Expert Column: Brick-and-mortar Grocers Deploy Tech to Enhance Efficiencies

By Bob Gibson, VP of Branch Operations, Cummins Allison

In the next three years, online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual rate of 21.1 percent, reaching approximately $18 billion by 2018. In order to compete with growing pressure from online shopping and delivery options, traditional grocers must focus on maximizing customer service offerings and adding value to the in-store shopping experience.

Cummins Allison shares how implementing both front-of-store and cash-office technology solutions can help grocers achieve their customer service goals and reduce inefficiencies.  

Exemplary Customer Service with Value-Added Technology

For grocery stores to stay top-of-mind in a highly competitive market, it’s critical that they proactively implement technology that enhances customer service. Dennis Maxwell, director of advertising and branding for Reasor’s grocers, explains that customer service is a proven differentiator. “It’s all about customer service,” he says. “The primary reason our customers shop with us is our exemplary service and the quality of our fresh departments.”

Savvy grocers are bolstering customer experiences by leveraging front-of-store services and opportunities, allowing them to grab additional market share. By offering the convenience of self-service coin counters in their stores, grocers can generate more revenue in a small footprint and serve customers better through speed and convenience, drawing in new customers and increasing the frequency of return visits. Additionally, coin redemption keeps cash in stores, and customers appreciate the convenience of redeeming coin and shopping in one trip – something not offered by online grocers.

Eliminating Cash-office Challenges to Ensure Efficiency

In order to compete with online retailers, brick-and-mortar grocers need to ensure that their store is as efficient as possible – eliminating daily operational inefficiencies that could potentially impact the in-store customer experience. Advanced technology such as automated cash drawer processing systems that count down and balance cash drawers, rebuild float amounts and set up tills create new opportunities for grocers to make better use of time spent in the cash office. Incorporating such technologies eliminates many of the inefficiencies associated with running a grocery business.          

Any opportunity to save time comes as a major advantage for grocers and employees, and streamlining the deposit process can free up a significant amount of time in the daily schedule to focus on other important initiatives. Using a single platform device that counts and scans both checks and cash can lead to reductions in overhead spending that can be used toward efforts to improve in-store customer-facing projects.

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