Convenience stores in the United Kingdom represent a £39.1 billion industry, about the same as industries such as oil and gas. Convenience stores number almost 50,000 and 72% of them are run by independent retailers. These retailers face challenges like future-proofing their businesses and eliminating staff theft. More often than not, the answer to both is technology.
When opening a new store, owners have to make many decisions, including what to sell, how to draw customers and what systems to deploy. Karan Patel was especially interested in frictionless technology when setting up his SPAR convenience store in Tunbridge Wells, U.K. He wanted to future-proof the store with modern technology to attract millennials and Generation Z customers.
That meant deploying a fully featured POS system integrated with intelligent drawers, digital signage, a cigarette dispenser and electronic price labeling. Patel researched available technology and providers before he decided to contact Borehamwood-based MSP Systems Ltd., which he had come across online.
“We asked them to give us a complete solution that would integrate with all the new in-store technologies we have, including intelligent labeling, a cigarette display system and media advertising,” Patel recalls. Having looked at seven other solution providers, while reviewing his options, Patel ultimately chose MSP Systems “because of their reasonable price and a good customer support line.”
His SPAR franchise is family-run and employs three family members and seven part-time workers. Patel wanted technology that would allow him to run the business efficiently and prevent cash loss while also making it attractive to modern consumers, who often make purchase decisions based on digital signage promotions and want to get through the checkout fast.Intelligent Cash Drawers
After getting Patels call, MSP Systems prepared a proposal that included three APG SMART
till Intelligent Cash Drawers integrated with the POS, which also integrates with an intelligent price labeling system. The SMART
till Solution records and counts each transaction, tracking discrepancies as they occur in order to resolve them on the spot. In the convenience sector U.K., the number one cause of cash loss is internal theft, which is why retailers have invested over £5 million to address staff theft.
These capabilities, says Patel, benefit both the stores ownership and the cashiers. The owners “know they can track everything the staff does and that any shortages will be recorded.” For its part, employees “feel safer that they cant be accused wrongly of losses as everything is recorded in the till.”
Having visibility at the POS helps not only with cash loss reduction but also saves valuable management time. In the UK, 24% of shop owners work more than 70 hours per week and 19% take no holidays, so time is a precious commodity for them. Currently, Patels family members do the cashing up in the evening but hope to pass these tasks to other employees. They feel safe in doing this because the SMART
till Solution “looks after” the cash.
Having the SMART
till Cash Management Solution in the MSPs sales tool box, says Greg Dockery, Sales Director at MSP Systems, increases the value providers can deliver to customers. “More importantly, it makes any proposal MSPs make more well-rounded as we are now offering a complete solution.”Integrated Digital Signage
Another key component of the SPAR Tunbridge Wells implementation was digital signage. The store has tablet-sized screens on the shelves advertising the days specials. The screens are positioned strategically; studies show advertising and promotion at the point of decision influence buyer behavior and boost sales. Other promotional screens are placed behind the counter, at the POS stations and in other highly visible places.Tobacco Dispenser
The POS deployed by MSP Systems also integrates with the stores Navarra tobacco dispenser to record sales and stock levels. The dispenser releases a cigarette packet only when prompted by the POS. Nothing leaves the dispenser otherwise. This addresses a major issue faced by UK tobacco sellers; it is estimated that missing cigarette packs stolen by staff cut into sales by 0.3% to 0.7%. While that may seem small, it adds up over time.Intelligent Pricing
One of the most advanced features of SPAR Tunbridge Wells POS is integration with electronic shelf labeling for dynamic pricing. As any retailer knows, changing prices on shelves can take hours when done manually. The process is expensive, time-consuming and error-prone. Electronic labeling changes that. When SPAR updates prices, the system automatically changes the labels and updates the POS so that when a price is scanned, it is the same price that appears on the shelf. Pricing errors are eliminated. Another benefit of intelligent pricing is integration with digital signage, enabling screens to immediately show current prices when they are updated.Sleek and SMART retailing
Patel is happy with the results of the technology investments he made. The technology implementation, including the SMART
till Intelligent Cash Drawers, took about two days. The use of modern automated technology provided better cash control, improved the checkout process and overall customer experience. Patel says he is happy with how smoothly the process was and feels confident his store is well equipped with the right POS technology to meet the current and future needs of its customers.
Data Source: The Local Shop Report 2018 by ACS (This relates to all data in this document except one)
till Solution® will revolutionise the way you manage cash within your organisation, tackling cash handling issues from both sides — the shop floor and the back office — whilst maintaining the personal contact with customers. The SMARTtill Solution® is the next generation in cash drawer technology. It is able to count the coins and notes within the drawer itself; automatically within seconds after the drawer is closed. Visit www.cashdrawer.com to learn more.
With more than 5,500 employees and 280 SPAR stores located across England and Wales, Blakemore Retail is the largest independent convenience store operator in the UK. They provide an extensive range of goods and services to the local communities they operatein. Their stores offer a wide selection of both fresh and chilled food products, including many regional lines sourced from local suppliers to support the local economy. To learn more about SPAR, please visit http://www.afblakemore.com/.
Exhibitor Data Sheet