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.
Nearly half of consumers polled stated they still prefer grocery shopping in-store. The reality is shoppers like having control over the selection of produce they eat and enjoy the experience of hand-selecting the food they feed their families. Grocery shopping and cooking at home is both an essential activity, and a source of entertainment, comfort and luxury. Couple this omnipresent human nature with rising inflation, labor shortage, and supply chain issues, and the online grocery shopping spotlight is beginning to dim.
Unprecedented. Paradigm shift. Novel. All words used to describe 2020.
You would be hard-pressed to find an industry that made it through 2020 unchanged. At TRUNO, we marched right alongside as the grocery retail industry was catapulted into the spotlight overnight. Pushed to its limits and forced to rapidly innovate, grocers weathered every storm the pandemic threw its way. Now, as the skies begin to clear, and we optimistically look to brighter days – what are key technology takeaways to carry into 2021?
Your point-of-sale (POS) hardware may be the hub of activity in your grocery store, but it’s also essentially a collection of PC-based processors. That means sooner or later, you’ll need to upgrade the hardware. Maybe you have to replace a broken part, or you have to upgrade for compliance purposes, or the unit has simply worn out. Whatever the reason, eventually you’ll have to replace some equipment.
Self-checkout has become a standard fixture in grocery stores; it's hard to remember when it wasn't there. The technology has been around for the last two decades, and while self-checkout lanes are standard in large grocery chains, their adoption still lags behind in smaller chains.
Frictionless shopping. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot these days and connotes an evolved customer experience where shoppers reach a state of shopping nirvana. It also takes on new meaning in the midst of a pandemic requiring social distancing and other measures to limit close personal contact. But to Paul Lysko, Global Product Line Director, Self-Service Solutions at Toshiba, frictionless shopping is more than a self-service e-commerce experience where customers simply click and pay. It is the collection of all elements of an in-store experience that provide value over and above the technology involved. Beyond just achieving their shopping goal, it’s that feeling a shopper gets that the experience of visiting the store was efficient, positive, and even one of beneficial discovery.
Even the most “bare bones” point of sale (POS) system can tell you a lot about your grocery business. The POS captures checkout activity, like which lanes are the busiest and how many transactions are going through your self-checkout lanes versus non-self-checkout lanes. It can also capture which cashiers are ringing up the most transactions, the most per department, or the highest dollar amount per ring. And, of course, there is product information, departmental and total sales figures, your top 100 items, and so forth. That’s a lot of data.
Since nearly every major retail grocery store has self-checkouts today, nine out of 10 customers who walk into any store have used a self-checkout. These self-service alternatives to traditional checkouts have become quite popular with shoppers. They all work the same in every location and seek to control their retail experience; customers actively seek them out when they're ready to pay for their purchases.
As a grocery retailer who’s always taken the steps to stay PCI compliant, you may think you’ve done everything you need. But that might not be enough to protect you and your customers. Did you know that even if you’ve taken every precaution, you could still be at risk? That’s because anyone who touches the environment where customer payments are handled must also be PCI compliant—including your resellers and technology providers.
As a grocery retailer whose point-of-sale system depends on either Microsoft Windows or Windows Server, the recently announced cumulative update for Windows 10 will impact your operations. Will it affect your NCR ENCOR POS system? Do you need to worry about hardware or software issues? Will you have to invest any time or money in this upgrade?