June Delivers the Lowest Monthly Decrease for Retail Sales in Over Five Years

smallbiztrends | July 24, 2019

People buy things online, but they go to brick and mortar retail stores for the shopping experience. The new data from the RetailNext Performance Pulse June 2019 report proves this very point. According to the report, June delivered the lowest monthly decrease in retail sales in more than five years. Coming in at -0.3%, this has been a great month for retailers. When you compare it to the -7.4%, -5.0%, -7.5%, -2.7%, and -5.0% of the previous five months, things are indeed looking up. For small retailers who are competing with online retail giants, the news couldn’t be more welcomed. But in order to keep customers walking through their doors, they have to create and improve experiences customers want. This also comes at a time when online retailers are moving to the brick and mortar space.

Spotlight

All of a sudden a promise from Science Fiction has become an everyday reality for the majority of consumers. Brands such as Amazon and Spotify, personal assistants like Siri and Cortana, technologies including programmatic trading and search; all of these rely on machine learning to deliver a competitive advantage. So AI is already delivering on its long term promise, which means consumers are better prepared for the much more dramatic changes to come. However, it is only with empirical evidence that we can have the confidence to make strategic decisions about how to use the new powerful capabilities of consumer-facing artificial intelligence. Understanding consumer perspectives on how AI will influence their purchase decisions is one of the most critical data sets for any consumer marketer, enabling brands to get a step ahead.


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POS SOLUTIONS

SoundHound Announces First-of-its-Kind Voice AI Ordering Service for Restaurants and POS Integration With Square

SoundHound | May 23, 2022

SoundHound AI, Inc. (“SoundHound”) (Nasdaq: SOUN), a global leader in voice artificial intelligence, announced a first-of-its-kind service that will allow restaurants to automate the phone ordering process. SoundHound and Square, the globally trusted software, payments and hardware company, are partnering to integrate SoundHound's conversational AI phone ordering automation with Square’s point-of-sale (POS) systems.When a customer calls into a restaurant to place an order, the SoundHound for Restaurants™ voice assistant immediately answers the call, takes the caller’s order, accepts modifications, and sends a confirmation to complete the payment. Callers can ask for what they want through a natural language interface powered by SoundHound's advanced conversational AI technology. Seamless integration and a simple four-step setup make SoundHound for Restaurants ideal for restaurant owners looking for cost-effective ways to handle the recent trends of increasing consumer demand for take-out orders and the impact of labor shortages. SoundHound’s voice assistant answers every call—even during peak hours—eliminating the busy signal, taking multiple orders simultaneously, and seamlessly processing the order and payment through Square’s POS system. "At Square, we are seeing sellers leverage the latest technology to meet customer demand regardless of size or complexity,Our partnership with SoundHound allows us to offer innovative and cost-effective solutions to restaurants working with small profit margins and facing multiple challenges—including the high cost of rapid labor turnover and shortages. This integration provides our sellers with the tools they need to offer a consistently high-level of customer service." -Bryan Solar, Head of Restaurants, Square. To get started, restaurant owners simply connect their Square POS to SoundHound for Restaurants, sync to the menu they want the voice assistant to use, and input the phone number for the system to answer. After that, SoundHound’s voice assistant acts just like a front of house staff member—answering the phone and taking orders. "We spoke with many restaurant operators to develop SoundHound for Restaurants and received overwhelming feedback about the need for automated solutions that help restaurants process more orders and meet growing consumer demands more efficiently, Our partnership with Square has given us the opportunity to bring the power of conversational AI technology to businesses that would otherwise not be able to access the convenience and efficiencies of a voice-enabled solution.” -James Hom, SoundHound Co-Founder and VP of Products SoundHound and Square will be exhibiting the new service at the National Restaurant Show to take place May 21-24, 2022, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. As part of the unveiling of the service, SoundHound plans to offer restaurants that sign up by June 30, 2022, free subscription fees through the end of the year. To sign up, please visit: soundhound.com/restaurants About SoundHound SoundHound (Nasdaq: SOUN), a leading innovator of conversational intelligence, offers an independent voice AI platform that enables businesses across industries to deliver best-in-class conversational experiences to their customers. Built on proprietary Speech-to-Meaning® and Deep Meaning Understanding® technologies, SoundHound’s advanced voice AI platform provides exceptional speed and accuracy and enables humans to interact with products and services like they interact with each other—by speaking naturally. SoundHound is trusted by companies around the globe, including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Pandora, Qualcomm, Netflix, Deutsche Telekom, Snap, VIZIO, KIA, and Stellantis. www.soundhound.com

