Confectioner Thorntons has improved customer service with a new EPoS system installed in its 380 stores before Christmas.

The retailer is now examining how it can make use of the Torex Retail PoS system for more improvements, including contactless payment and using hand-held devices to further reduce queues.

Thorntons head of IT Steve Harris said that one of the biggest benefits of adopting the system is that it has allowed the retailer to integrate its EPoS system with Chip and PIN for the first time.

Harris said: “This has cut transaction times by at least 50 per cent, and customers will have seen a marked difference in queue lengths in stores compared with a year ago.”

Thorntons’ previous EPoS system was also unable to cope with the different types of promotions that the retailer wanted to run. The new system is much more flexible and Harris is confident that it will deal with any required Easter promotions.

The system also allows real-time pricing and promotional changes as well as generating real-time business information.

During the second phase of the project Thorntons will investigate how it can use more of the rich functionality within the system. Harris said fraud analysis, contactless payment and webmail for stores will all be considered, and the latter could go live fairly quickly.

Thorntons has chosen to deploy Chip and PIN equipment from Verifone that can easily be upgraded to accept contactless payment.

Harris said that the retailer has also purchased licences to run the EPoS system on hand-held devices for long queues and is eyeing potential devices for the purpose.

As well as making a difference to Thorntons’ flexibility, Harris said cost savings have been possible. “There have definitely been cost-savings in terms of maintenance.”

The implementation was run as a retail business project, with staff engaged and helping to design the way the system looks to users, which has been critical to the system’s success.

In total about 30 people were involved in the project to introduce the system to the business from Thorntons, Torex, hardware provider Toshiba and the retailer’s IT outsourcing partner EDS.