When Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. unveiled a new grocery concept last spring, it set out to break the mold. Laying out a new Myrtle Beach, S.C., store in a bold new way, its aim was to simplify and speed up grocery shopping.
That meant regrouping products to aid “intuitive shopping,” creating meal solutions centers and offering curb-side meal pickup. And it also translated to leaping ahead to a new generation self-service checkout solution.
With a new four-station, NCR SelfServ™ Checkout 3+ bag system installed, the store is giving customers the very latest technology to personally scan, bag and pay for purchases. Five months after the store opened, NCR SelfServ Checkout is living up to its name.
“So far it looks like about 25 percent of all purchases are going through NCR SelfServ Checkout,” says Michael Hawkins, the company’s IS retail operations manager. “That’s way over the usage we experienced with older self-service systems that we’ve taken out of some of our other stores.”
With NCR SelfServ Checkout, Piggly Wiggly has a system that more consistently yields true self-service. Incorporating highly refined technology, NCR SelfServ Checkout is producing far fewer interrupted transactions than previous Piggly Wiggly self-checkout systems that a competing vendor had installed, Hawkins says. Time-consuming clerk interventions are down substantially, and shopper usage is going up as transaction glitches go down.
NCR SelfServ Checkout also is proving easier to manage, Hawkins says. Seamlessly integrated into Piggly Wiggly’s IBM front-end system, it easily handles variables ranging from multiple electronic payment types to store promotional programs to loyalty card discounts.
“A longstanding challenge posed by self-checkout is handling front-end programming that is constantly changing,” he says. “The NCR system is giving us great flexibility in that regard.”
Other NCR SelfServ Checkout features contribute to more streamlined checkout and speedier maintenance. Hawkins says. The system automatically alerts clerks when age verification is needed for alcohol and tobacco purchases. Hand-held devices allow manual system overrides. System hardware is easily accessible through front panels, and coins and receipt paper can be quickly added.
Time will tell if Piggly Wiggly’s revolutionary shopping concept works, but it’s already clear that at least the selfservice checkout component is producing results. “Our experience with NCR SelfServ Checkout has been highly favorable,” Hawkins says. “We plan to install it in another store early next year, and to possibly roll it out in some more of our 105 stores.