Visit us at Hotelympia!

MICROS will be exhibiting at Hotelympia this year, taking place at ExCel London between 28th April and 1st May.

We’ll be exhibiting all of our latest applications for hotels and food and beverage in the Technology Zone.

Our Point-of-Sale Innovation Bar can be found by the HOSPA Hub. Here we’ll be showcasing some of our very latest technologies:

  • Mobile payment and ordering innovations, with Qikserve and iRiS
  • PayPal Paycode and PayPal Picture Payment
  • New devices – the latest tablet and handheld technology from MICROS

On our World of OPERA hotel stand you will see:

  • OPERA 9 – the latest version of our property management system
  • OPERA Mobile – manage guest check-in/out, housekeeping, and maintenance on hand-held devices
  • Mobile apps – see iRiS GuestValet in action and find out how branded apps can help your hotel

There will also be an OPERA Challenge for anyone familiar with the world’s most popular property management system – we’ll be giving away a very nice prize every day to a lucky winner.

Hotelympia begins on Monday 28 April and runs until Thursday 1 May.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Returning unwanted items bought online to a retailer

The 2014 MICROS Online Returns and Refunds Report is out soon. In it, we put 217 retailers to the test on how easy it was to return an unwanted item bought online.

Below are some of the key findings on now returns worked.

1. Post

We returned 169 items by post. 64% of those retailers required us to fill in a form enclosed with the delivery. 19% asked the customer to contact the retailer to gain return instructions (compared to 15% in last year’s report).  Interestingly, 9% of these retailers gave no information at all to the customer on how to return an item, an increase of 6% compared to last year.

2. Courier

We returned 20 items by courier (we only do this where there is no post or store return option available to us). 45% of those retailers asked us to arrange courier collection online, compared to only 13% of retailers that required this last year. The other half asked the customer to make a single call either to the retailer or the courier to arrange collection, which is a bit simplification on previous years.

Overall, all of our courier collections were arranged easily and completed successfully.

3. Collect+

This year we saw a big increase in the amount of retailers offering Collect+ as a returns option; 60 retailers did so, up from 36 last year. 80% of those 60 retailers provided us with a returns form and a Collect+ label which we had to fill in. The remaining 20% required us to go online and print off our returns form and Collect+ label.

All Collect+ returns were carried out easily with very clear instructions.

Keep a look out in April for the release of the 2014 MICROS Online Returns and Refunds Report. In the meantime, you can download the 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report.

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Do retailers provide returns instructions with online orders?

Our 2014 MICROS Online Returns and Refund Report will be published in April. In the report, we returned unwanted items to 217 retailers, all within seven days, so that we could evaluate the ease of the returns and refund process.

One of the questions looked at whether the retailer provided clear returns instructions in the package. We found that only 66% of the 217 retailers included returns information with the item, down from 71% last year.

You can read more on this in the report, which will be out soon. You can also download a copy of our 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report.

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Retail returns policies – how many days to return an item bought online?

The 2014 MICROS Online Returns and Refunds Report will be published in April. In this report, the 217 orders that were placed for the Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report were returned to the retailer within 7 days in order for us to test the retailer’s returns and refund processes.

One of the questions in the report looks at how long each retailer gave the customer to return an unwanted item bought online.

We found that retailers were most likely to give the customer 28 days to return an unwanted item bought online, with 40% of retailers giving this length of time compared to 31% in the last report.

85% of retailers required the customer to return the item within 30 days of arrival.

Be sure to look out for the 2014 Online Returns and Refunds Report in April. For now, you can download the 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report.

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New iPad sales solution brings web and store together at Monsoon

MICROS and Monsoon Accessorize have launched the UK’s first live pilot version of MICROS Retail Assistant, an in-store sales application that connects web with point-of-sale.

The solution, known as Monsoon Accessorize Extended (or MAX), allows store staff to use iPads to engage with customers and process transactions. Using the application, staff can present the retailer’s extended product range to a customer and locate stock, whether on the shop floor, in the store room, in another store, or in the eCommerce distribution centre.

The application, based on MICROS Retail Assistant, is the first to be fully integrated with the store POS, allowing the transaction to be completed right there on the iPad through the POS using a wireless Chip and PIN device.

Monsoon Accessorize has already launched Monsoon MAX in its Cardinal Place, Victoria Street store in London and plans to introduce the service in nine more sites in March and pending successful trial, roll out across the UK estate. The retailer hopes the application will boost average transaction values.

Pete Byrne, Head of IT Monsoon, said, “This project is about personalising the experience across channels using a more joined-up approach. Our store staff will have the capability to gain a clear view of stock levels across the business, which enables them to be more responsive to customer queries and go that extra mile, delivering value-added services such as personal shopping to loyal customers. It also increases revenues by incentivising staff, as sales are made and recognised on an individual store basis.”

The Stock Checker functionality allows staff to quickly identify whether an item is in-stock and available to buy in the relevant store. If necessary it can leverage Monsoon Accessorize’s multi-channel capability and send an order to a convenient store for collection, or alternatively an order can be placed for the items to be shipped directly from the warehouse to the customer’s home. The order can be combined with additional in-store purchases, with the customer paying for all items at once. iPads will also be used by staff in the changing room for on the spot stock checks, without having to leave the customer and risk losing a sale.

