Ft - Jac Roper - Service Centre

Are you delivering the goods?

It started with an online discussion on the various pros and cons of home deliveries and whether to go with Snappy Shopper, Jisp or Appy Shop. Jisp is considered cheap at 3.5%, whereas Appy is 7.5%. One retailer decided on Snappy Shopper but found it difficult to justify the additional staffing cost for deliveries. He said: “We’ve just partnered with Deliveroo. Although the charges are much higher we don’t have the hassle of the delivery which is the biggest chunk of the problem. Also the platforms (delivery etc) have a greater scope with their food delivery network so we’re getting more ordered than we had with Snappy.”

Then I got an email from Chris Evans, business development (UK) for CBE, which claims market leadership in epos in Ireland and the UK. He said: “One of our customers has developed something more complete, thought it may be of interest. Details at www.parkfoot.net.”

As one might expect from David Charman’s West Malling-based multi award-winning Parkfoot Garage, his online Spar store is something else. Launched in February 2021, to help counter the pandemic, the online store is easy to use. Customers can click and collect or order a next-day delivery. As MD David Charman says: “Our main aim has always been to provide the best service and the widest range of products within a local convenience store. You may have ordered your Christmas turkey and meat from us before? Or flowers on a special occasion? Now you can shop exactly as if you were in the store yourself – all the same products, all the same prices and pick them up in your chosen slot or have them delivered within a four-mile radius for just £3.”

(That’s as good as my local Sainsbury’s.)

And, for those who like/understand technical speak, Chris Evans says: “Parkfoot uses the full CBE solution including live stock control. CBE developed an open integration to enable connection between our WinRetail back-office software and any e-commerce platform. Within WinRetail individual products can be tagged for e-commerce, allowing these items to be priced differently online than in-store.” (Although you will note Parkfoot charges the same online as in-store.)

“Every few minutes the current stock position of the tagged items is sent to the e-commerce platform to ensure the website reflects in-store availability. Online purchases are immediately sent to the store for picking. Once finalised, these sales update the live stock position on the CBE WinRetail back office software.

“Online sales are reported via a unique till number allowing for consolidated or separated reporting. This data flows through to the CBE Cash Office for export to financial accounts, completing a full end-to-end solution.”

Are you losing much to drive-offs?

We’ve all seen the unbelievable footage of wheelie bins, and worse, being filled with petrol and simply carted away.

I found the following on the Facebook site labelled UK Cop Humour: “Given we’re in tough financial times, we’ve decided to offer some unsolicited financial tips… diesel: £1.68 per litre; cost to fill an average tank: £90; drive off without paying and possibly receive a court fine six weeks later: £50. Total saving: £40. Follow us for more savvy money saving advice!” And then it adds: “Claiming that you read this on Facebook probably won’t stand up in court.”

This was posted before Chancellor Rishi Sunak lopped 5ppl off of petrol in his Spring Statement but even so, fuel is liquid gold these days.

According to the British Oil Security Syndicate, there has been a 215% increase in reports of drive-offs and no means of payment incidents for the first week of March, compared with the first week of December. This statistic was picked up by a Saturday Times journalist who said: “You’d think garage forecourts would be the last place people would do a runner given all the cameras.”

Then she speculated that maybe people recalled Devon and Cornwall police suggesting in 2015 it wasn’t really a crime and they would not investigate unless there was “obvious proof of criminal intent”. Then she spoils her point by asking why all forecourts don’t have pay-at-pump systems and then answering that by saying: “Well it’s obvious. How then would they upsell you over-priced crisps, Ginsters pasties, dying carnations and barbecue charcoal in their strip-lit ‘mini-marts’?”

Then she concludes: “They make more on selling coffee than on 40 litres of petrol. Maybe the odd ‘bilker’ is a small price to pay if the majority go large at the sausage roll rack.”

Some old stereotypes on the mixing of food, fuel and flowers die very hard.

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