August 11, 2003, 12:00 AM

Alaska Riverways boosts sales, cuts lines with web-enabled POS

At the gift shops operated by Alaska Riverways, a new web-enabled POS system is cutting once-long checkout lines by speeding credit card transactions over the Internet in 3 seconds instead of 90.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

At the one of the main gift shops operated by Alaska Riverways, customer traffic rarely flows at a steady pace. Shoppers by the hundreds hit the store just before or just after riding one of its tour boats. And because nearly all customers are traveling tourists paying with credit cards, they often suffered through endless checkout lines waiting for the shoppers ahead of them to get their card transactions authorized. Customers at the back of the line often put back their intended purchases and left disgruntled. But a web-enabled POS system has changed all that, by cutting the time it takes to process credit card transactions to 3 seconds from 90, Reid Jeglum, general manager of retail operations and information technology, tells Internet Retailer.

Earlier this year, Alaska Riverways implemented a web-enabled POS system from Retail Technologies Inc., which integrates with a credit card processing system form Shift4 Corp. that processes card authorizations over the Internet. Now, instead of a store cashier having to swipe a credit card into the POS system and re-key customer data into a separate authorization terminal, the integrated system enables a single-swipe transaction with no physical data entry. And because the customer data is transmitted to an always-on Internet connection, there is no interruption, Jeglum says.

With about 400 or 500 customers or more per day in a single store, the overall savings in time is substantial, he says. “If you multiply a minute and a half, instead of three seconds, across 500 transactions, that’s an awful lot,” Jeglum says.

The result, he adds, is happier customers and an increase in sales, as the store is now able to clear most lines before the boat takes off.

 

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