The Green Sheet Online Edition
November 09, 2009 • Issue 09:11:01
Consolidated purchasing for truckers
The convenience store at a gas station is in every way a convenience to most patrons. People can pay for chips or sodas along with their gas, consolidating disparate purchases into a one-stop buy.
For big-rig truck drivers who fill up with diesel, however, the scenario is different. The diesel filling station is, by and large, distinct; it has its own POS terminal and is the only place diesel purchases can be made. Drivers who want to purchase fuel and snacks need make two separate purchases, one at the pump and one inside.
More convenience for diesel purchasing
Such fueling stations are the primary target of a new line of POS card acceptance products, called Smart Solutions, from payment technology innovator and provider Comdata Corp.
Among the products is Smart Fuel, a POS device for diesel fueling stations on which both diesel and convenience store items can be purchased, making gas station payments for truckers as easy as they are for consumers purchasing standard gasoline.
"What most truck stops have is a fuel deck, and then they have a convenience store that does all the series of other purchases they need to do," said Joe Daly, Executive Vice President of Comdata. "What Smart Solutions does is allows them to have a single solution for their point of sale and profit centers within that store, so no longer will the truck driver have to get on the line to pay for his fuel and then get on the line to pay for his other products. He can make all those purchases at one particular place."
Daly said the product would similarly make things easier for the owner of the gas station, who no longer has to deal with two separate POS networks each with its own maintenance requirement.
"What it does for the store is this: I'm a store owner; I have to have two people to man both of those; I need two maintenance contracts and two support contracts and two pieces of hardware sold by two different companies," Daly said. "With Smart Solutions all of that gets cut in half."
Host of products
The Smart Solutions suite also includes, among other products, Smart DESQ for convenience stores, on which diesel gasoline purchases can be consolidated similarly, except with an in-store purchase, and Smart Lock, which is strictly for diesel purchases made without an attendant present.
Daly said Smart Solutions products are used in any number of retail environments, including restaurants and cafeterias. He said many of the products use touch screens that can be tailored in a variety of ways. For example, restaurants can color code their different food items (entrees in yellow, appetizers in blue, for example) to make them easier to find and reduce training time.
The terminals accept credit and debit cards and cash, as well as proprietary payment cards. Those are particularly important in the trucking business, in which proprietary card networks dominate the payment space, Daly said.
Daly added that Smart Solutions comes with an "open architecture" that makes accounting simpler for store managers, consolidating data into a single electronic ledger and providing extensive accounting reports.
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