Customer Case Study: Natural Food Pantry

“The list of Star-Plus features we appreciate most is extensive. The support is fantastic, the implementation was smooth, and the system is doing virtually everything we want.”
Rick Payant , Owner

Natural Food Pantry has been in business for 30 years offering a diverse array of products from three locations in Ottawa, Canada. The business uses technology to exceed customers’ product selection, customer service, loyalty rewards, and card data security needs.

Natural Food Pantry’s owner, Rick Payant, was not satisfied with his current point of sale system’s capability. The solution lacked business reports, did not support gift cards, and was not designed to support health store related functions.

“We needed a system created by a POS developer who had natural food industry experience and an understanding of our specialty business needs like bulk food PLU and the different tax structures of the food, retail, and supplement departments,” said Payant.

Payant’s gift card software also had issues.

“Because the POS system didn’t recognize gift cards, when we tried to sell them we weren’t able to complete transactions,” said Payant. “As a result, we stopped selling them and lost out on potentially significant gift card sales during the holiday season.”

Payant also anticipated new VISA and MasterCard Canada mandates. The requirements shifted liability to Canadian merchants on March 31, 2011 for fraudulent transactions that may have been prevented by adopting a chip compliant, EMV formatted technology. EMV card processing replaces magnetic stripe cards with an encrypted, embedded microchip. The data stored on the chip is virtually impossible to replicate and requires a PIN to complete the transaction, offering an added layer of protection against card fraud.

Payant knew he would eventually have to implement a solution that met the new payment card industry guidelines. Since he was already in the process of upgrading his solution, Payant decided to proactively add Chip and PIN debit and credit processing functionality simultaneously.

Payant had been in talks with Auto-Star for a couple of years because the company provided solutions for the natural food industry and worked closely with his loyalty points program provider.

Payant started planning for a new system integration in October 2010, and implemented the Star-Plus POS solution in March 2011. He learned about Mercury Payment Systems® from Auto-Star. The Star-Plus POS integration with Mercury offers customers a robust gift card program with free, unlimited transactions.

“Gift cards were one of the big reasons we ultimately changed systems,” said Payant.

Mercury also supported Chip and PIN technology for debit and credit transactions to improve card data security.

“When I learned that the Mercury integration was solid and included gift card technology and Chip and PIN debit and credit processing functionality, it seemed like a nice fit,” said Payant “I went with Auto-Star’s recommendation and chose Mercury for payment processing.”

Overall, Payant is very pleased with the initial results of his new POS, gift card, and payment processing solution with added Chip and PIN security.

“Given the fact that we changed our entire system all at once, it was a seamless transition.”

Specifically, he’s been impressed with features of the Auto-Star and Mercury solution. “

The list of Star-Plus features we appreciate most is extensive,” said Payant. “The support is fantastic, the implementation was smooth, and the system is doing virtually everything we want. We especially love the customer look-up feature.”

Payant is also happy with Mercury’s payment solutions.

“Mercury’s gift card integration with Auto-Star’s POS system is so much better than what we had before,” said Payant. “We can look up card balances, print card balances on receipts, and easily add money to cards — it’s fantastic. We didn’t have any of that functionality previously.”

And, the addition of Chip and PIN technology to the checkout process garners positive reviews from Payant and his customers.

“Customers see that we are staying current with technology and protecting their personal information,” said Payant.

As a business owner, Payant says he has confidence knowing that Natural Food Pantry complies with the card data security regulations to protect his customer’s information.

“We try and do everything we can to protect our customers information – from email addresses to credit card numbers,” said Payant. “Chip and PIN technology offers an additional layer of protection.”

Now that the initial installation is up and running, Payant is excited to take full advantage of the solutions’ functionality. For example, he plans to track inventory, print shelf tags and use hand-held scanners to replenish orders with Star-Plus. He will access Mercury’s online real-time reports to gather information about credit and gift sales across all three store locations in order to drive business decisions.

About Auto-Star’s Health Food Store POS Systems
Auto-Star Compusystems is a software company that develops health food store POS systems for retailers across Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. The company’s health and nutrition store point of sale software products provide seamless end-to-end solutions to optimize efficiency and customer satisfaction, while lowering operating costs.