Centralized control of pricing -- from the back door to the front end -- is the brass ring for many retailers when it comes to pricing accuracy.
ingent procedures to ensure that product prices are right throughout the store.
Among the measures being implemented:
In-Store Printing: Taking ownership of shelf label and sign printing eliminates the need for handwritten signs, which are error-prone and labor-intensive. When linked with the point-of-sale system data base, on-site printing equipment also helps ensure that promotional materials feature prices consistent with what is scanned at the front end.
Electronic Shelf Labels: Electronic labels allow instantaneous updating of prices and precise coordination with POS scanning files. Integrating the labels with an in-store printing program guarantees consistency between shelf edge, printed materials and front-end scanners.
Scanning Coordinators: Retailers are now assigning scan coordinators to monitor direct-store-delivery items to spot incorrectly priced product as well as conduct price verification checks in the store aisles.
Automated Direct Store Delivery: The use of handheld computers to scan incoming products is helping flag pricing irregularities -- items whose prices don't match the data in the store's scanner files -- before product even enters the store.
Point-of-Sale Upgrade: Installing cashier-friendly, ergonomically enhanced POS systems results in improved "for-scan" ratios, thus greatly reducing the frequency of manually entered items at the keyboard, a source of frequent errors.
Gatekeeper Policies: To ensure "not-on-file" items do not lead to pricing errors, or slow the checklane, buyers are instructed not to purchase any product lacking a Universal Product Code. Manufacturers, for their part, are not allowed to ship an item to a store until a valid UPC code is entered into the system and it scans accurately.