I’m actually ‘for’ this new system but the over egging of how much “training” is required to use the current system and how amazing the new system will be, is really off-putting.
To quote about the new system: “You click what you’re buying, and scan your card. Done. No training needed.”
I’m sorry, how hard is it to type in the price of something and click “Buy now” on the current system?
People need to be shown how to get to this screen but please, there is no" training" required. Topping up your account couldn’t be easier and whether a person pays for all their items individually or calculates the total makes no difference and is up to them. The current system is fit for purpose so what we need to understand is where the previous restocking burden came from.
To give a bit of history of 2022 and general background info. At the start of 2022, the fridges were mostly empty and there didn’t seem to be any ownership of SnackSpace. I tried asking around but didn’t seem to get too many answers. So I stepped up and took charge of things. From walking around Booker’s, I quickly noticed there were 2 variants for most items. 24 cokes over here costing say £11 and what looked to be 24 identical cokes over there costing £15. The difference was the first lot were price marked and typically came with a profit margin of 35%. My understanding at the time was that SnackSpace was not there to make big profits, it was there to offer better value and convenience to our members. The existing pricing for most items had us making around 20% profit which seemed reasonable to cover any wastage, running costs of the fridges, etc. Our members could see they were getting a great deal because the price we were charging was that much lower than what was written on the item.
The issue came when the more expensive non-price marked goods were bought, because it meant we could end up making a loss on those sales. In Oct, news came of the increasing electricity prices and so to remove the burden of having to check the costs of goods and adjust our prices accordingly, having to print off new labels, while at the same time increasing our profit margins, the decision was made to only buy price-marked goods and simply to sell them using the prices on the items.
At this point, it doesn’t matter where goods go in the fridges, making restocking a trivial task. Thankless, but trivial. Joe, this is a change that I had understood you were fully aware of, yet you wrote “but one benefit would be that we could negate the need for using the label maker to make price stickers.”
If someone brings a guest into the space who wants some snacks or to use some laser materials, they can either bank transfer or give cash to the member they’re with, who will in turn pay for those items using the current system. With everything above said, this makes most of the reasons given so far getting the new system null and void IMHO.
In addition to this, setting up of the new system is going to be a lot of work. I should know because I’ve downloaded the app and started adding items. It will be exactly the same amount of effort as adding all the items to Rossy’s previous POS till system.
Onto my final point, and the reason I’d be ‘for’ the new system - tracking stock & reducing theft (if any). At the point where someone gets to the checkout, the quantity in stock is displayed. If this doesn’t match the quantity in the fridges, then it should start alarm bells ringing in people’s minds. I don’t know if Rossy’s till tracked stock, if it did, then it already had this benefit. It’s easy to forget to pay and having a till present will undoubtedly mitigate that, whether it’s Rossy’s or the proposed one.
If we’re going to put purchase proposals in like this, then we need to “be real” as the Americans say, and be honest, up front and matter of fact about the pros and cons.
I don’t use cash as a payment option but as a director, I need to be mindful of those that do. Notes don’t cause us any burden at all but the small change is a PITA, so maybe there’s a halfway house to be had?
The app has an interface that is more like a shop till than a self-service checkout, as that’s what its designed for and for anyone that’s worked on tills before, they’ll know you usually receive a bit of training before being let loose on them. That is to say, the interface is a bit ugly and will require some familiarisation. Adding photos for each item really helps ease this at the top level but can be quite a time sync setting up the shots, snapping and then cropping each one, and a downside of this is only the first 11 characters of the name are displayed at the category level.
Top level: Left catagory, with photos. Right cat, no photos.
Category level: With photos - only first 11 characters are displayed:
And without photos:
Its worth noting that the app has some damning reviews. From the sounds of things, they went through a phase of slap dash programming, pushed some updates and f’ed things up. And the all singing all dancing 24/7 support might not be what it seems to be on paper judging by these reviews. That said, our throughput of ‘customers’ is very small so of course we’ll manage but my point is that we all find it frustrating when the door system goes down or the DNH printer stops working but off-the-shelf systems are by no means immune to this.
@rjackson, the proposed system cannot be used as you’ve suggested, adding items over the course of a visit and paying at the end. Its a till at the end of the day. If someone else goes to use it before you’ve paid, then all your items will still be there.
Lastly, all of this can be done on a cheap phone that has NFC. This could work well for a 2nd POS elsewhere in the space but I’m on board with, and prefer having an official card reader in SnackSpace.