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Halfords reflects on in-store payments overhaul

Halfords has this week provided some background on its recent in-store technology overhaul that has seen the company introduce a fully managed payments solution across its property portfolio.

The changes, which are part of the bike and car parts retailer's 'Getting into Gear' customer service improvement programme, have seen the business reduce its scope for PCI (payment card industry) compliance and reduce in-store transaction times by an average of 19 seconds.

Halfords commented on some of these tech improvements during its full-year results announcement in May, but has now explained in more detail about the work it has completed with payment solutions provider Secure Retail.

Secure Retail, which will be exhibiting at RBTE in 2015, replaced 80% of Halfords' payment terminals with 2,500 PIN entry devices (PEDs). The hardware was rolled out across 420 stores in seven weeks, with Secure implementing a managed service and payment gateway from FIS.

Peter Lawrence, business process consultant at Halfords, said: "After extensive market research, Halfords selected the VeriFone VX820 PED, which had additional features on top of the core functionality, such as a coloured screen which was far superior to the other PEDs on the table.

"It also meant that we had a wider pool of managed service providers to choose from, as VeriFone and Secure Retail are preferred hardware providers. On a technological level, moving to a managed payment software service meant that we no longer required internal knowledge of payment processing to carry out transactions, which allows us to concentrate on customer service."

All terminals were fitted with anti-tamper tethers which aim to increase physical and digital security, and now Halfords is now looking to apply for MasterCard contactless accreditation to increase the number of payment options it can offer its visiting customers.

In May, Halfords also finalised its upgrade to SAP's core retail operating system, as well as introducing laptop computers in stores to simplify the process for staff undertaking their training programmes. New VOIP technology has also been implemented across the store estate, which the retailer said has reduced operating costs.

Retail sales at Halfords for the 12 months to 28 March 2014 totalled £803.1 million, which was up 7.6% on a like-for-like basis compared to the previous year.

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Secure Retail

VeriFone

SAP Retail