When The Co-operative Group finalised the takeover of the Somerfield chain, it marked the start of an exciting new era for business and consumer alike. By increasing its market share to the fifth largest food retailer, more customers are now able to enjoy The Co-operative Food experience.
Since the takeover in March 2009, Somerfield has already begun to benefit from The Co-operative's ethical retailing and extensive experience in food retail. Within just 6 weeks of the takeover, the New Milton Somerfield was the first store to be treated to a full Co-operative makeover.
The Somerfield Store in New Milton received a £200,000 rebranding and conversion to a Co-operative Food store in April 2009. On re-opening, customers were able to enjoy enhanced product lines, ethical retailing initiatives, new Healthy Living and Truly Irresistible ranges and honest labelling.
With the Co-operative Group already a customer of the InControl Evolution retail management system, the store and customers were also set to benefit from the latest in epos technology. All tills and back office systems would be completely replaced by the new InControl retail software and epos terminals.
Just 6 weeks after the takeover, and with a complete store conversion to be completed in 5 days, installing and migrating staff to InControl efficiently and quickly was essential. Store manager Dani Rui-Perez wanted to make sure employees were able to offer a first-rate Co-operative customer experience for the grand re-opening.
The InControl project management team used their retail experience to plan and execute an integration process that would ensure a smooth transition in the time available. To achieve this, the team took into consideration the unique attributes of the store and delivered the following:
The team worked closely with Mr. Rui-Perez to train employees on all operational changes introduced with the new system so that on the day of re-opening they were ready to serve customers using InControl.
One of the biggest areas of change Mr. Rui-Perez noticed with InControl Evolution was an improved till experience for employee and customer. The large user-friendly touch screen tills made processing sales simpler and faster resulting in notably reduced queue times.
It was also found that time was being saved by being able to process multiple transactions through the one epos till. Reductions, lottery processing, eTopUp and standard basket processing at the store can now be completed through a single terminal. Customers no longer have to endure a lengthy wait for transactions to go through several pay points and in many cases there is no need for the customer to queue twice for different sale options.
Other benefits from the new InControl till system included:
Overall, employees found the system simpler to use and as a result have been able to offer a better service to customers, even at peak store times.
The user-friendly nature of the system was cited as a big advantage considering the complexities of the tasks InControl is able to process. Training time on cashing up had been significantly reduced as well as saving employee time on the cash management activities. Many tasks were automated by the system, with details being updated to the central financial system as soon as they were completed.
A particular aspect of InControl that improved the store's customer service is the inclusion of the "Receipt Viewer". This enables employees to easily search for and view individual customer transactions as well as being able to view a copy of the receipt as a customer would see it.
As a result, customer queries concerning a sale can be dealt with simply by store employees. Staff can easily trace the sale and view the same information that the customer is seeing on their receipt, gaining a better understanding of the query. Mr. Rui-Perez found that this was a better system than previously used and communication and customer service has been improved significantly through this alone.
With just a short time to prepare the store for its grand re-opening, training for the system had to be quick without compromising on quality of service. Mr. Rui-Perez noticed a significant difference in the training time required to achieve competency on InControl compared to previous systems. The large touch screen tills made transaction processes easy to see and track and the point of sale procedures were more straight-forward than before.
Mr. Rui-Perez pointed out that: "Once employees have had the chance to navigate and familiarise themselves with the system, it is very easy to use. We have certainly seen a significant reduction in the hours it takes to train staff on InControl. Within just a few months, InControl has enabled us to offer the same high level of customer service, and operate as well as any other Co-operative store."
Previously, reductions had been made generically; reduction amounts did not wholly take into account sell by dates, and the process was a lengthy and manual one. With the InControl InHand mobile product information unit, the reduced to clear process has become much more efficient and product specific.
The InControl system has improved the RTC process by:
The system controls and prompts the date checks to ensure reductions are not missed. Customers are able to purchase items on reduction more easily, reducing wastage which is very important to the business.
Before the implementation of InControl, employees would have to wait up to an hour for product information to come back from the system so that the correct shelf edge labels could be printed. This meant delays in labelling products and affected the accuracy of product pricing.
With InControl, updates such as price changes are made in real-time and seen across the system within moments. In addition to this, shelf edge labels can be printed from a number of terminals within the InControl system offering an increased flexibility and efficiency in the update process.
Checking and cross-referencing shelf edge labels and product is much easier with InControl. By scanning products with the InHand unit, and updating the system in real time, discrepancies are easier to highlight and ensure the correct pricing and promotion is being displayed.
Mr. Rui-Perez attributes the success of InControl to the user-friendly nature of the system. This alone has saved substantial hours of employee time in reduced training. In addition to this, the system, which is easy to use even at the store's busiest hours, has translated into an overall improved customer experience.
Mr. Rui-Perez comments that: "When you experience InControl; a system that is simple to use, but able to withstand the demands of retail, you can tell that it has been developed specifically with this industry in mind. We would not have been able to provide the service we did in the time that we had, if InControl had not been so uniquely suitable for our retail requirements."
To find out how InControl can transform your epos experience, contact our InControl Evolution team today for more information.