Shining a Light On Going Dark
August 17, 2015 at 5:25 pm
Using The Latest Technology To Ease The Pressures of The Tobacco Display Ban.
The arguments rage on as to whether the tobacco display ban will have the desired effect on smoking levels, but one thing is absolutely certain – it’s here to stay! It’s been so much of a political hot potato in the various markets where it’s been introduced that governments are highly unlikely to carry out a turnaround at this stage.
And that being the case, the real issue for retailers is how to minimise the impact on your business in terms of the added time and effort required to dispense tobacco products. And from a host of anecdotal evidence, this added time and effort is highly noticeable – and highly frustrating.
The growing number of individual brands, multiplied by the number of pack sizes, has led to a mind-boggling level of choice for the consumer – and this poses its own unique problems for retail staff. Selecting the right product/size has become something of a lottery in some outlets, which wastes a huge amount of staff time.
Equally it delivers a less than acceptable service to customers, who are forced to wait in line for their favourite brand, flavour and pack size to appear.
Thankfully, however, there’s a technology solution which makes dispensing tobacco as simple and as transparent as any other non-regulated product. With a fully integrated vending solution, we are experts in helping retailers to adhere to the consumer blackout – while at the same time providing clarity and simplicity to counter or till staff.
With the help of our integrated technology, staff simply hit ‘Tobacco’ on a touchscreen, which brings up all brands, all flavours, all price points and all pack sizes in a simple, easily navigable display. It provides a seamless and speedy experience for both counter staff and customers alike, and minimises unnecessary queuing.
So is this technology expensive? Not at all – as retailers already have the vending machines in place, they simply need to pay an affordable monthly licence fee for software integration.
Besides the major time-saving benefit, there are a number of other key plus points from going down this route. For starters, it minimises shrinkage and pilferage as most dispensing systems are rear-loaded from the back office and embedded into the wall.
Retail staff simply don’t come in contact with tobacco products at any stage of the sales process as a result of this ‘closed loop’ selection and dispensing system.
There’s also a benefit for the consumer, as the right product is dispensed quickly and efficiently – so there’s no waiting in line for retail staff to eventually ‘get lucky’ and dispense the correct pack.
It’s very much ‘the acceptable face of going dark’ in terms of delivering a workable solution for retailers and tobacco customers, while still fully adhering to the display ban.