In March, 2022 Insight Retail Software announced that we had chosen Skupos Inc. as the scan data provider for InsightRS in the C-Store / Petroleum market! In the past 5 months we have successfully converted hundreds of c-store customers and we are now winding down our efforts to convert the last few Petro-Retailer Scan Data customers. If you are a current InsightRS C-Store scan data customer that has not converted to Skupos = the clock is ticking = Take action now to avoid any interruption in service!
Call Skupos now to make sure you can immediately take advantage of the upcoming changes to Altria’s scan data and loyalty programs – at no additional cost.
InsightRS will cease our scan data submission for Petroleum customers on 9/15/2022.
Note: We will continue to submit scan data for our Retail Point-of-sale customers.
InsightRS will now focus on our V4 rPosIOSuite of Cloud products. Our V4 rPOSio launch coming soon!
Call us today for your Retail Point-of- Sale and backoffice Cloud Product for your C-Store needs. 518.633.4111 Option 1, or drop us an email: sales@insightRS.com
Don’t fall for “we’ll do your scan data service for free“! Here’s a question, do you open the doors to your store and welcome in your customers by saying “everything is free“? I doubt it. If you do, there are two scenarios where this business model works.
You want to fail – and know you will, quickly.
You are making lots of money in a different way. (keep this one close, we’ll be coming back here for review)
If a company is offering to do your scan data and loyalty for free, then please see 2. above. In today’s market DATA IS KING. Large companies are desperate to purchase data and are willing to pay big dollars for this information. (again, see 2. above)
So you are thinking “How could this possibly affect me… I need to save $25/month!?” Well, would you let a stranger, a potential competitor, walk in and look at your checkbook and accounting records? Probably not. If your data is being sold, a stranger is [technically] looking through your private records so they can determine if there is enough business to move in and be successful.
Think of it this way:
You are participating in a scan data program
You have no idea your sales data is being sold
That tiny rundown store across the street – [you know the one, everyone hates it because they don’t sell food, there’s no easy access from the street and parking is not great–THAT ONE]
That shack of a store was just purchased and torn down! Wait, What?!
OH NO A new huge branded store is built and they have a turning lane with tons of parking. Look at the new signage and the neon lights!
Now imagine standing at your empty counter and watching the faces of your long time customers pulling the handle of those shiny new doors across the street. You see your old customers walking to and from their SUV filled with fuel carrying enough fried chicken and sodas to feed the entire neighborhood.
Your inside sales drop
Your fuel sales drop
Nobody wants your food
You Are In Trouble….. but the good news is —— YOU GOT A SERVICE FOR FREE!!!!!! woo hoo.
Key thought to remember here is YOUR sales data belongs to YOU and needs to be handled with care and confidentiality, with partners YOU can trust. Yes, data IS king, but it’s YOURS.
Insight Retail Software IS your trusted partner. We have SO MANY new and exciting products and services that are to be released to the public in the next couple of months. We have always aligned ourselves with other companies that share the same professional values that we do. Let’s make 2021 the best year ever!
Can you Do Better with Insight Retail Software? Absolutely! At InsightRS the Customer is KING!
Great article from CStore Decisions. A bit lengthy but there is some great information here. Nice @Nielson information also.
Rising sales are boosting retailer optimism across the category, but regulatory hurdles loom.
Tobacco sales have proved a bright spot for many convenience stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, but while c-stores anticipate robust tobacco sales for the remainder of 2020, retailers are bracing for the potential chill of regulatory headwinds.
As the pandemic first hit the U.S., many customers began hoarding tobacco products — particularly cartons of cigarettes — ahead of shelter-in-place rules, according to data from the InfoMetrics database managed by consulting services firm Management Science Associates (MSA).
“As the stay-at-home situation has continued, there has been increased consumption of all types of tobacco items with the exception of vape, possibly because consumers are at home and not in locations where there are restrictions on its use,” said Don Burke, senior vice president of MSA.
