4 Solutions for a Reliable Grocery Front End

While it may seem hard to believe, the holiday season will be here before you know it. If there is one thing that I have learned in my 25 years in the grocery business, it’s that this season can make or break your store. There’s no getting around it, a larger volume of customers coming in for their Thanksgiving turkeys or quickly stopping in for those last-minute Christmas party pies can sometimes bring tension to your supermarket aisles. However, this added stress isn’t just exclusive to the holiday season. I have seen plenty of cases where the store is packed on a Saturday, a customer is clearly in a hurry, and has their child screaming and fighting that they can’t have any candy in the checkout aisle.  

The last thing you want to have to say to the overwhelmed holiday shopper or the exhausted, juggling parent standing right in front of you is “I’m sorry. This lane is frozen and needs a reboot. Could you please move to another lane?”  

There is nothing more important than making sure that your store has a reliable front end. You can do everything in your power to make sure that your customer has ample parking space, a great sandwich at your deli, and assistance finding items in your store, but the second they go to check out and something goes wrong, all that good experience goes right out the window.  

Before joining Team TRUNO, I spent years as a general manager running a chain of independent grocery stores, and if there is one piece of advice that I can offer anyone else in grocery operations, it is to take control of the things you can. You may not be able to control who calls out sick, how crowded your store is, or if a customer drops a bottle of wine in the middle of an aisle, but you can control the fundamental customer experience of a grocery store. While new technology such as ESLs or self-service checkout are important investments, you must first make sure that your store can reliably handle the foundation of the guest experience: completing transactions at the point of sale with reliability and ease. 

With that in mind, here are four solutions that TRUNO offers to help keep your front-end lanes reliable to both you and your customers. 

1. Service and Support

While Service and Support is something that TRUNO has discussed at great length recently, it is worth noting that it is by far the most effective way for any grocery store to keep their front-end lanes reliably working. Our Service and Support network reaches across the United States, meaning that wherever your store may be located, TRUNO is never very far.  

While the TRUNO Support Team is responsible for dispatching our local service technicians to your store, they can also monitor your store and provide software resolutions through levels I, II, III, and IV support. Our live Support Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This means that a real person is always available to answer your call for expert troubleshooting and problem resolution, even in the middle of the night. 

Our Service Team works to prevent any potential problems that may arise with your POS system with Preventative Maintenance. PMs are proven to minimize issues in store operations and maximize the life of your POS system. If anything were to break during a busy time, we manage customer-specific inventory locally, meaning that we could have a TRUNO technician at your store to fix or replace it with the correct equipment on the same day that it broke. 

As a former grocer myself, one of my favorite aspects of our service team is how TRUNO has extended holiday service hours. For grocery stores, the holidays are all hands on deck, and the last thing you would want is to be a lane down on the day before Thanksgiving.

2. Return Management

Another necessary solution for your front-end is a reliable returns system. While many grocers may not have placed a huge emphasis on returns in the past, having a fast, customizable, and most importantly, reliable returns system integrated into your POS can save your store countless headaches and problems at the front end. 

TRUNO offers returns for both Toshiba and NCR POS Systems. The return system’s main function is the same by providing a barcode at the end of each receipt that can be scanned if an item is returned to call up the transaction. Everything after that can be configured to you and your store. For example, you can force the return to a gift card, have no more than three returns without a receipt and ID, only allow returns for certain items, and much more. 

Let’s face it, not many customers are happy to be returning something. That’s why our returns systems are designed to work for you and your store’s needs by helping your staff move customers through return transactions as quickly and efficiently as possible. By doing this, you can avoid potential friction that may occur during returns, while also quickly moving customers through your front-end.  

While I recommend having a customer service lane that entirely handles returns, I also recommend making sure that every lane is equipped to handle return transactions and having your entire staff trained in how to handle returns. This means that customers that are both returning something and shopping for other items won’t have to go through two lanes, as well as quickly assisting any customers that did not realize there was a lane specifically for returns. 

3. TruHosting

TruHosting is a solution that takes your store’s servers out of your store and into the cloud with a TRUNO managed server. TruHosting enables a safeguard from natural disasters such as floods and fires, as well as enhanced security from viruses and ransomware threats. It also eliminates the capital investment to maintain the server in your store. 

While this may not seem like a necessary solution for a reliable front-end at first glance, ensuring that your store will be able to have a reliably working server to check out customers is a must have for grocers who expect the unexpected. I have personally seen stores that have had their servers stolen in the middle of the night. While the thieves probably thought they were just stealing a nice computer, they really were taking down the entire store with no way to open the next morning, a nightmare for retailers. With TruHosting, this wouldn’t even be a potential threat. 

 4. TruView

This last solution is more of a scheduling tip that I like to give grocery managers who are looking to improve how quickly they get customers through their front-end lanes. While TruView is a great business intelligence application that views transaction history, compares multiple store’s data, views important store trends, and much more, the feature that I want to discuss is the application’s Cashier Performance. 

Cashier performance can let you know a number of statistics about your cashiers, but the most important one for scheduling is to see how many items each person is scanning a minute. While one person may be averaging 40, someone else may be averaging 50. While there can sometimes be value to having a cashier scanning a little slower, perhaps they are engaging with the customer more, providing great customer service, when times are more hectic, you will want your fastest cashiers manning your lanes.

Invest in the Technology That Keeps Your Store Reliable 

From the Covid-19 pandemic to a labor shortage, the last few years have been full of issues that grocers can’t control. However, as we have adapted to new ways of life and even embraced new technology, grocers can still control reliability in their store by offering the fundamental guest experience of a simple transaction with just a few technological solutions being implemented. 

Ready to Take Control of Your Front End Lanes?



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