Escher launches new retail and analytics solutions
Postal technology leader Escher this week unveiled new solutions offering postal operators more flexible retail operations, real-time data analysis and better cross-border shipping.
The company’s new Universal ePOS solution delivers full postal service functionality to any third-party retail location, directly on their existing POS system or payment devices. With Universal ePOS, convenience store chains, drug stores, supermarkets, or petrol stations can now offer postal services at a far lower cost than was ever possible before.
Escher’s Universal ePOS solution allows a consumer at any retail store, at check out, to pay for all general merchandise from the store along with postal goods and services, in a single transaction. Bill payments, parcel returns, parcel drop-off and pick-up, flat rate parcel shipments, and Click n Ship are examples of transactions that can now be handled at the front of store check-out area.
“In an environment where consumer preferences are rapidly changing, costs are escalating, and competition is intense, Posts are looking for faster and easy-to-set-up solutions for expanding their network of locations and services in a cost-effective way,” explained Nick Manolis, CEO at Escher. “With Universal ePOS, Posts everywhere can now do so. While Universal ePOS will help Posts avoid many fixed costs related to new post office leases, hardware, support and maintenance by shifting to this variable cost model, it's truly the customer that benefits as a result of the added convenience and longer store operating hours now available to them.”
Wayne Haubner, the company’s CTO, added: “The Universal ePOS solution will transform the front of store operations at traditional retail counters everywhere through the use of our Universal ePOS API. While Universal ePOS integrates with a host of enterprise POS solutions making it ideal for large third-party retailers, it is equally an extremely effective solution for use in smaller convenience store chains and petrol stations that might be using POS-as-a-service systems. Our Universal ePOS solution can be deployed in a side-by-side configuration in this scenario as well.”
When Posts leverage Escher’s Universal ePOS solution, third-party retailers benefit greatly as well. These retailers expand their product offering instantly, leverage existing POS systems and payment terminals, and use floor space more efficiently. Retailers also experience increased footfall to their stores and can utilize existing staff to handle both general merchandize and postal transactions, the company noted.
Post Office On-Demand at any retail location
Meanwhile, Escher’s new Post Office On-Demand product is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution that provides postal operators with all the POS software, hardware, service, and support required to transform any retail location into a post office in less than a day.
With no specialized requirements for communication lines, hardware, or software, the ability to easily add or remove counter positions, no fixed commitments or contracts, and a simplified online registration process, Escher has removed many of the barriers related to postal service network expansion, enabling Posts to do so in an incredibly cost-effective way.
“The flexibility our Post Office on Demand solution provides through the ability to rapidly deploy a full set of postal services in any retail setting, and then scale that up or down based on customer demand, is what makes this such an attractive option for any postal operator, “ explained Nick Manolis. “Posts will also appreciate the option to swap out individual hardware and software components to optimally configure a post office to match their exact requirements.”
“While our new Post Office on-Demand solution will be a compelling option for any network expansion strategy through existing third-party retailers such as convenience stores, petrol stations, supermarkets, and the like, there are many more use-cases to consider,” added Wayne Haubner.
“Post Office on-Demand is one of the best choices available for adding temporary pop-up postal locations in busy malls during holiday periods when Posts experience peak parcel volumes. Disaster recovery is another excellent reason for choosing Post Office on-Demand. Should a natural disaster occur, Posts can quickly set up temporary locations to keep postal servicing running.”
Real-time Retail Analytics solution
The third new product is a Retail Analytics solution offering Posts real-time business insights and recommendations to enable critical decision making. This cloud-based solution uses AI technology to give Posts the power of real-time updates across their entire network and segments the sheer volume of information into digestible categories, including metrics related to cash and settlement, customer experience, compliance, productivity and efficiency and more.
Among the most significant hurdles for postal operators, according to Escher, is the incredible amount of data collected from across their retail network every day. What has not evolved, though, are the reporting methods many Posts still rely on. While many postal operators already leverage data analytics in some regards, it’s not always in the most efficient or effective ways due to the limited capability of available tools.
“In terms of delivering real business insight, postal operators need three things,” commented Nick Manolis. “Real-time data you can trust, flexible delivery mechanics, and self-service discovery. Our new Retail Analytics solution offers this. We provide postal operators with an in-depth snapshot of their current operations in real-time, deliver actionable recommendations, and we make it incredibly easy to do.”
One key feature of the new Retail Analytics solution is Ask Riposte – a tool that puts the power of natural language processing and AI on top of data. With Ask Riposte, users simply pose a question and the correct answer will be returned.
Escher’s Retail Analytics solution, cloud-hosted in Microsoft Azure, receives data from the Post’s installed Riposte platform. These two solutions securely sync in real-time. Retail Analytics uses a cloud data factory to transform the data into a series of models that can be consumed by various BI and AI tools including Ask Riposte and Riposte AI.
Riposte Shipping 8.2 with Hurricane
Finally, Escher has deepened its cooperation with Hurricane Commerce with a new release of its Riposte platform that makes it easier for postal operators to handle taxes, duties and regulatory compliance for cross-border shipments.
The new ‘Riposte Shipping 8.2 with Hurricane’ release features seamless integration with Hurricane, providing Posts with full access to taxes, duties, and compliance functionality, directly from within the Riposte Shipping application. It offers users cost transparency, improved shipping reliability while making compliance convenient.
Martyn Noble, CEO, Hurricane Commerce, said: “We are excited to be partnering with Escher on the launch of Riposte Shipping 8.2 and to be providing Posts with a range of industry-leading solutions covering data enhancement, duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening, and denied parties screening.”
Last year, Escher partnered with Hurricane to bring its Riposte Taxes, Duties, and Compliance solution to market, helping Posts everywhere simplify the cross-border shipping process. Riposte Shipping 8.2 with Hurricane represents a deeper integration with Hurricane. With real-time updates from Hurricane, parcels leave post office rooms for international delivery with a significant reduction in returned shipments.