In part 1 of ‘Calculating the benefits of a queue management system’, we briefly discussed the three most common financial benefits of implementing a queue management system – labor savings, sales increase, cost avoidance. This article further explores ways the Irisys system can help optimize the use of cashier labor and provides a few examples of how our customers have used to the system to do
The fight for entry-level labor
When profit margins are high and sales are good, efficiency isn’t always top of mind.
Right now, traditional grocery stores are facing several challenges that are impacting
their sales and profitability – price deflation, the aggressive growth of discount
grocers (such as Lidl) and the push in most states to raise minimum starting wages, to
name a few. In 2016, three of the top 10 food retailers in the U.S. –Walmart, Costco
and Target - raised their minimum starting wage. Because traditional grocery stores
hire from the same pool of entry-levelworkers, they are competing for these workers.
With US supermarket profit margins between 1-2%, it is difficult for them to compete
on the wage front. Irisys has worked with grocers that are unable to fill cashier
openings with any workers – not to mention quality ones – due to wage competition.
For grocers whose union cashiers are required to pay dues, the competition is even
greater. As labor becomes a larger percentage of operating costs, it becomes
increasingly important that it be used efficiently to help deliver great customer service and drive sales.
Queue Management Systems
Amazon’s store of the future – Amazon Go – has been delayed due to the store’s system being unable to track more than 20 people inside the store at a given time, according to recent industry reports and the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, the system is reportedly having issues understanding if an item has simply been "moved from its specific spot on the shelf."
A couple of weeks ago, RetailWire posted an excerpt of a study from the University of Herfordshire that recommends grocers establish a slow checkout lane to improve the shopping experience for the elderly. The study found “over 60s” largely desired slow checkout lanes in order to talk to grocery staff. Feedback to this recommendation from people in the retail industry was all over the place. Some said this would be discriminatory and insulting to seniors. Some said you can’t provide a special checkout lane to every group that wants one. Some thought it was a great idea.
Retail Queue Management
Before implementing a new system or process, most retailers are required to evaluate the cost and benefits. This evaluation typically takes place during a proof of concept (POC) or pilot during which one or more stores are used to trial the new system. Following are some tips for determining the return on investment of a queue management system. While this example is specific to implementing a queue management system, the guidelines can be applied to other projects.
The Kroger Co.’s faster checkout initiative has made serious waves over the past few years. In 2014, it ranked No. 3 among the InformationWeek Elite 100 listing of the top business technology innovators in the United States. And just last week, the grocer detailed its QueVision technology, which is powered by Irisys’ intelligent Queue Management solution, has saved Kroger $250 million in labor costs since its deployment in 2010.
Irisys’ presence was strong at the 2016 TRUNO Retail Client Conference (TRUNO) on Sept. 26-28 in Lubbock, Texas. As the retail industry's premier event and networking platform for trusted retail solutions, TRUNO included several retail experts and decision makers, including Irisys’ own, Lorie Fontaine and Jeff Riordan.
We’ve all been there – the long line, packed self-checkout, and slew of slow shoppers. All of these can affect the shopping experience, but waiting in a long queue is still the most bothersome, according to a recent study by Which?.
supermarket queueing times,