A poll by consumer intelligence research platform CivicScience found that from April 28 to May 11 — at a time when most areas of the country were still experiencing stay-at-home orders — 31% of cigarette users reported smoking more frequently, and 28% of e-cigarette/vape users reported vaping more frequently. Some 44% of cigarette smokers and 34% of smokeless, e-cig and cigar users reported buying their tobacco product at a c-store most often during the same period.
Research firm IRI’s Convenience All Scan data found smokeless tobacco dollar sales grew 7.8%, with spitless up a whopping 80.6% for the four weeks ending April 19, 2020. Tobacco accessories dollar sales were up 33%, and cigars climbed 13.1%, while cigarettes dropped 2.4%, and e-cigs dipped 1.1% for the same period. Nielsen data showed e-cigs down 8.5% and cigarettes down 5% for the four weeks ending April 25, 2020, but similar upticks in other tobacco products, with cigars up 11.3%, pipe tobacco up 14.1% and “shag” or rolling tobacco up 28%.
Depending on location, c-store retailers are seeing various realities and differing surge/decline timelines when it comes to tobacco sales.
Doug Galli, vice president and general manager for Reid Stores and Crosby’s, said sales of other tobacco products (OTP) including cigars, snuff and e-cigarettes climbed at the company’s 82 c-stores in New York and Pennsylvania, ahead of shelter-in-place rules.
Year over year through April, “cigars are up 7%, e-vape is up 29% and the ZYN/Velo category that was non-existent last year has shown some legs. That category is 50% of the lift over last year,” Galli said. He added that moist snuff was down slightly for the same period.
On Feb. 6, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that c-stores and other retailers can no longer carry display cartridge-based e-cigs or vaping pods in flavors other than menthol and tobacco, but flavored disposable e-cigarettes are still legal.
“The FDA attempted to strike a balance between protecting adult access to flavored vaping products and discouraging youth from vaping,” noted Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “Unfortunately, this move has undoubtedly led some adult ex-smokers to relapse and less adult current smokers to attempt to switch over.”
The growth seen at Crosby’s c-stores is “in spite of the (federal) flavor ban in (non-disposable) e-cigs and vape products, along with the addition of the ZYN/Velo products,” Galli added.
The cigarette segment, meanwhile, has been down 10% at Crosby’s c-stores through April, a slump Galli attributed to the purchase age for cigarettes increasing from 18 to 21 on Nov. 1, 2019, in New York state. Shortly thereafter, on Dec. 27, 2019, the FDA officially changed the minimum tobacco purchase age at the federal level from 18 to 21. The new nationwide Tobacco-21 law was effective immediately and applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges.
Across the country, Cenex Zip Trip saw a different trajectory at its 36 c-stores in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.
“While early March and April saw a small decrease in tobacco sales during the heart of the stay-at-home orders in the states we serve, in the past three weeks, we’ve seen them rise back similar to what we sold during the same time span a year ago,” said Zip Trip Merchandising Manager Jon Fleck.
Montana — where the majority of Zip Trip’s stores are located — is now transitioning into the next phases of loosening stay-at-home restrictions, but during the lockdown, despite decreased customer traffic, the tobacco category held its own, Fleck said.
Fleck noted tobacco companies are offering bigger buydowns and providing them earlier than planned. “With advertising these deals with outdoor signs and matrix reader boards, we have seen some (sales) come back,” Fleck said.
At the end of 2019, a temporary ban on flavored vape products — including menthol — went into effect in the state of Montana. “We did a tremendous business in Montana with flavors prior to the ban,” Fleck said.
The ban on menthol, however, expired in mid-April, and the chain is now bringing in some flavored disposable e-cigs.
Given the Montana flavor ban, Zip Trip has seen a 20% drop in e-cig sales. Although the e-cigs/vaping segment is down significantly because of flavor bans, Fleck noted, “the category is doing well as a ‘comfort product’ along with beer during this pandemic.”
Meanwhile, chew, snuff and cigars are down slightly — “which isn’t bad considering the drop in customer counts (due to the pandemic),” said Fleck. “We categorize tobacco alternatives with these products as well. ZYN, Dryft, etc., have been a pleasant surprise that has picked the overall category up.”
