MORRISVILLE, Pa. -- Following tests of several multimedia features in select checkout lanes, Shop 'N Bag here has fully installed its front end with a new personal computer-based system.
The open architecture point-of-sale system, whose dual computer monitors display color graphics, full-motion video and running customer totals, also uses voice technology and customer receipt sorting by product category.
Various point-of-sale features and applications have been activated at different times during a testing period, said Jeff Shprintz, owner. He noted that since the entire front end went on line with the new system last month, Shop 'N Bag will now turn its attention toward enhancing frequent shopper initiatives.
"I can literally have my store manager appear [on the computer screen] at the end of an order saying, 'Thank you very much for shopping with us,' " Shprintz said, citing one way to use the point-of-sale multimedia capabilities. "I expect down the road to be able to say, 'Thank you very much, Mrs. Jones, for shopping with us.' "
Such custom features, coupled with the Extra Savings Plan frequent shopper program, will be used to build customer loyalty, he said. The systems are designed to augment cashier interaction with shoppers, not replace it.
"I want technology to enhance things," he said. "I don't want to lose the contact of my employees with my customers."
The full-store installation of the new point-of-sale system, called Experience, from Stores Automated Systems, Bristol, Pa., will allow the Shop 'N Bag to integrate its frequent shopper program more easily with the data base used at the independent's three other stores.
The open architecture of the system, which uses industry standard hardware, affords greater degrees of flexibility to massage data and customize reports, Sphrintz said. "I can use all my Windows technology and take information [from all stores] to create one log of who my customers are and where they are coming from without having to go to an outside company" for such marketing services.
Armed with such data, the company can better analyze category movement and sales performance and develop targeted marketing campaigns to increase transaction size, frequency of visits and recapture shoppers lost to the competition.
"I'll be able to sort the information and do comparisons from store to store and target the individual marketplace," he explained. "If I see some departments are not selling the same, I can send mailers to customers and find out why.
"Or, if I lose a good customer, something must be wrong and I can find out: Was he or she treated badly at the store? Has the quality of the apples gone down?"
Shprintz said the diverse marketing and media functions of the new point-of-sale system allow him to be creative, but any new initiatives must maintain customer service as a top priority.
"The only requirement I have is to be sure we don't have anything that slows down the front-end system," he said. "Obviously, if you do video animation, for example, how long you have that person talking to the customer is a factor, because you don't want to slow down the line."
Two features shoppers especially value are the system's ability to display a running total and print a receipt that sorts items by product category, regardless of the sequence in which they were scanned. "It can put all the produce together, all the groceries together, even add in graphics for promotions and community messages" printed on the register tape.