Pioneer organic supermarket Planet Organic first opened its doors in London in 1995. Well-received from the outset, it now has thriving mini-supermarkets in four of the capital’s more affluent neighbourhoods, with more in the pipeline. An online business delivering nationwide has proved a valuable extra channel to market and has taken the concept to a wider audience.
Today, Planet Organic is the UK’s largest, fully-certified, organic supermarket. In addition to stocking a huge range of all-organic ingredients, prepared and fresh foods, it sells complementary products for health & well-being, natural beauty and mother & baby care.
In 2008, when Planet Organic was planning its strategy for the coming years and its next tranche of store openings, it realised that it lacked confidence in the EPoS hardware and software it had in place. Explains Planet Organic’s Finance & IT Director, Eric Adatia: “We recognised that our till system was old technology. Amongst other lacks, it was slow and didn’t support Chip & PIN. It wasn’t meeting the functional needs of the business.
“We also had systems issues elsewhere so we made the decision to invest in IT across the board and have a complete systems refresh. By creating a trading platform to support us for the next few years, we could then confidently open new stores knowing we had the right and most up-to-date system in place,” continues Adatia.
Planet Organic required both head-office and store-based systems, covering supply chain – including buying, merchandising and reporting – invoice matching and accounting, plus maximum functionality at point-of-sale. And, to build a process backbone into a growing business, it needed programs to support human resources, time & attendance and payroll.
Planet Organic identified providers that could meet most if not all of its requirements. Observes Eric Adatia: “Not many suppliers offered the mix of functionality that we wanted, and were cost-effective. We needed a true supermarket system but with support for both purchased goods and our small café cum ‘food to go’ area. Plus we had to have good shelf-edge descriptions and a decent interface to our weighing systems.”
VoiteQ, a developer and supplier of integrated retail solutions in the supermarket and allied retail sectors, eventually won the business. Once Planet Organic’s front-office requirements had been specified, VoiteQ turned to one of its long-term hardware partners, J2 Retail Systems, and recommended J2’s PC-based J2 580 touchscreen tills as the ideal point-of-sale technology.
An order was placed for J2 580s, and each of the Planet Organic stores now has these installed. Each till has also been equipped with a secondary screen, a J2 100, to display product images and promotional messages to customers as they wait to check out.
Planet Organic is very satisfied with the solution provided by VoiteQ. In addition to all the required front-of-house functionality covering display, merchandising and point-of-sale, VoiteQ has the head office elements, supply chain support, an interface to accounts and the strong suite of reporting tools that the business needs. “VoiteQ software provides all the functionality we need to grow the business, and helps me to keep control,” says Eric Adatia.
He is similarly enthusiastic about the hardware part of the VoiteQ-supplied solution. “The J2 580 touchscreens are ergonomic and look much better than the tills we had before. They’ve been very reliable and are certainly easier for our cashiers to use. They free up valuable counter space by not having keyboards. We find the J2 100s’ multimedia customer displays effective too.”
Other positive attributes of the J2 580s include an integrated card swipe for Chip & PIN processing, and flexible mounting options as a result of the unit’s ‘all in the head’ technology. “We have some units free-standing and use pole-mounting on others. These space-saving options are practical and an attraction of the J2s.”
Now, as the business considers opening additional stores, it can do so confident that it has a software and hardware platform that can grow with the business.
• VoiteQ software provides the front-office and back-office functions that this growing business needs, supported by strong reporting
• J2 580 touchscreen EPoS units are space-efficient, thanks to flexible mounting options
• The cashiers find them ergonomic and easy to use
• Secondary screens, J2 100s, boost business by displaying product images and promotional messages at the point-of-sale
• Chip & PIN card processing comes as an integrated part of the J2 580s
• VoiteQ installation and support services provide Planet Organic with peace of mind
Contact: Moray Boyd
Tel: 01925 854 841