At Zip Trip, tobacco customers are asking for specials, and seeking “the bigger, better deal.” “Similar to beer, cigarettes are comfort products, so while we did a small decrease in business during this time versus the prior year, we attribute most of that to the smoking age increasing to 21 as opposed to COVID-19,” Fleck said.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Irfan Tejani, CEO and president of Tejani Holdings, the parent company of Charge Up c-stores, said COVID-19 had a big impact on tobacco sales.
“Sales were down all across the board by double digits as customers did not know how to react to the entire situation, and then we started to get momentum back,” he said.
Headquartered in Sugar Land, Texas, Charge Up operates 40 c-stores in Texas and Louisiana.
“Louisiana stores specifically had to adapt to operating during a strict lockdown,” Tejani said. Overall, he noted that “despite the ongoing restrictions, the cigarette category remains the highest grosser all across (our stores).”
Smokeless tobacco has been stagnant to growing at Charge Up, depending on the location, while cigarillos are “very strong,” particularly the single sticks, which Tejani noted offer good profit margins. What’s more, he sees cigarillo sales growing — “especially the singles and promo packs like 3-for-1 and 4-for-1 packs,” Tejani said.
Charge Up is also testing the oral nicotine category. Nicotine toothpicks are sold at select stores.
“It’s a special category that doesn’t sell across the board,” he said. “Nicotine gums seem to be doing good where this category is sold.”
Tejani, Fleck and Galli all anticipate strong sales for tobacco for the rest of 2020.
“Tobacco in our New York stores is about to grow. Effective May 18, if your retail location has a pharmacy, you will not be allowed to sell tobacco products,” Galli said. Crosby’s stores in Erie County, N.Y., experienced a lift in their tobacco sales when an identical rule went into effect there around a year ago.
Tejani said he believes the tobacco category will continue to stay strong and consistent over the coming years — unless regulations become even stricter — with e-cigs slowly taking over a bigger portion of the category. Despite ongoing regulations, customer needs drive the market, and customers continue to demand tobacco sales, he pointed out.
“We see tobacco numbers increasing the rest of the year, as many uncertainties lie ahead with COVID-19,” Fleck said. “Once again, for tobacco users, it is a comfort that they rely on during these times.”
One headwind for retailers to watch is potential for tax increases on tobacco products due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is creating serious budget issues that we’re only just now starting to calculate. States that had started to grow accustomed to having large surpluses now have huge deficits that may surpass what states dealt with during the 2009 recession,” Conley pointed out. “As a result, tax increases on all tobacco and nicotine products are absolutely going to be considered in dozens of states over the next year. On the plus side for retailers, budget deficits will make it more difficult for state legislators to justify banning flavored vaping or tobacco products due to the tax revenue and jobs they provide.”
Another is how the premarket tobacco authorization (PMTA) will impact the category.
At press time, the new date when (PMTA) applications are due to the FDA is set for Sept. 9, 2020.
“In theory, this would mean that after the September deadline, only products with pending or approved PMTAs before the FDA can continue to be sold by retailers across the U.S. Those selling JUUL, NJOY, Vuse, blu, etc. have little or nothing to worry about in terms of potential dead stock, but some of the more fly-by-night companies that make disposable vaping products seem likely to exit the market in September,” Conley warned.
For a while, the shelf space for vaping products in c-stores seemed to be increasing by the month, he said. But now that some products are likely exiting the market ahead of the PMTA deadline, “the opposite appears to be occurring.”
Conley believes states will begin to police the market more aggressively than the FDA. “We are going to see attempts at the state level to make selling products without a pending or approved PMTA a crime. Of course, this will not stop the black and gray markets, but will just drive them further underground,” he said.
Insight Retail Software began Scan Data Services in early 2016 and the results have been tremendous.
We are proud to have served our customers for over 3 YEARS submitting scan data for Altria and RJ Reynolds. Insight Retail Software has more experience in the Tobacco Scan Data space than any other company in the industry.
There seems to be some confusion about who can provide Scan Data Service for RJ Reynolds. Insight Retail Software has been working with MSA to provide Scan Data Service to our customers for over 2 years. Don’t buy into “we are working on it” from other providers – go with a successful provider. We are a successful provider.
