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The Essential Guide to Retail Technology for the Grocery Manager

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Happy staff team with men and women in a supermarket

 

Retail Technology Overview

Point of Sale:

The point of sale (POS) system is the backbone of any grocery retail business. A good system, allows grocery stores and supermarkets to overcome industry challenges and thrive.  The right POS system gives store owners and operators the ability to process transactions, review critical data, manage customer information, and streamline key business operations on a daily basis. POS systems are made up of several hardware and software components, which vary depending on your business’s unique needs. With such a wide variety of retail technology solutions available, it’s important to determine which solution has the capabilities to address the needs of grocery retail businesses like yours.

POS Hardware for Grocery Retail

Even if you own the best software available, it would be useless unless you have all the hardware you need in order to function. All grocery retail businesses need a wide variety of hardware including:

  • Receipt Printer
  • Payment Terminal
  • Register Screen
  • Barcode Scanner
  • Cash Drawer
  • Scale
  • Coin Dispenser
  • Price Checking Kiosk
  • Touch Screen
  • Wireless Handheld
  • Pole Displays
  • Customer Screens

POS Software for Grocery Retail

The right software will integrate seamlessly with your hardware, and will offer more than just transaction processing. POS software gives business owners the tools they need to streamline and manage many areas of business, such as:

Key Peripherals for Grocery Point of Sale:

POS hardware and software components work together to provide grocery retail businesses with a comprehensive solution for achieving success in the industry. The best retail technology ensures both hardware and software, as well as additional peripherals, are being utilized in the most efficient and streamlined way, for the largest return on your investment.

Receipt Printer

While email and text receipts are becoming popular, grocery stores and supermarkets still need receipt printers for customers who prefer a physical copy of receipts for their records. Portable receipt printers like the Epson – TM-P60II Series Receipt Printer can print directly from mobile devices without the need for drivers.

Register Screen

Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are still utilizing the bulky monitors of the past, but these are quickly being replaced by sleek touch-screen tablets like the Touch Dynamic Quest II. These display products being purchased, but also give employees the ability to clock in/out, and review sales reports or customer information.

Digital Receipt Service

In the same way customers like physical receipts for their records, many keep their records online, or prefer not to be bogged down with paper receipts. For that reason, digital receipt services such as  Star Micronics’AllReceipts™ have become a very popular and secure digital receipt solution.

Scale Integration

Grocery retail businesses rely on seamless scale and scanner integrations in order to provide accurate pricing on weighed produce and bulk foods. Solutions like the E-Plum Enterprise Scale Manager offer a centralized web-based system that provides complete visibility of your scale/printer network.

The Ultimate Point of Sale & Back Office Management System: A Checklist for Grocers and Supermarket Managers

What to Look for when Selecting Grocery POS Software

Your business utilizes grocery POS software to help with day-to-day operations. With such a high demand for retail technology, there are numerous options available. It’s important for grocery managers to choose a provider with experience in grocery retail. Without a provider who has a deep understanding of the challenges grocery stores and supermarkets face in order to run a successful business, they won’t be able to provide a comprehensive solution that addresses all of your challenges.

By choosing a solutions provider with grocery retail experience, you can ensure that the retail technology will have the crucial features and functions that you may not otherwise receive from general retail solutions providers or providers of “free” point of sale systems. 

A few necessary functions for grocery POS software include:

Replenishment Purchasing

Replenishment purchasing modules provide grocery managers with an easy way to handle restocking and ordering. This comes in handy when restocking seasonal items, as purchase orders can be calculated based on inventory sold during a specified period.

Multi-Store Management

For growing grocery stores and supermarkets, management software like the Multi-Store module helps ensure consistency across all locations, and allows owners to view and manage product files, inventory quantities, promotions, and more.

Wireless Handheld & Line Busting

Wireless handhelds are one of the best ways to increase productivity and accuracy while scanning purchases and tracking inventory. With wireless technology like the Line Busting module, associates can greet customers in-line and scan purchases, receiving a receipt which they can give to the next available cashier to complete the transaction.

Signs & Labels

Professional signage and labeling can improve merchandising, simplify price changes, and reduce theft. The Signs & Labels module is fully-integrated, and helps staff keep track of out-of-stock items, price changes, and new items.

The Grocery Checkout Experience

Slow checkout eats away at both your customers’ satisfaction and your bottom line. While the demand for bulk produce is as high as ever, inputting price look up (PLU) codes into the till using manual, keyed-entry processes can cause delays in checkout and long lines for customers. With recent advancements in retail technology, however, more efficient grocery checkout applications such as Auto-Star’s Quick Flip provide touchscreen integration for grocery POS terminals to streamline the look up and entry process.

Unified POS

Grocery retailers often run into situations when POS systems are utilized primarily for front-of-house operations, while back office management is conducted separately. It can be difficult to access accurate data for both managers and sales associates, control inventory, and provide fast, efficient transactions to customers without a unified POS system. By having an integrated POS and back office management system, you can manage all of your data in one centralized location. You and your sales team can gain real-time visibility into important information without needing to export and transfer it between systems. This speeds up and streamlines transactions, inventory management, customer account lookup, and more. 

Data Security for Grocery Retailers

Grocery retail business owners spend time, attention, and resources on trying to ensure the safety and security of both business and customer data. Store owners are just as responsible for data security as they are for any other legal, government, and regulatory requirements. SMBs are not immune to data breaches by hackers, and with the recent reports of several high-profile data breaches that have occurred, customers are more wary than ever about the confidentiality of their data when it comes to retailers.

Many conscious consumers have elected to boycott retailers that have experienced preventable data breaches, and rightly so. Customer data security and safety is paramount when it comes to retaining your customer base. Grocery retailers retain many kinds of sensitive data, such as payment card information, personally identifiable information, account info, and other sensitive information. In order to keep all of this safe, retail technology must have some key features:

  • Data encryption for “at-rest” data (data not presently being used, usually stored in the POS)
  • PA-DSS Validated EMV processing for “in motion” data (the transmission of data when it is being used)
  • Up-to-date traditional anti-virus software.

Additionally, retail technology vendors should be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI), and should be listed on at the PCI Council website. 

How Food Trends Affect Grocery Retail  

The grocery retail industry, like any other retail industry, is an evolving market, and businesses need to be adaptable in order to remain competitive. Recently, with the farm-to-table movement in full effect, consumer demands have shifted and customers are focusing their attention on healthy food options. Armed with nutritional information at their fingertips thanks to smart phones, food-consciousness is top-of-mind to consumers, and they are choosing grocery retailers that cater to their health-conscious desires.

Grocery retail technology can either help or hinder store owners who seek to meet the ever-changing expectations of the customers. Older, out-of-date technology doesn’t provide insight into trends, and can lead managers to overstock unpopular items, leading to significant waste. However, as the retail technology landscape evolves, more advanced solutions allow grocers to adapt to meet consumer needs. Not only does technology provide deeper visibility into sales data which can help track these trends, but it can also help store owners implement customer loyalty programs that offer special promotions on trending foods.

Why Understanding Grocery Retail Technology is Important

In the grocery retail industry, it can be challenging to stay relevant and profitable. Business owners and operators are faced with unique hurdles in order to keep business thriving, so it is critical to make sure you are implementing the best retail technology for your business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so make sure you choose a POS system that can address the individual needs of your business in order to receive the best return on investment, and accomplish business goals.

Auto-Star has specialized in grocery point of sale solutions for more than two decades. Let our team help your grocery store or supermarket leverage retail technology that will help grow your business today and in the future. Contact us to learn more.

 

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