Titanic Belfast One

Source: Henderson Technology

Cashiers are still available if a customer requires cigarettes, lottery and PayPoint transactions

Northern Irish Spar group 77 Retail has introduced a fully self-service till area at its Spar Titanic Quarter store in Belfast.

It has enabled the six-store Henderson-supplied operator to use manpower more effectively, reduce queuing time, and offer customers a “frictionless” shopping experience, it said.

Cashiers, however, are still available if a customer requires cigarettes, lottery or PayPoint transactions. There is also an employee at hand to help customers and check IDs for age-restricted sales in a bid to maintain a “personal touch”.

Henderson Technology has supplied the self-checkouts.

“Before, we would have had five employees manning the tills, whereas we now have one person, which is a big benefit,” said 77 Retail joint director Andy Davis.

“This has enabled our staff to focus on different areas in the business and has eliminated the need for them to stay behind to get caught up on other tasks, so they are much happier with this new concept.”

The retailer said around 80% of self-service transactions were paid by card, smartphones or smart watches, rather than cash, helping to reduce in-store queues “dramatically”.

It added that 95% of all transactions were now going through self-service. “The only times that a cashier must serve a customer is for PayPoint transactions, or if a particular customer really does not want to use self-service, which is extremely rare in this store,” Davis added.

The move to introduce the new retail concept was in response to the store being hit hard by the pandemic due to its “heavy reliance” on office workers, college students, and tourists.

The retailer said, however, the backdrop in sales gave it the opportunity to rethink the store concept and how it could look post-pandemic. The store started refurbishment in late 2021.

The refurb has also seen it implement a new store layout with a more “convenient grocery flow” that leads to its hot food ‘Green’s Deli’ area.

77 Retail has been trading with Henderson for five years. Its sixth store, Spar Coagh in Cookstown, opened in 2021, which became the 300th Spar store to open in Northern Ireland.