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POS SOLUTIONS

XTM Launches Stand Alone Tip Pool & Tip Share Automation Product

XTM | August 12, 2022

XTM, Inc. (“XTM” or the “Company”) (QB: XTMIF / CSE:PAID / FSE:7XT), a Miami and Toronto-based Fintech company in the neo-banking space, providing mobile banking and payment solutions around the world, is pleased to announce the release of a Tip Pool and Tip Share software product that accepts data sets from any time and attendance or POS platform. This feature allows restaurant owners and operators to leverage our Tip Pool/Share without an integration and be operative within a few hours of sign-up. The Tip Pool solution collects tips received by employees into a pool, and then automates the calculation and distributes on an organization-determined points basis to staff. The XTM Tip Share product automates the calculation and sharing of tips to other employees based on a percentage of net sales, saving operators time and money as well as providing staff with full transparency of the process. “The technology-agnostic premise upon which our Tip Pool and Tip Share solutions pull data is a significant and strategic innovation for our Engineering team, It aligns with our product road-map to provide enterprise solutions for all hospitality businesses large and small, regardless of their current product stack.” -Chad Arthur, CTO, XTM. Proper Tip allocation is critical to operators and staff; if not done correctly it can be a highly litigious function within hospitality organizations, said Marilyn Schaffer, CEO, XTM. This product is a true reflection of our commitment to provide the hospitality industry with products and solutions to make their businesses more efficient and profitable. About XTM: XTM, is a Miami and Toronto-based fintech innovator in the neo-banking space, helping businesses and service workers in the hospitality and personal care space disseminate and access earned wages and gratuities. XTM's Today™ Solution, comprised of a free mobile app and a Visa or Mastercard debit card with free banking features, is used by thousands of restaurants, salons and staff across Canada and the United States. XTM is a global card issuer and real-time payment specialist. Our technology is used by Restaurants, Salons and service staff at no charge to automate and expedite Earned Wage and Gratuity Access, increasing time and attendance and eliminating cash from ecosystems. XTM's Today solution drives operational efficiencies and delivers a bespoke user experience designed specifically for service workers.

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POS SOLUTIONS

Toast Enhances Mobile Order and Pay Solutions to Help Restaurants Increase Sales, Collect Guest Data and Navigate Labor Challenges

