By: Nick D’Alessio and Mike Lowey, Retail Industry Specialists, Brother Mobile Solutions
Whether it’s in the convenience store or grocery retail marketplace, it’s no secret that today’s consumers want an ever-growing assortment of unique new items such as fresh, locally grown or healthy choices. This new breed of ”on the go” shoppers also want to get in and out of the store quickly, or have a trusted grocer pick and pull their online grocery order. This trend is opening up significant and lucrative opportunities for retail solutions providers. Retailers are looking for turn-key POS solutions that not only get consumers through checkout quickly, but also help manage eGrocery online orders, and track inventories of fresh goods — ensuring they are fresh, priced right, labeled correctly, and ready for hungry consumers.
Correctly capturing SKUs and pricing, sorting, collating and labeling online orders, are essential components of an efficient retail operation and a key to success for convenience stores or grocery retailers. That’s because smart, highly customizable and easy-to-deploy labeling and printing technology can help boost profits for store owners. Forward-thinking retail solutions providers will want to capitalize on this opportunity!
Prepared Food is Trending – Ringing up New Challenges for Retailers
Between the higher margins and major opportunities for incremental growth, food service is currently among the hottest product categories in convenience retailing. Prepared food now makes up the largest percentage of in-store sales at a staggering 10.87%, and marking it for freshness and readying it for POS checkout, is introducing new challenges for retailers.*
There are several important factors that are reshaping food service in convenience and retail and driving the adoption of safe and effective labeling:
- Hassle-free labeling. Retailers are always looking for ways to improve flexibility and speed when featuring daily food service specials and promotions. On-demand label printing can allow them to place the most accurate labels on items quickly without the hassle and expense of ordering custom labels. This also allows for producing labels with variable freshness dates to indicate “sell-by” and “use-by” dates.
- Growing customer expectations. Retailers know that delivering a better customer experience is critical to increasing revenue. Clear labeling of all ingredients addresses consumer concerns about allergens, conscious healthy eating choices, desire for gluten free products and other dietary demands. Thus, stores must provide thorough, transparent labeling of all ingredients.
- Associate efficiency. Retailers must use opportunities to improve employee efficiency. For example, sales associates like to automatically scan and print accurate shelf labels, which is much quicker than producing 8” x 11” laser sheets of shelf labels in the back office and then brought to the store floor. eGrocery order pickers need an intelligent way to identify, pull and tag a shopping list order to insure fulfillment accuracy. Stand-alone printing solutions with PLU or UPC files that reside in the printer, connected to barcode scanners, with seamless updating via cloud-based apps are changing the game. These also allow employees to remain on the sales floor to help customers while completing other store tasks.
- Supply chain to store inventory tracking. From the warehouse, across the supply chain to delivery at the store or to a customer, it’s critical to track and label inventory correctly to ensure freshness and quality. Once food service items arrive in the grocery or convenience store, they must be packaged, labeled, and identified at the POS. This allows retail associates to quickly and easily scan the correct items at check-out, ensuring proper price capture and item sales counts for inventory reconciliation.
Retail-ready solutions for fresh food labeling
Retail solutions providers can best support their end customers with a bundled solution that pairs their software solutions with the latest generation of . When evaluating mobile printing devices to best complement store software, here are a few tips to consider:
- Interoperability across major platforms and operating systems
- Versatility to print a wide variety of receipts, labels, tags and other essential documents
- Ease of use, intuitive operation, and navigation
- Power and connectivity options (Bluetooth, MFi, Wi-Fi)
- Extended battery life
- Compact size, proven reliability and ruggedness
Mobile printers are retail-ready for the labeling of fresh foods in retail. They’re designed for a wide range of in-store and POS retail printing and labeling needs including:
- Product labels and tags
- Shelf-edge labels and tags
- Online eGrocery order tagging
- Mobile POS
- Queue-busting receipts
- Returns labeling
- Proof of purchase labeling
- Custom labels (paint, materials, and fabrics)
- Online order/in-store pickup labeling
- Inventory and price display compliance
- Standalone labeling
Power in the partnership
When looking to enhance their retail solutions with mobile print technologies, solutions providers will want seek out a quality partner that offers a robust partnership program. A partner offering a wide array of engineering, pricing and support options can help solution providers thrive with a top portfolio of mobile products and services. Partner programs that offer services such as custom product configurations, solution integration, engineering software support, and marketing program support for increased visibility can also benefit partner relationships.
As the retailers continue to adapt to changing consumer demands, solution providers can leverage new opportunities by enhancing their core offerings with partnerships that bring the benefits of mobile printing to POS in-store. With the latest mobile IT solutions to streamline operations and get consumers in and out of the store quickly, both retailers and their customers will win. And that means shopper satisfaction and loyalty will surge, along with revenues and profits.
*Source: CSNews Market Research 2017.