Growing demand in the retail and convenience store markets is opening the door for ISVs. As today’s consumers seek more store offerings of fresh, locally grown or healthy choices served hot or cold, c-stores and grocery outlets are looking to solution providers that can deliver solutions to help manage and track inventories of food service goods, ensuring they are fresh and ready to meet growing demand.
Smart, highly customizable and easy-to-deploy labeling and printing technology that correctly captures SKUs and pricing at the POS are essential to success with fresh food service in retail. These solutions can help boost profits for store owners and customer satisfaction with quick and accurate checkout.
New Trends Call for Mobile Flexibility
Between the high margins and major opportunities for incremental growth, food service is currently one of the hottest product categories in convenience retailing. Prepared food now makes up the largest percentage of in-store sales at a staggering 10.87 percent, and marking it for freshness and readying it for POS checkout, is introducing new challenges for retailers.
There are several important factors that are reshaping food service in convenience and retail and driving the adoption of safe and effective labeling:
- Agility in food service. Retailers are always looking for ways to improve flexibility and speed when featuring daily food service specials and promotions. On-demand label printing can allow them to place the most accurate labels on items quickly without the hassle and expense of ordering custom labels. This also allows for producing labels with variable freshness dates to indicate “sell-by” and “use-by” dates.
- Higher consumer expectations. Retailers know that delivering a better customer experience is critical to increasing revenue. Clear labeling of all ingredients addresses consumer concerns about allergens, conscious healthy eating choices, desire for gluten-free products and other dietary demands. Thus, stores must provide thorough, transparent labeling of all ingredients.
- Maximized employee efficiency. Retailers must use opportunities to improve employee efficiency. For example, sales associates like to automatically scan and print accurate shelf labels, which is much quicker than producing 8” x 11” laser sheets of shelf labels in the back office and then brought to the store floor. Stand-alone printing solutions with PLU or UPC files that reside in the printer, connected to barcode scanners, with seamless updating via cloud-based apps are changing the game. These also allow employees to remain on the sales floor to help customers while completing other store tasks.
- Source to store inventory tracking. From the warehouse, across the supply chain to delivery at the store, it’s critical to track and label inventory correctly to ensure freshness and quality. Once food service items arrive in the grocery or convenience store, they must be packaged and identified at the POS. This allows cashiers to quickly and easily scan the correct items at check-out, ensuring proper price capture and item sales counts for inventory reconciliation.
ISV Solutions Answer the Call with Effective Mobile Printing
ISVs in the retail industry can support their end customers most effectively when they pair their software solutions with the latest generation of mobile label and receipt printers. When evaluating mobile printing devices to best complement store software, ISVs need to consider:
- Interoperability across major platforms and operating systems
- Versatility to print a wide variety of receipts, labels and other essential documents
- Ease of use, intuitive operation, and navigation
- Power and connectivity options (Bluetooth, MFi, Wi-Fi)
- Extended battery life
- Compact size, proven reliability, and ruggedness
Handheld mobile printers are retail-ready for the labeling of fresh foods in retail. They’re perfect for a wide range of in-store retail printing and labeling needs including:
- Product labels and tags
- Shelf-edge labels and tags
- Mobile POS
- Queue-busting receipts
- Returns labeling
- Proof of purchase labeling
- Custom labels (paint, materials, and fabrics)
- Online order/in-store pickup labeling
- Inventory and price display compliance
- Standalone labeling
The Value in Partnerships
ISVs looking to enhance their retail solutions with mobile print technologies will want to work with a quality partner that offers a robust partnership program. A partner offering a wide array of engineering, pricing and support options can help ISVs thrive with a top portfolio of mobile products and services. Partner programs that offer services such as custom product configurations, solution integration, engineering software support, and marketing program support for increased visibility can also benefit partner relationships.
As the retail world continues to change, ISVs and other technology solution providers can leverage new opportunities by enhancing their core offerings with partnerships that bring the benefits of mobile printing to stores. With the latest mobile IT solutions to streamline retail complexities, both retailers and their customers will win. As a result, customer satisfaction and loyalty will surge, along with revenues and profits.