The application has been specifically designed to be used by in-store staff, with an augmented user journey that makes it easy to engage with customers while keeping the transactional process as simple as possible.

Byrne commented; “We want to ensure that our customers get a consistent experience across all channels. This system provides a true multi-channel environment whereby a sale can be completed then and there, even when the physical product is not available.”

Byrne continued, “Staff can now maximise every sales opportunity. Our staff are telling us that the application is already invaluable, and it’s easy to use with little training required. Once they get hold of it, they generally want to use it all the time. They also love it because the multi-channel orders that they create in-store are credited to them and their store.”

He added, “It’s still early days but from what we’ve experienced so far we have high expectations for the future. Once the roll-out across our retail estate has been complete we will look to extend the offering with the free movement of stock across the retail estate, based on a single stock pool model.”

Spencer McKelvey, Sales Director at MICROS, said; “Providing customers with a seamless and personal shopping experience across any channel is one of retail’s great goals right now and it’s very much part of the MICROS vision. This is why we created The Hub, a central integration system, which connects online and in-store operations, and MICROS Retail Assistant, which puts the benefits of that multi-channel integration into the hands of customer-facing sales assistants.”

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Thomas Cook – tweeting instant ideals to customers

I liked this idea from Thomas Cook: they’re allowing customers to search for holiday deals just by tweeting the name of their preferred destination to @TCOffers.

I tested it out by tweeting ‘Holiday deals to Marrakesh and Paris @TCOffers.’

Once sent, I instantly received an answer in real time with links to the appropriate holiday destinations.

When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the Thomas Cook Paris city breaks web page where I could start planning my holiday.

I thought this was a really innovative and clever idea – it’ll be interesting to see if other travel companies adopt it.

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How many retailers have free wi-fi in their stores?

Our 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report was published in January. In this year’s report we visited the stores of 100 UK retailers to evaluate the multi-channel retail experience that was on offer to the customer.

One of the questions focused on whether the retailers were offering free wi-fi in their stores. We measured this by checking our smartphones while in the store, or by looking for posters advertising free internet connectivity. We only counted stores that had their wi-fi unlocked.

We found that 25% of the retailers had free wi-fi, which is an increase on the 16% that offered this last year.

You can read more by downloading the 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report.

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How many returns options do retailers offer to their customers?

The 2014 MICROS Online Returns and Refunds Report will be published next month.  In this report, the 217 orders that were placed for the Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report were returned to the retailer within 7 days in order for us to test the retailer’s returns and refund process.

57% of the 217 retailers offered the consumer a choice of methods for returning an unwanted item bought online. 86% offered post as a returns option, while 17% offered a carrier collection. 46% allowed us to take an item back to store, while 28% offered Collect+ returns.

Be sure to look out for the 2014 Online Returns and Refunds Report in April. For now, you can download the 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report.

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Anglia Restaurants – good example of restaurant loyalty

At MICROS, we’re working with a number of restaurants to provide the technology behind their loyalty programmes. Anglia Restaurants is a good example – they were the first UK restaurant group to implement our MICROS iCare solution to improve their Platinum Club loyalty scheme.

Last week we published this case study about loyalty at Anglia Restaurants. Some interesting stats:

  • The Platinum Club is a loyalty programme aimed at the over 60s.
  • Anglia now has a database of over 10,000 customers.
  • 30% of those customers visit at least once a month, with some using the loyalty card every single day.
  • A birthday promotion to Platinum Club members last year was really popular; 30-35% of birthday vouchers get redeemed.

Scott Gurney, Operations Manager at Anglia Restaurants, says; “We decided to include iCare when we were investing in the MICROS system because loyalty-based promotions are an important part of our strategy. Last year we focused on introducing iCare to the business and it’s been a great success.”

Loyalty is extremely important for food and beverage operators. In our whitepaper, The future for discounts and loyalty in the restaurant industry, 42% of consumers surveyed said that discounts are very or extremely important in helping them decide where to eat, while 39% said that they prefer to receive discounts as part of a loyalty scheme.

For more information on how we’re helping Anglia and other leading restaurants, download our Anglia Restaurants case study or call 01753 501607 or email uk-micros@micros.com

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How many retailers offer Collect+ as a returns option?

After the successful publication of our 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report, we are now collating the data for the 2014 Online Returns and Refunds Report, which will be published in April.

The 217 orders that were placed for the Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report were all returned to the retailer within 7 days in order for us to test the retailer’s returns and refund process.

One of the findings in this year’s report will be the increase in retailers using Collect+ as an option for returning an unwanted item bought online. Collect+ is a service that allows customers to take a parcel to one of 5,500 outlets across the UK, usually a corner shop or other convenience store, and have it returned to the retailer.

28% of the 217 UK retailers we tested now offer Collect+ as a returns option, up from 16% last year.

Be sure to look out for the 2014 Online Returns and Refunds Report in April. For now, you can download the 2014 MICROS Multi-channel Retail Delivery Report.

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