efficiency increases for back-room operations. The checks are imaged on the spot, making it easy to make POS corrections, and the deposits can be electronically processed and posted in the same day. Additionally, there are till balancing options, coin recycling, and coin sorters all to help save time and increase accuracy.

One of the best ways for retailers to make money on money is coin machines, where customers can bring in their coins, dump them in the machine, and receive paper money in return. Supermarkets and high-volume retail locations are perfect areas of opportunity for coin machines. “Consumers have already begun to expect to have coin machines in supermarket stores,” says Jim Weaks, VP, business unit manager at Cummins Allison. “The question becomes, ‘How should it be put in store and managed?’ There are different business objectives, but the machines need to be where people go frequently. People see the machines on their first trip, and they return with their coins.” Depending on how the retailer wants to handle the machine, they can purchase the machine and handle all of the operations; they can rent the machine and handle the operations, they can purchase the machine and have Cummins Allison handle all of the operations, or they can just receive a percentage of revenue and allow the company to handle every aspect of the solution. Obviously, the more the retailer takes on, the higher percentage of revenue they keep.

“A lot of times, the coin machine revenue is ancillary,” Weaks continues. “The real revenue comes afterward. Most patrons will spend most, if not all, of the money they get from the machine in the store, boosting overall sales.” The company will walk a retailer through a 300-point process to determine the viability of a machine at any location by including demographics and competition data.

The latest coin machines from Cummins Allison are designed to get the customer into the store, spending this new found money as quickly as possible. The new machines process 3,000 coins per minute with 99.995% accuracy. This is accomplished using a patented sorting head function which is more accurate and four to five times faster than the leading competition. “The machines have high up time, can be remotely monitored, and can generate additional traffic an revenue at a time when competition is the highest,” Weaks says. Cash is still king, and you need to make sure this king is making you money, not costing you it.