Retail technology vendor innovation: PMC

What is PMC?

PMC is an IT consulting and services company, working with many of the leading retailers in the UK. The company offers various consulting, project delivery, IT support, testing and resourcing services, as well as tailored projects to help retailers keep pace with the latest requirements of the digital world.

What's new at PMC?

A recent study from e-tail trade body IMRG and eDigitalResearch predicts that 64% of smartphone shoppers plan to spend more on their mobile this Christmas compared to last year, and it is data like this which proves how mCommerce is becoming increasingly important as a part of the retail landscape.

The use of consumer devices is outstripping the developments in the store mobile space yet most retailers want to enable their own systems to go mobile.

With mobile transactions increasing in regularity, PMC says that the retailers it has spoken to are keen to find ways in which they can make their point of sale (PoS) more mobile and better utilise their official websites in the store environment.

Managing director of PMC Huw Thomas says that his company has identified what it believes is a gap in the market to help retailers conduct product scanning, payment processing and receipt printing in-store. Trademarked as Store Enabler, the new tool is effectively a framework for retailers to leverage the mobile technology they have already implemented and allow it to work in a store.

For the first time the framework allows businesses to enable their store, web and future applications to be used in a customer present environment and it helps mobilise retailers' existing web and PoS.

"As the name suggests, it's an enabler," comments Thomas. "We're about making retailers' lives easier and this solution supports that goal. 

"It's an open, easy and quick way of taking pre-existing systems and making them work in-store to meet modern retail requirements."

The plan is to launch the new solution on 29 October for android platforms, but Thomas states that it will be iOS-ready by the end of 2013.

What makes PMC stand out?

Although PMC has sold third-party solutions in the past, the company is primarily a services provider and it is new for the business to sell a product developed in-house to the retail industry.

PMC clients include leading names from the high street, where the prime aim has been to exploit technology for the betterment of each individual business.

Thomas is keen for PMC to react to what retailers' want, and the idea behind Store Enabler came from discussions with our clients about the problems they are struggling to solve. Technology director Lehane Kellett has led the development of the tool.

"Lehane's a shining light for us and very tech-focused, but he speaks a language we can understand," notes Thomas.

"With Store Enabler, our vision is to give retail customers the flexibility to go mobile in a way that works for them. They may want to provide their own devices so we will enable the platform to work across a number of device types and sizes. They want to do the integration so we will provide an integration guide and let them do things themselves. We are saying 'here's a framework to enable it."

What the boss says...

Thomas is keeping his cards relatively close to his chest regarding the new solution, and more information will initially be revealed at October's Retail Week eCommerce Summit. Further updates on Store Enabler will be provided at January's NRF show in New York and the UK and Europe's leading retail solutions show RBTE, which will run from 11-12 March 2014.

"We respond to what the industry is looking for – that's how we've always worked and we've had good feedback so far," he explains.

"Many vendors are doing something in mCommerce and in-store mobility. We find much of it's all predicated on another product, but retailers don't want or need that complexity."

You can read more from Huw Thomas in his monthly mCommerce column for Essential Retail.

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