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    FROM FMI: StoreNext and MTXEPS Offer Way to Slash Electronic Payment Costs

    PLANO, Texas -- StoreNext and MTXEPS have teamed up to give independent grocers are way to better defend themselves and their profits against the spiraling costs to retail from electronic payments.

    PLANO, Texas -- StoreNext and MTXEPS have teamed up to give independent grocers are way to better defend themselves and their profits against the spiraling costs to retail from electronic payments.

    This new line of defense is a program that the partners have developed and tested with a retailer, and now are poised to bring to market as a solution to help independent grocers better manage those payment costs. Called Connected Payments, the new system comprises an array of features that should cut merchants' electronic payment expenses by up to 25 percent or more, StoreNext said yesterday.

    For retailers using StoreNext's ISS45 and ScanMaster POS systems, Connected Payments will also eliminate most up-front costs, including payments software licenses, the company said.

    "Connected Payments is a program aimed squarely at the number-one problem facing our customers," said Ray Carlin, StoreNext president and c.e.o. "Electronic payments interchange and processing fees often exceed independent and regional chain profit margins, and since these grocers are our single focus, their challenges are our challenges. StoreNext is stepping up with a revolutionary combination of new partnerships and a payments architecture that strips out layers of expense and drives electronic payment costs to the minimum."

    According to StoreNext, the up-front investments required for payment system upgrades have hindered most independents froim taking the plunge, leaving them instead with uncompetitive costs for electronic transactions as well as cumbersome checkout procedures. Connected Payments will allow independents to replace their payments systems free of software license charges and maintenance fees, including the WinEPS payment system and related point-of-sale interfaces and options for ScanMaster and ISS45 point-of-sale systems.

    The system will support new cost-cutting services such as electronic check conversion and Pay By Touch biometric payments, as well as gift card capabilities. To accelerate the savings, Connected Payments Processor Partners will transfer current processing merchants to Connected Payments without early conversion penalties or fees to the grocer.

    Connected Payments also supports all traditional WinEPS features such as redundant payments, automated dial backup, off-line management, automatic tender resolution and other options, StoreNext said. Users also can customize system reports or create new ones using standard Microsoft reporting tools. They can group, ungroup, or consolidate multiple stores for statistics, reporting, and analysis, all without an in-house payments switch.

    The system also supports automated Bank Identification Number (BIN) management for credit-to-debit conversion, as well as centralized signature capture storage and retrieval. Since Connected Payments supports standard broadband connections, the high infrastructure costs of leased lines or satellite communications also can be significantly reduced.

    "Several major grocery wholesalers have created payment programs on behalf of their member stores," said Carlin. "Our intention is to help wholesalers make these programs even more attractive with Connected Payments' ability to remove cost, support, and maintenance obstacles to success. In the coming weeks, we will be working with our wholesaler partners to put Connected Payments' capabilities and advantages at their service and to the service of their independent store members."

    In other StoreNext News, Bozzuto's Inc., a Cheshire, Conn.-based wholesaler, has added StoreNext's Connected Services enterprise application suite to its corporate banner, Adams Superfoods Stores, extending its strategic partnership with the vendor.

    The wholesaler already employs StoreNext's ISS45 and ScanMaster point-of-sale (POS) systems as well as Pricer infrared electronic shelf labels (ESLs), PocketOffice with Fujitsu iPAD mobile computers from StoreNext, and Retalix Power Enterprise systems. Bozzuto's now offers StoreNext products and services to more than 350 independent grocers it serves throughout the Northeast U.S.

    "We realized early on that we needed to change our solutions and operational procedures to remain competitive," said John Keeley, v.p. of information technology for Bozzuto's. "We required a single integrated set of solutions that were powerful enough to engage within our own locations and with the flexibility to support our independent retailer partners. A comprehensive review of available solutions for our corporate stores showed that the StoreNext-Retalix strategy was most closely aligned with our immediate needs and our strategic plans for the future."

    Keeley also said that the technology from StoreNext and Retalix has enabled them to share product knowledge and cost savings with their retail partners. Specifically with their corporate stores, they have improved reliability at checkout and integrated shelf-edge pricing with their scanning systems.

    Additionally, StoreNext's Connected Services product further provides Bozzuto's retailer partners with a complete back-office analysis solution using the "software-as-a-service" model, eliminating the large upfront investments typically required. "Connected Services helps Bozzuto's provide access to technology and services that independent retailers typically can't afford on their own," Keeley explained.

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