Toast | May 24, 2022

Toast (NYSE: TOST), the all-in-one digital platform built for restaurants, today announced enhancements to its mobile ordering, payments and digital menu solutions, lowering the barrier to entry for restaurants to adopt mobile-first, guest-led technology in a challenging labor environment. With Toast, guests can easily scan a QR code to browse the menu, order, and pay, all from their mobile device. Key new updates will include server-started ordering, allowing both servers and guests to start and add to a tab and customizable digital menus by service area, such as the patio, takeout window and full table service. In addition, Toast Digital Menus and Mobile Payments are now included within Toast's industry leading restaurant POS at no extra cost. The restaurant industry is undergoing massive change. A majority of guests now say they are likely to view a menu or order a meal through their mobile device. Nine out of ten restaurant operators say being understaffed is having a significant or moderate impact on their restaurant’s ability to grow and succeed.2 With Toast Mobile Dining Solutions, guests at full service restaurants no longer have to wait on servers to add to their order or checkout, and guests at quick service restaurants can now skip the line to order their meal. Restaurants of any size or concept may be able to increase sales and tips, collect valuable data on each transaction to build guest loyalty, and navigate the labor shortage with a more efficient service model. They can also introduce more dynamic menus and pricing in the face of rising supply costs and inflation. “As restaurants navigate an unprecedented labor environment, rising costs and changing guest preferences, digital menus, mobile ordering and payments are becoming more mainstream, With Toast's new mobile dining solutions, everyone benefits. Restaurant owners have the ability to increase sales, build guest loyalty and make their staff more efficient, employees can serve more tables and earn more tips, and guests don’t have to wait for checks or wait in a line." -Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “People love the fact they can order on their own. It’s the fact that customers can choose the way they want to place orders - it’s giving them the option. ‘Where can I find my server?’ Oh. I’ll just use a QR code, The beauty of Toast is it's one system, you don’t have to deal with integrations.” -Ilya Alter, Co-Owner, Dacha Beer Garden. “With Mobile Order & Pay, our tips more than doubled. I split the tips between all the employees…there are dishwashers that are now making $35 an hour, My employee retention is now through the roof, it’s pretty awesome.” -Danny Rosa, Manager, New England Lobster Market & Eatery. The enhanced Toast Mobile Order and Pay solutions are a fully-integrated and flexible suite of products that help restaurants to: Increase revenue and tips - Toast gives guests the option to browse, order and pay from their mobile device, and restaurants using Toast Mobile Order & PayTM typically see an average 10% increase in revenue3. Dynamic, digital menus can be updated in real-time without wasting time or money printing new menus when an item is no longer available or to test new pricing and combinations. Restaurants will be able to offer customizable menus by service area, such as the patio, bar/lounge, takeout window and full table service. Additionally, restaurants can customize the tip options guests see and set a default to help increase tip sizes. Combat the labor shortage with a more efficient service model - Restaurants can simplify checkout for guests and staff, allowing for card pre-authorization and the ability for guests to pay quickly and easily. For the first time, both guests and servers at restaurants on the Toast platform can now start or add to their tab, allowing guests to order through their device or through the server with everything synced to one tab. Collect data on each transaction to keep guests coming back - Restaurants are facing competition from third-party platforms for guest loyalty and data. Now, restaurants can take direct control of their guest relationships by prompting them to join loyalty programs at checkout, whether on or off-premise. Restaurants also have the ability to collect guest data on each transaction that can be leveraged to power their marketing and loyalty programs. On average, Toast restaurants generate up to $2,800 in sales per campaign with email marketing and increase loyalty signups by 25% with mobile payments4. Toast is at the forefront of innovative guest-facing restaurant technology, whether it be the Toast Go® handheld point-of-sale, digital menus or mobile ordering powered by QR codes. Today’s updates create value and flexibility for all restaurants, regardless of format: Full Service Restaurants can free up server time so they can focus on more table touches and recommendations. On average, checkout using Toast mobile payments can save servers four minutes per table when compared to traditional methods5. Quick Service and Fast Casual Restaurants can allow guests to skip lines, order from their mobile device and get text notifications when their order is ready. On average, guests tip on 18% more transactions at QSRs when they pay through Toast Mobile Order & Pay™ vs. standard checkout.6 Restaurant owners and operators can learn more about Toast and schedule a personalized demo here. About Toast Toast [NYSE: TOST] is a cloud-based, all-in-one digital technology platform purpose-built for the entire restaurant community. Toast provides a single platform of software as a service, or SaaS, products and financial technology solutions that give restaurants everything they need to run their business across point of sale, operations, digital ordering and delivery, marketing and loyalty, and team management. By serving as the restaurant operating system across dine-in, takeout, and delivery channels, Toast helps restaurants streamline operations, increase revenue and deliver amazing guest experiences.

