Two years ago, Northern Ireland-based Henderson Group implemented a new forecourt retail solution – Hydraccord – in its forecourt store at Hartford Link, Newtownards, outside Belfast. Since then, the solution has been successfully rolled out to more than 30 forecourt convenience stores across Northern Ireland, helping retailers to optimise customer service, maximise revenue from their forecourt c-stores and continue to compete successfully in an increasingly competitive market. Specially designed to meet the precise needs of independent and symbol group forecourt retailers, Hydraccord combines the intricacies of fuel retailing with comprehensive convenience store retailing in a way few, if any, other solutions do.
The ‘best of breed’ Hydraccord solution was developed by leading solutions providers BCP and HTEC. Combining the power of BCP’s proven c-store Back Office system and HTEC’s dedicated PoS fuel system, Hydraccord gives forecourt operators a single solution to manage all aspects of their business.
The solution is continually evolving to reflect changing market and business conditions and incorporate new technologies, thereby ensuring it continues to offer forecourt operators ‘the best’ in both convenience and fuel retailing.
Recent enhancements to further improve customer service and store efficiency include an E-top up (ETU) Voucher scheme, a car wash link and outdoor payment terminals (OPT).
ETU – for mobile phone top up – is widely recognised as a valuable source of increased turnover for c-stores. The new ETU voucher scheme gives forecourt operators access to this additional turnover by printing a top up code on the till receipt rather than by using separate top up terminals, thereby minimising paper work and freeing up valuable merchandising space. Likewise, the car wash link uses a PSD Codex embedded chip to allow car washes to be sold from any pay point by printing a voucher containing a pin code to be keyed in at the car wash. Again, this frees up merchandising space as well as improving efficiency and customer service. The introduction of OPTs will allow customers to pay at the pump rather than in the store. Henderson’s plan to use this to introduce an express fuelling lane close to the road which, they believe, will further build customer loyalty as well as increasing capacity at sites.
A family owned business established over 100 years ago, Henderson Group is one of Northern Ireland’s largest independent wholesale and retail businesses. The Group owns the SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO and VIVOXTRA franchises for Northern Ireland, providing a full service to over 400 stores, including its own company-owned estate of over 50 stores under the Henderson Retail umbrella. Around 50% of the estate operate as forecourt sites.
The solution has rolled out at a rate of around two stores a month over the past two years with all but two of the Henderson Retail chains forecourt sites currently running the system. The last two will be implemented following development and refitting of the stores.
The rate of implementation shows no signs of abating as an increasing number of independents opt for the Hydraccord solution and the Henderson Group expands its store estate across Northern Ireland.
Implementations range from two and three lane stores to large seven lane outlets like the 3,000 sq ft forecourt store at Ranfurly in Dungannon, County Tyrone, and cover the full range of fuel suppliers – BP, Shell, Texaco, Esso and Maxol – the system being flexible enough to cater for the different card preferences of all these suppliers.
Neil Granleese, Retail Technologies Manager at Henderson Group, explains: “The solution developed for us by BCP and HTEC gave us a comprehensive, flexible solution suitable for both our company-owned and independent stores. The rollout of the system has gone extremely smoothly and according to plan. For our own stores, the generic Back Office across wet (forecourt) and dry (non-forecourt) stores with standard menus, reporting options, etc, has simplified operation and management control while new developments like OPT and ETU will continue to make the system increasingly attractive to independent stores.”