Unlike other retailing industries, grocery stores have a lot of special attributes that look more suitable for offline sales than online sales. The very clear proof is while online sales had been growing constantly and dramatically, Amazon still purchased Whole Foods then launched its own chain of grocery stores. If you do business in grocery retailing but don’t go online, this put you in the very dangerous situation in a world of ubiquitous competitors selling online. However, if you only sell online, it’s hard to approach the careful customers who enjoys going to the grocery shops to thoroughly choose the freshest items. That does confirm that although the grocery seems to be more suitable for offline sales, the combination of online channels and offline channels or Omnichannel Strategy is still the best strategy to go for operating grocery shops.
In the scope of this article, I will only mention about the customers who choose Magento as the platform to deploy Omnichannel Strategy. Actually, for grocery retailing, with its own special characteristics that might entail a lot of customization, Magento is still the best choice because of the most customizable capability. Therefore, if you plan to open a grocery shop or plans to change your old offline system to Omnichannel POS system, I would like to take note a few points that you might pay attention when choose POS system compared with other industries.
1. Integrate with Scale
This is one example of the scale which we used to do integration for client: Bizerba SC 100
Actually, it’s not exactly integration between POS system and scale but we modified POS to decode the number serial created from the scale. Therefore, you don’t need to ask API/SDK from scale provider but only need to understand the mechanism the scale creates the barcode here.
Specifically, for this scale, it supports generating different kinds of barcode but we chose to set up EAN 13 barcode as following:
Based on the guide from the scale manufacturer, you can set up each product with one PLU number (and possibly the corresponding price of this product) in the scale in advance. When customer wants to buy 3 apples, you weigh them on the scale and input PLU number of apple: 0625 for instance, the scale weigh 3 apples as 498g so it generates the weight section: 00498 ( 5-digit). Staff scan the barcode number generated by the scale. POS needs to read the barcode number and decode it as 0625, 00498, etc then understand that this customer wants to buy apple, 498g. POS finally calculates the final price based on the weight and the price of apple and automatically add this info to the cart for customers.
2. Control wastage with shrinkage report
It’s already mentioned in the article here so I just shortly summarize that you need to have the reports to control the products which you have to remove from the shelves each day. Thus, you can know if you preserver products properly or have strategy to push products for consumption asap, finally decrease the cost and guarantee the profit.
3. Control expired products with batch/lot management
Because of short life-cycle attribute of a few special products in grocery shop, we might need to control the expiry date of products efficiently. Plus, if there’s any problem happens with one product in one lot, we can easily find out all other orders that have products in this lot. Lots is the process of sorting inventory based on expiration date or by when a product was received. By filtering lots by expiration date, you’ll be making sure your products are being picked based on what expires first.
How it works: When a purchase order is received, assign a Lot number to it to track when an order came in and what happened with items in a lot, including who, what, and why of its journey.
- Manually assign a batch of goods a Lot number
- System assigns cost to Lot based off of raw material
- User assigns expiration date
- Finished goods labeled and added to inventory
FIFO (first in first out) is the most typical way for accountant to control everything here. Therefore, to support the accounting system at this point, we need to be able to track down products by batch/lot as well.
Hope that all the above info is useful for you in planning for switching to a new and comprehensive POS Omninichannel system.