One of the side-effects of Covid-19 has been a massive acceleration of the uptake of technology by convenience retailers – and that could turn out to be the biggest long-term upside of the pandemic.
The last six months have been horrendous on a whole array of fronts – but there have been some silver linings for local retailers among the many clouds. One of those silver linings has been a massive spike in the adoption of retail tech in the convenience channel.
Much of this has been driven by home delivery which initially started out as a mercy dash for local retailers desperate to take care of their local communities, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable, but which has bloomed into a fully-fledged megatrend.
Around two-thirds of convenience retailers now offer home delivery of some sort, according to the Association of Convenience Stores, a massive hike on pre-pandemic levels.
That shift has fuelled the proliferation of home delivery solutions now available to retailers, apps like Snappy Shopper and Jisp – but it has also encouraged retailers to take more of an active interest in all sorts of tech that could help them run better, more efficient, less wasteful and, ultimately, more profitable stores.
We look at some of the latest tech news and options…
The tech daddy, home delivery has been largely responsible for the tech wave we’re currently seeing. Dundee-based home delivery app Snappy Shopper has been making the news left, right and centre as its easy-to-use, efficient app has been adopted by hundreds upon hundreds of stores right across the UK.
Jisp is another solution that is set to make increasingly big waves. An ‘all-in-one’ app that includes home delivery, click & collect and scan & go functionality, Jisp has formed a clever partnership with the NFRN which means that it has gained instant access to tens of thousands of NFRN member stores and it’s certainly one to keep an eye one. You can read our full software review of Jisp on page 28.
The Epos market, while hardly new, has seen a burst of life over the last six months as many retailers have chosen to take a fresh look at the solution they use and consider whether it truly meets their purposes.
Home-grown provider MHouse Solutions, based in Motherwell, has had a stellar year. It’s MPos solution is now in over 700 stores in Scotland, including Anand Cheema’s new Spar store in Falkirk.
MHouse’s flexible approach when it comes to integrating with third-party software providers is relatively rare in the sector – most Epos companies won’t touch a third party solution and won’t grant access to their own systems for it – so as more retailers try out new tech solutions and apps, a flexible approach to integration could well pay dividends for MHouse.
Another Epos company making big progress in Scotland is Northern Ireland’s Henderson Technology, an offshoot of the Henderson Group, which manages the Spar brand in Northern Ireland. Its EDGEPos platform was built from the ground up off the back of its experience running stores in the province.
The company was recently named as an approved Epos supplier for Unitas Wholesaler’s customers and the company has unveiled a stream of new installations in Scotland, most recently at JET Abbotsinch in Renfrew.
Too Good To Go is an interesting app that’s gaining plenty of traction in Scotland with a number of retailers, including new SGF President Dan Brown of Pinkie Farm Convenience Store in Musselburgh making use of it.
The app that helps retailers sell their surplus food directly to 2.9 million consumers and is already helping 20,000 convenience stores across 14 countries sell their daily surplus food so it doesn’t go to waste.
Retailers simply make up ‘magic bags’ of stock that’s about to be thrown out and users of the app can buy the bags at discount prices. The deal minimises food waste, gives shoppers some great deals and lets retailers secure some revenue on products that would otherwise go in the bin.
It’s a great solution for short-coded categories like fresh, chilled and food-to-go.
PayPoint has had a very busy six months as it continues its drive to add more value for retailers under lockdown. The latest deal the company has done sees it partner exclusively with NeoSurf for eVoucher sales.
NeoSurf provide pincodes for use across 20,000 different websites and the new agreement means consumers can access Neosurf vouchers from a larger retail network.
The partnership means that members of the public will be able to purchase Neosurf pre-paid pincodes at over 27,000 PayPoint retailers across the UK, making them more accessible to a greater number of people. Consumers simply exchange cash in-store for a Neosurf eVoucher, which is printed with a unique pincode to purchase online services.
Additionally, cash can also be used to top-up balances on Neosurf e-wallets and prepaid cards.