Gone are the days when the grocery store could depend solely on a regular checkout system, which only has limited operations: today’s consumers demand greater speed and efficiency, which is why stores are turning their backs on traditional terminals. Instead, they are opting for a grocery POS system to aid in the smooth running of their business.
Changes in Grocery Retailing
From independent grocery stores to the major chains, the competition in the grocery sector is vast, and with more brands competing for their share of consumer spend, it can only get stronger. In addition, the way consumers shop has undergone a fundamental change, and grocery stores need to be able to keep up with this by offering greater efficiency to customers, while also finding ways to run their businesses more efficiently.
The latest challenge to the traditional brick-and-mortar (B&M) grocer is AmazonFresh, Amazon’s online grocery shopping service. AmazonFresh already has several outlets in the US, and some industry experts are already warning that these new style grocers could kill off the traditional grocery store.
Another challenge the traditional grocery store continues to face is ecommerce. By the end of 2016, 34 percent of consumers were expected to be doing their grocery shopping online, and the online grocery market was expected to be worth $42 billion.
Chain stores are adapting to better serve online customers and Wal-Mart is just one major player who is playing heed to the demand for ecommerce. It has been increasing its product selection as well as providing customer pick up options, all to make life easier for the consumer; this has given the ecommerce side of Wal-Mart’s business a considerable boost.
What Consumers Want
Despite the increase in online grocery shopping, there is one area where ecommerce can’t win: many consumers interviewed say they continue to shop in traditional outlets because they want to pick the goods themselves and buy the freshest ingredients. However, in an increasingly competitive environment, stores must still be prepared to give consumers what they what they want when they do visit.
So what do consumers want? Well, research indicates that a relevant grocery shopping experience and competitive pricing is high on consumers’ wish lists. However, most consumers state the in-store experience is one of the major things that keep them coming back. Research also shows that when consumers shop in store, they want a fast, more efficient way of shopping, and they want to see a greater use of mobile technology, as well as mobile/online coupons to download and print.
As grocery stores face stronger competition and cater to wider demographics, stores need to examine how they can create a better shopping experience for consumers, and this is an area where POS systems can help.
A POS system can help to create personalized, targeted advertising, and help with the running of loyalty programs to increase consumer loyalty and boost profits, while also making the shopping experience more efficient for the consumer.
The wider benefits of POS systems have long been recognized by some of the biggest grocery stores in the United States, and independent stores like these two Ohio-based grocers are choosing to update to a POS system too. The general opinion is that POS systems make their business operations work more smoothly, while also helping to improve the all-important customer experience, which can enhance the stores reputation and get customers to keep coming back.
Customer experience and driving consumer loyalty is crucial to the retail industry, and it is now the primary focus for most retail stores. This is confirmed research by Gartner, which shows “Eighty-nine percent of surveyed companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience by 2016,” and technology will play a crucial role in providing this improved experience.
Why Make the Investment?
Staying ahead of the competition while also optimizing profits is a major challenge for businesses. Not so long ago a traditional terminal will have been adequate, but as times have changed a greater level of sophistication is required to keep up with the dynamic world of the grocery trade.
POS also provide access to analytics, which allows grocery store owners/mangers to spot trends, which maximizes profits, and reduce losses by getting an improved grasp on inventory control.
In addition, a grocery POS can help to:
- Provide a better level of service to your customers.
- Automate tasks to save you time.
- Complete transactions more quickly.
- Track staff efficiency and spot costumer’s favorites so you can better target advertising and enhance sales.
However, whichever system you chose, make sure that your payments processor has expertise in working with the grocery trade.
Choosing the Right POS System for Your Business
The right POS system is the one that suits your store’s individual needs, but you should always start with a realistic budget in mind.
However, don’t just look at the price you pay: think about the ongoing savings in terms of improved efficiency, greater inventory control to reduce wastage, and enhanced customer service. Also, ensure that that the POS system has all the features you need, so you shouldn’t need to upgrade later at a greater expense.
To narrow down the list of possibilities, create a list of problems your store, or chain of stores has, and look for POS systems that include features to help you resolve them. For example, you store might benefit from improved inventory management.
The grocery sector has undergone constant change over the years, and competition is set to get stronger, too. B&M retailers in the grocery sector have numerous challenges to consider, including the increase in ecommerce, and the changing needs of consumers.
However, as the grocery industry evolves, so too do the tools and systems that can help deliver the improved customer experience that today’s consumers crave.