Supermarket Chain Feeds Sales With Star Receipt Printers

Posted November 30, 2011

Shrinking margins, growing competition, and increased consumer demand for a better in-store experience rank among the many challenges faced by retailers these days. The good news: technology—including printers from Star Micronics–can play a pivotal role in overcoming these obstacles and attaining key goals.

That’s what one independent supermarket chain based in the Northeastern U.S. discovered when it deployed 29 kiosks comprised of Star Micronics’ TSP847U thermal printers, 37-inch TekPanel kiosk heads, and Custom Laser, Inc. Powder Coated Steel Kiosk Stands in all 16 of its stores and at corporate headquarters. The kiosks run the ShoptoCook software application, which supplied and implemented the bundled solution.

Objectives included driving shoppers back to the center store to purchase items they had not initially planned to pick up during a given visit, supplying customers with consistent product information across the organization, inspiring consumers to try new (and possibly costlier) cuts of meat and seafood; and providing shoppers with the necessary tools for enjoying the optimal shopping experience—all on a 24/7 basis, explains Alan Goodyear.

The retailer received the hardware components, which were shipped to a centralized location within the chain, four weeks after placing the order. Two employees then spent two days staging all 29 kiosks, a simple process that involved unpacking, loading a software “ghost” image onto each unit, assembling the kiosk stands, and testing. In-store installation occurred over a subsequent two-week period, with minimal training of about 20 minutes per store needed to show associates the application and demonstrate how to load the printer paper.

Customers in all stores now rely heavily on the kiosks to access and print out a wide variety of information. A Meal Planning application provides more than 5,000 recipes associated with products carried in the fresh foods department, while an Interactive Weekly Circular application enables shoppers to build shopping lists and obtain suggested recipes that incorporate items promoted in weekly circular advertisements. Similarly, Produce and Cheese applications enrich shopper and associate expertise by providing answers quickly and easily. For example, with the former, shoppers can quickly locate recipes for every fruit and vegetable variety in the store, along with selection, preparation, handling, storage tips and nutritional facts. The latter provides a description of individual cheeses, as well as detailed information about their heritage, appearance, and “performance”. Suggestions for serving each type of cheese, along with a list of other items that might “go well” with it, are also provided. A Health & Wellness application yields shoppers meal ideas and summary information about popular health concerns.

With this wealth of information at their fingertips, Goodyear says, shoppers are indeed expressing heightened interest in experimenting with different types of meats and seafood and are gravitating back to the center store to pick up additional ingredients not on their list of intended purchases. The availability of additional meal planning information and other advice round-the-clock is bolstering customer loyalty.

“Internal and third-party research confirms that providing recipes to shoppers in the aisle sells more product,” Goodyear asserts. “Sales lift ranges from 5% to 22%, with full category lift as high as 14%. Recipes sell. But more importantly, the solution solves a fundamental problem many shoppers face daily; what to prepare for dinner tonight! Using technology from one vendor

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