On the other hand, we are happily picking up those customers that are frustrated with providers that aren’t fulfilling their promises.
We are so excited that our Scan Data customers are receiving their rebate dollars! Join our customers across the US that are participating in the InsightRS Scan Data Service [SDS] Rebate Programs offered by Altria PM and RJ Reynolds.
InsightRS SDS collects the appropriate data and submits to inRhythm and MSA. This allows you to take advantage of this great opportunity for more profit from your tobacco sales. Using our automated daily process, we submit the necessary data for you to comply with the program requirements. We only collect 25% of your rebate for providing this service. Most importantly, this will require no additional effort from you.
Visa Global Payment System Risk is aware of increasing incidents involving suspects placing skimming devices on point-of–sale (POS) terminals for the purpose of collecting payment card information, including PIN numbers. Perpetrators use this information to create counterfeit cards re-encoded with the stolen card information and make unauthorized ATM withdrawals. The primary targets for these recent skimming events are self-checkout terminals in supermarkets. However, any POS terminal may be at risk, including those that are often unattended, such as terminals near deli counters, coffee stands, etc. The perpetrators are mobile and will target multiple stores within a geographic area for a period of time before moving on to a new location. Most entities targeted are using payment devices that have not yet been upgraded to accept EMV cards.
Placement of Skimming Devices
Skimming devices can be placed at any time of the day but placement usually occurs during slower times of business when the perpetrators can go undetected by employees or other customers. The perpetrators will usually work in teams of two or more with one person being a lookout, one person placing the skimming device on the POS terminal and another creating a barrier so that no one can observe the skimming device being placed. Perpetrators have been known to use large items such as packs of paper towels to block the view of POS terminals. In some instances, it was reported that the suspects created a distraction in the store by faking a medical incident or causing commotion that distracted the attention of store personnel away from the POS terminals. The skimming devices will mimic the look of the front of the POS terminal.
Recommended Inspection & Response Actions
1. Prevention Through Device Inventory Management
In accordance with PCI DSS Requirement 9.9, ensure implementation of security controls to protect POS devices from tampering and substitution. Examples include:
⇒ Maintain a list of devices including the device serial number or other method of unique identification.
⇒ Keep a list of device location either by store or physical location within the store itself (i.e., self-checkout, deli counter, manned checkout).
⇒ Train personnel to be aware of suspicious behavior and to report tampering or substitution of devices.
⇒ Verify the identity of any third-party persons claiming to be repair or maintenance personnel, prior to granting them access to modify or troubleshoot devices.
2. Physical Inspection of POS Devices
Implement security procedures to inspect POS devices at least twice each day and at random times.
Physically examine the device. Skimming devices are typically attached with minimal adhesive allowing them to be place and removed with ease, so devices may be detected by giving the front of the POS/PED a good grab-and-pull. Weighing the devices may also identify tampering.
Please note some skimming devices are Bluetooth enabled and data can be captured without the device needing to be recovered.
When inspecting devices, use backup security personnel to monitor from a distance as suspects may watch compromised terminals and suspects are trained in counter surveillance to avoid detection/arrest.
3. Device Recovery Response
If a skimming device is discovered on a POS terminal, do not handle it, as evidence may be damaged.
Notify local law enforcement and the FBI or USSS office so they can recover the skimming device.
Protect any video surveillance that may be used to identify any perpetrators and confirm timing of when the device was placed on the POS terminal.
Initiate incident response procedures and notify your Acquirer so that Visa can assist with the investigation.
Information from VISA April 2016
For other questions, please contact Cyber Intelligence & Investigations via email at USFraudControl@visa.com
Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates. Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and technical support on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
Internet Explorer 11 offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility, and support for the web standards that power today’s websites and services. Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience.
What does this mean?
It means you should take action. After January 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older versions of Internet Explorer. Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware, helping to keep users and their data safer. Regular security updates help protect computers from malicious attacks, so upgrading and staying current is important.
Potential risk of using older versions of Internet Explorer:
Without critical browser security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information.
Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA should conduct due diligence to assess whether they are still able to satisfy compliance requirements using unsupported software.