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POS SOLUTIONS

Corsair Acquires HungerRush from The CapStreet Group

Corsair | June 02, 2022

Corsair, a leading private equity firm targeting business services, software, and payments investments in the financial services market, today announced that it has acquired a majority stake in HungerRush™ (“HungerRush” or “the Company”), a leading cloud-based software provider for the restaurant industry, from The CapStreet Group (“CapStreet”), a Houston-based private equity firm. CapStreet will continue as a minority investor in the Company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 2003, HungerRush has been driving the transition from the Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal of the past to the integrated cloud POS system of the future. HungerRush 360 is an all-in-one cloud POS system with integrated software, payments, and digital ordering capabilities primarily serving multi-site quick service restaurants (QSR) and fast casual operators. HungerRush 360 combines restaurant management, digital ordering, payment processing, customer engagement, and delivery management features with flexible software designed to give operators of all sizes more insight into their customers, control over their operations, and power to profitably grow their business. Corsair expects to leverage its deep payments and software expertise to support the Company as it executes its strategic plan to accelerate growth, enhances product and technology offerings, and continues to build on its history of successful acquisitions, including Menufy and 9Fold in 2021, and OrdrAI in 2020. This transaction builds on Corsair’s significant experience investing in and supporting growth at payments companies, including REPAY, TreviPay, and Aurora Payments. Perry Turbes, Chief Executive Officer of HungerRush, will continue to lead the Company and the current shareholders, including the management team, will roll a significant portion of their equity value into the transaction. “We are excited to welcome a like-minded partner with an impressive track record of supporting payments and software companies as we enter the next stage of our growth, Corsair’s investment and partnership provides an opportunity for HungerRush to capitalize on organic and inorganic growth opportunities, enhance our product offerings and go-to-market strategy, and continue to support clients with comprehensive payment and restaurant management solutions that are individually tailored to their values and business goals. We are also extremely thankful to the CapStreet team for their dedication and support over the last four years.” -Perry Turbes, Chief Executive Officer of HungerRush. “HungerRush is at the forefront of digital transformation in the restaurant industry. We see tremendous growth potential given its highly differentiated technology architecture, impressive sales momentum and customer pipeline, and numerous upsell and cross-sell opportunities, HungerRush’s proven ability to deliver value to its clients through its holistic cloud POS system, flexible and scalable software capabilities, premier data analytics, and AI-driven ordering system makes it a natural fit within Corsair’s portfolio. We look forward to partnering with Perry and the HungerRush team to capitalize on the significant opportunities in the large and growing market for digital restaurant solutions.” -Jeremy Schein, Partner at Corsair. About Corsair Corsair is a global specialist investment firm offering opportunities for investors and solutions for companies across financial & business services and infrastructure. The firm has almost three decades of experience partnering with businesses at the crossroads of technology transformation and financial services complexity and established its complementary infrastructure investment practice in 2015. Corsair has invested $12 billion in capital across its global buyouts and infrastructure platforms since inception. More information about Corsair can be accessed through https://corsair-capital.com/. About HungerRush HungerRush is a leading provider of integrated restaurant solutions. HungerRush 360 is our flagship cloud POS system that makes it easier to delight guests, drive loyalty, and manage restaurants from anywhere. The all-in-one system integrates digital ordering, delivery, customer engagement, restaurant management, and payment processing features with flexible software designed to give operators of all sizes more insight into their customers, more control over their operations, and more power to profitably grow their business. HungerRush 360 OrderAI Text is an innovative text and voice ordering solution that allows customers to place orders via text without application downloads. Visit HungerRush.com. About The CapStreet Group Founded in 1990, CapStreet invests in lower middle market software, tech-enabled services and industrial business services companies. With over 45 platform investments and over 200-add-on acquisitions since inception, CapStreet’s investment strategy is focused on utilizing its CapValue FrameworkTM to accelerate growth and profitability, and create long term sustainable businesses. The majority of CapStreet’s investments have been with founder or entrepreneur-owned businesses.

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Spotlight

All of a sudden a promise from Science Fiction has become an everyday reality for the majority of consumers. Brands such as Amazon and Spotify, personal assistants like Siri and Cortana, technologies including programmatic trading and search; all of these rely on machine learning to deliver a competitive advantage. So AI is already delivering on its long term promise, which means consumers are better prepared for the much more dramatic changes to come. However, it is only with empirical evidence that we can have the confidence to make strategic decisions about how to use the new powerful capabilities of consumer-facing artificial intelligence. Understanding consumer perspectives on how AI will influence their purchase decisions is one of the most critical data sets for any consumer marketer, enabling brands to get a step ahead.

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