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Kiwi company claims world-first cloud point-of-sale system for petrol stations

An NZ IT company says it has developed a world first cloud-based point of sale technology for petrol stations in NZ - and one it plans to take to the global market.

The solution was developed for nationwide operator Gasoline Alley Services (GAS) by Kiwi IT specialists Choice Technology, in partnership with project managers Business IQ. It builds on Vend's cloud retail platform.

A rep for the company tells NBR the cost was $3000 to $5000 per site (not including installation costs), depending on whether the petrol station has one point-of-sale lane or two. 

The company won't say how much it spent developing the system. 

It says equipment costs for competing systems are between three and five times as much.  

It also touts that as cloud software, it's easier to update, and costs less to keep up to date.

GAS is okay with Choice selling the solution overseas, the company says. "This will begin with Australia in 2014 where smaller independent fuel retailers abound."

The system was developed following a GAS business transformation project begun in 2012 that identified the urgent need for a single point of sale system for all of its 115 GAS fuel stations located across the country. With the GAS businesses all independently-owned, operating a wide range of systems (some still using cash registers), many of which were over ten years old, the major issues in this project were to overcome cost, ensure simplicity and minimise disruption to business.

With other fuel retail systems being prohibitively expensive, GAS turned to Choice Technology and Business IQ for help. The result is GAS POS.  Based on locally-developed Vend cloud software, GAS POS is a world-first in fuel point of sale (POS), representing the first cloud-based POS solution to be rolled out by a major fuel retailer anywhere in the world.

The rollout of the GAS POS solution began in late 2012. It included GAS station site inspections, installations and follow-up training from Choice Technology. Choice Technology is already looking at enhancements to GAS POS and will soon market it overseas.

GAS POS includes low-cost, touch-screen hardware with corrosive-resistant screens, pump automation, integration with EFTPOS, the latest in ‘tap and go’ payment technology, advanced 24/7 support from the Choice Technology helpdesk and more. It also seamlessly integrates with other New Zealand-developed, cloud-based products such as Xero and Unleashed, and is built on New Zealand-developed Vend POS retail software.

Choice Technology’s managing director Damian Funnell says, “The development of GAS POS has been a very exciting project for Choice.  We’ve come up with an affordable, fully local solution for a business that is really heartland New Zealand. It not only supports GAS operators across the country, but also will have an international market. It’s a world-first – a real game changer for GAS and for international fuel companies. It costs one-tenth of alternative solutions.

“As well, GAS POS provides a range of immeasurable benefits and features that legacy systems just don’t offer. Our hats are off to GAS. GAS had the confidence and vision to proceed with this project despite its trailblazing nature.”

GAS managing director Tim Ellis says the company is thrilled with the outcome “Successfully developing GAS POS was no mean feat. With no two GAS stations the same, and a fairly unsophisticated legacy environment, it was a big ask from us. GAS POS has transformed our technology environment and GAS and its petrol stations are incalculably more robust, agile and ready for the future than we were a year ago.

“Working with Choice has undoubtedly helped us stay true to our vision to keep neighbourhood petrol service stations pumping, and to focus on our communities. Not only have we realised that vision, but also here we are with an internationally marketable system as a result.”

Vend, which is now used in over 8,000 stores worldwide was thrilled to work with Choice Technology and GAS to demonstrate the suitability of Vend POS in such a challenging environment. 

Vaughan Rowsell, founder and CEO of Vend says, “Choice Technology and GAS have been great companies to partner with. We’re excited by the innovative solution and application of Vend in a new vertical customer with many locations. It goes to show that cloud software offers significant benefits not just to independent or small retailers, but also to larger businesses operating on multiple, often remote locations. We’re really excited to roll out this world’s first solution into new markets.”

GAS’s Tim Ellis says, “This is a fantastic project outcome. The task was tough and challenged all players, but commends Choice Technology, Vend and the GAS retailers themselves for their determination, commitment and patience.”

Comments and questions
1

The POS ecosystem has been divided into niches (fuel retailing was one) for years, as each industry has distinctive requirements. So it's great to see Choice Technology do this, and it's also great to see Vend used as a platform. I do know of other niches being chased by companies intent on using Vend as a platform as well.

(Disclosure: I'm a minor Shareholder in Vend)