STORES Magazine - May 2011 - (Page 26)

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE / WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT One in Front Checkout guidance system streamlines customer experience BY LIZ PARKS F ood shopping can be fun, but waiting in line? Not so much. Several progressive supermarket retailers have found a way to turn the checkout experience into a unique point of difference. They make sure their customers have no more than one customer ahead of them as they “queue up” to check out. The IRISYS Queue Management System is also proving to be an effective operations tool, creating a data stream that retailers use to accurately coordinate individual store cashier labor hours with customer shopping times. Morrisons Supermarkets, the fourthlargest supermarket retailer in the U.K., began testing the second generation of Queue Management in 2007, starting with just five stores. It rolled the system out to all stores in 2008 with the goal of making Morrisons “a leader in terms of value for money [and] in the delivery of exceptional service and real benefits to our customers,” according to Sylvia Jones, head of Morrisons’ central retail operations. Last impressions Chris Precious, president of the Atlanta-based North America division of IRISYS Technologies, explains that Queue Management uses infrared technology to gauge body heat through sensors mounted over entrances, exits and checkout lanes. The software uses that data to count and monitor the number of people entering and exiting the stores, as well as arrival rates and checkout queue length. The average queue length, wait time and overall store checkout performance is transmitted to mobile devices carried by store managers and displayed in real time on the IRISYS system dashboard. The predictor software also calculates 26 STORES / MAY 2011 and displays how many checkers will be needed in 15 or 30 minutes’ time to meet impending customer demand. Prior to implementing the IRISYS solution, Morrisons’ checkout managers manually estimated how many checkout tills would be required. IRISYS created a tool, called Lane Scheduler, that allows Morrisons to incorporate queue rates into its workforce management program. By putting “the right people in the right place at the right time, the system not only allows us to deliver a streamlined customer experience, but also deliver tangible business benefits,” Jones says. As Precious notes, checkout is the last place a customer visits as she leaves the store, so the impression it makes is extremely important. “Customers satisfied with the speed of checkout not only tend to become loyal customers,” he says, they also “tend to come back more frequently … because they know they can get in and out quickly.” Competitive differentiation A national U.S. supermarket chain now deploying IRISYS Queue Management is using the “one in front” checkout standard, says Precious. “They recognize it provides them with a major competitor differentiator in the market.” That retailer is also installing display monitors in the front end of the store that allow everyone, cashiers and customers alike, to see predicted checkouts required on the screens. That, says Precious, “gives the cashiers ownership of line management, which turns every cashier in the store into a line manager. Because they are all aware of what they should be doing, when or if they see the checkout prediction change, they can quickly react.” By reducing the time that customers spend at the checkouts, Precious says, retailers are able to increase the time those customers spend shopping the stores. “Discretionary spending goes up,” he says. Jones says the system “not only helps us deliver a better shopping experience to our customers, but to function more efficiently as an organization.” StORES “The system not only allows us to deliver a streamlined customer experience, but also deliver tangible business benefits.” — Sylvia Jones, Morrisons Liz Parks is a Union City, N.J.-based writer with extensive experience reporting on retail, pharmacy and technology issues. WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2011

STORES Magazine - May 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Supply Chain
Getting Closer to Customers
Workforce Management
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Rewards
Human Resources
2011 Software Sourcebook Guide
Website Security
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2011