Datalogic’s PreScan Queue-Busting system Lends a Hand to Online Shoppers

Posted October 20, 2010

Datalogic IGA

IGA Grocer Uses Datalogic Scanning’s PreScan Queue-Buster to Facilitate the Execution of a Successful Online Shopping Program, “Need a Hand?”

Overview

IGA North Sydney is a supermarket located on the north side of the Sydney Harbor in Australia, the heart of Sydney’s second largest Central Business District (BBD) precinct. Founded in 1993, IGA North Sydney has grown to become one of the most successful stores in the IGA network. one of the keys to IGA North Sydney’s success is leveraging new technologies to differentiate their customer offering. It’s safe to say their strategy has worked as their growing customer base recently required a checkout expansion to quadruple customer capacity at the point-of-sale (POS).

The Challenge

Located in a prominent business district, IGA North Sydney wanted to reach an untapped market in the area: local business people who are short on time and prefer to do their shopping online. To support this market, IGA North Sydney decided to implement a customized software tool and create an online shopping program called “Need a Hand?” the 100% complementary service allows customers to avoid the tedious task of grocery shopping yet still access the store’s entire suite of products from the comfort of their home / office.

“Without surprise, this service has become a huge hit with our customers,” stated Michael Whitehead, owner of IGA North Sydney. “We are now even delivering groceries within the hour to many local businesses and homes. the service has become such a time-saver for our customers that many are using it to prepare for weekly staff meetings by ordering food, drinks, paper supplies and more online.”

 

Shortly after launching the program, IGA North Sydney ran into one major issue; the execution of settling online orders. In the current process, employees used the in-store POS system to scan items after shopping on behalf of the online customer. This required sharing the checkout stations with in-store customers. Although the online program reduced the number of in-store shoppers as a whole, it did not impact the size of the queue, even with the expanded lanes, as online customers were simply replaced with employees in the queue.

 

To ensure a timely delivery, IGA North Sydney needed a solution that would continue the success of the online program, while reducing queues for in-store customers. they also needed to find a way to reduce labor costs required to operate the system.

The Solution

IGA North Sydney implement a queue-busting solution to remove the scanning portion of online orders from the POS. Michael Beer, General Manager of Worldsmart retail, stated, “IGA North Sydney’s online shopping program would be complete if settlement activities occurred ‘behind the scenes.’ this would allow in-store customers to also benefit from the program with reduced lines at checkout.”

 

IGA North Sydney explored several queue-busting solutions and after testing, Datalogic scanning’s PreScan Queue-Busting system proved to be the best. For this particular application, the PreScan system uses Datalogic’s Powerscan PM8300 bar code reader to assist employees with collecting the ordered items. By using a control card and scanning / bagging items while shopping, employees can eliminate these time-consuming activities from the checkout process.

 

The control card is an essential component to this system. First, employees scan the card with the Powerscan reader to ‘open the order.’ After scanning and bagging each item, the card is scanned again to ‘close the order.’ With the entire order now associated with the control card, only the card is needed to settle the order at the Pos. this process significantly expedites checkout activities for both online and in-store customers.

 

The PreScan Queue-Busting system’s simple ‘plug and play’ design allowed IGA North Sydney to immediately fix the settlement issue whereas other systems require tedious and often problematic system integration. Another benefit to using the PreScan system is the multi-functioning use of the Powerscan PM8300 reader. When it is not being used by employees for online order checkout, the Powerscan reader can be used for other front or back room activities such as inventory management or as a handheld addition to the point-of-sale. this increases the IGA North Sydney’s return-on-investment (roI).

The Results

After working out the settlement process, IGA North Sydney is now executing their online shopping program with perfection. Michael Beer agrees. “Choosing Datalogic’s PreScan Queue-Busting system not only solved the settlement issue, but allows the store to save approximately 5 minutes per online order with the ability to ‘scan and bag’ while collecting the customer’s items.”

 

The main benefit however is IGA North Sydney’s ability to free up the checkout stations for in-store shoppers to increase their customer satisfaction. Additionally, the store currently fulfills approximately 130 home / office shopping orders per week, which equates to a labor savings of around 10 hours per week. this solution solved IGA North Sydney’s problem of labor allocation, as the queue-buster allows employees to perform online order fulfillment much faster.

 

The popularity of the program and the huge operational success of the PreScan system is why owner Michael Whitehead is so delighted to tell this story. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of using Datalogic scanning’s PreScan Queue-Busting system. the technology was able to completely counter the initial problems we faced as we were developing the process,” he stated. “the most important part of this program is that it allows us to reach tens of thousands of shoppers who can now spend time doing what they love instead of grocery shopping.”

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