Lack of ISV Support
Many Independent Software Vendors(ISVs) no longer support older versions of Internet Explorer. For example, Office 365 takes advantage of modern web standards and runs best with the latest browser.
Survey finds that consumers don’t seem to care whether payment terminals are EMV capable.
March 31, 2016
NEW YORK – Forbes writes “there was a lot of hoopla” surrounding the October 1, 2015, EMV liability shift date, where retailers that did not upgrade to EMV-capable payment technology would become liable for any fraudulent purchases that resulted from chip-card transactions.
According to a recent CardHub survey, 42% of retailers have not updated terminals in their stores to make them EMV-compliant—and consumers don’t seem to care, writes Forbes. The publication added that CardHub found “some 56% of people surveyed don’t care if a retailer’s payment terminal is chip-enabled, and 41% of consumers say they don’t have—or don’t know if they have—a chip-enabled credit card.”
Of the retailers CardHub included in its survey, only 60% that said they would complete equipment upgrades by the October 1, 2015, liability shift deadline have finished updating all of their terminals.“We were a little bit surprised by just how slow the uptake is here,” Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at CardHub, told Forbes, adding, “The banks did their part, the financial institutions got their chip-enabled cards out, and the retailers really are taking their time.” She also says that retailers “aren’t feeling the pressure of being responsible for fraudulent activity” because it hasn’t become a financial reality.
However, as Conexxus Executive Director Gray Taylor points out, many retailers haven’t flipped the switch to accept EMV payments “because they can’t, reasonably or unreasonably.” There’s also strong indication from retailers that the October 1, 2017, liability shift for outdoor payment equipment (i.e., dispensers) will be difficult to reach for those same reasons. “What has resulted is retailer abuse—starving innovation, paying premiums for development, putting equipment into the market with the understanding that multiple site-down visits will be required—has never been seen before in any mandate,” he told NACS Daily.
“Furthermore, the card companies aren’t calling EMV a mandate, but for retailers who don’t do it, chargebacks will go from a light sprinkle to a massive downpour.”
Forbes writes that installing EMV-compliant terminals is a dual-cost process for retailers. The first cost is upgrading (or in some instances replacing) all of their terminals, and the second cost is terminal activation. For consumers, their “meh” attitude is likely because education about EMV chip cards hasn’t emphasized the security aspect.
Retailers may have a “Meh” attitude but EMV is real and MUST be addressed. It’s a difficult process for everyone but our QIR Certified Staff can help to answer your questions. Don’t wait until the chargebacks start to happen, as was the case with one of our customers.
Advocacy cards. They don’t have quite the same ring as loyalty cards do, but maybe get used to the idea?
While advocacy cards are not a living, breathing thing, advocating for customers is fast becoming the new way retailers should approach customer relationship-building beyond simple loyalty efforts.
While a loyalty card program rewards consumers for quantity of goods and services bought, advocacy cards could go a step further to inform the qualitative aspect of the retailer-customer bond— rewarding shoppers who buy healthy foods, for example, with points, gift cards or other incentives.
Sounds like a daunting task for a retailer, but it’s one that all retail channels should think about.
Retailer advocacy for customers was discussed during the webinar “Top Food Trends for 2016.” Sponsored by The Food Institute and BMO Harris, the session was comoderated by Phil Lempert, known as the “SupermarketGuru,” and The Food Institute CEO Brian Todd.
In addition to citing consumers’ thirst for additional product information along with coming to grips that the “retail world is in flux,” Lempert said advocacy might be the new loyalty. In that spirit, “focus beyond relationships and think beyond loyalty to advocacy,” he said.
Your consumers are already vigilant when it comes to the food selection process—like vetting a political candidate. They abide by concepts of “free from” and “less is more,” the latter meaning products with five or fewer ingredients and no artificial ingredients. Foods labeled with health attributes saw sales increase 13%, said Lempert, citing the National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru 2015 survey.
The broad picture: A new way of eating will be defined by new proteins, algae, insects, vegetable, yeast, cricket flour and nut powders. Rewarding your customers for participating in the trend could incentivize those higher-margin items, and earn you goodwill and higher sales in the process.