Essential Grocery Store Equipment: Technology, Hardware, and More

Outfitting your grocery store with the right equipment can be a daunting task. 

When setting up a new store, there’s so much to consider: Even veteran store owners can feel overwhelmed. From the right grocery store checkout equipment to proper storage and backroom timekeeping, operations can be tough to manage.

If you select the right tools, you can watch your efficiency soar! But one misstep and you may invest in the wrong solution, costing your business thousands over time.

In this article, we’ll share the seven pieces of equipment your grocery store needs to operate efficiently and effectively and provide tips on what to look for when comparing options. 

7 Critical Pieces of Grocery Store Equipment 

You want to run your grocery store like a well-oiled machine, delivering a next-level customer experience while protecting your bottom line on the back end. Every piece of grocery store equipment in your store, from refrigeration systems to point of sale (POS) solutions, keeps your store operations humming and your customers happy. However, the upfront costs of all these tools can be daunting.

How can you balance getting the best equipment for your store with your need to stick to a strict budget?

First, you must consider the importance of equipment longevity. Sometimes, investing in a pricier, higher-quality tool upfront can save you cash in the long run, as it will last longer and work more reliably. Reliable equipment withstands the constant wear and tear of heavy use. When you invest in a high-quality piece of equipment, you can avoid disruptive breakdowns that introduce dangerous gaps in operations. 

Related Read: 4 Ways Self-Checkout Saves Grocers Money

For example, a freezer failure or non-functional checkout can hurt sales or consumer trust, ultimately costing you more than you saved by getting that equipment for cheaper upfront.  

You can also boost your store’s efficiency by investing in more innovative, top-of-the-line equipment. Customer-facing functionality like self-checkouts can help accelerate transactions during peaks, and back-of-house tools like high-output deli slicers can speed up production. 

Additionally, clean, modern displays help show shoppers that inventory is fresh and safe. Dated equipment can make your store appear out-of-touch and even unclean. Visually reinforcing your commitment to first-rate merchandising and service keeps customers coming back.

With this in mind, let’s examine seven critical pieces of grocery store equipment you need to keep your store running smoothly.

1. Point of Sale System 

The number one most critical piece of equipment for any grocery store is a strong point of sale system. A modern POS solution helps you streamline your checkout and payment processes while collecting and providing data that enables you to make better decisions for your store.

A top-tier point of sale solution will also integrate with tools for accounting, inventory, scheduling, and loyalty programs, providing a single dashboard you can use to manage every aspect of your business. 

Consider a solution like IT Retail. Our all-in-one POS system features built-in sales reporting, marketing and promotions integration, vendor management, and barcode integrations on top of flexible payment processing and self-checkout management. With the right point of sale system in place, you can manage your store, your employees, and your inventory all in one place. 

2. Barcode Scanners 

Barcode scanners are another essential piece of equipment for modern grocery stores. These tools help cashiers ring up customer orders quickly and efficiently, keeping your lines short even during peak hours. But preventing checkout bottlenecks isn’t the only thing your barcode scanners are good for.

These tools can also help with stocking and inventory. Instead of inputting data manually, you can use a barcode scanner to automatically log each item in your POS database. You can also invest in a scanner scale to help manage priced-by-weight goods efficiently by automatically tying the product SKU to the weighed amount. 

This approach saves customers time, reduces manual data input, and helps customers see how your items are priced, increasing their trust in your store. 

3. Self-Checkout Kiosks 

Self-checkout kiosks are a win-win for your store and your customers. Shoppers appreciate the convenience offered by express self-checkout lanes. Store owners enjoy reduced labor costs and increased checkout lane capacity.

When you implement self-checkout kiosks, you can cut queues during peak hours and reserve your staffed registers for larger, full-cart orders. One vital consideration related to self-checkout, however, is the potential for theft. Implement a self-checkout solution with robust security measures like scales and built-in security doors to minimize loss while maximizing convenience. 

4. Shelving and Displays 

Shelving is critical in any store — especially in a store with thousands of SKUs, like the average grocery store. Investing in adjustable gondola shelving helps you minimize ongoing shelving costs while still giving yourself the flexibility to adjust your store layout and spotlight new products or seasonal displays. 

Related Read: How To Create a Floor Plan for Grocery Stores To Maximize Profits

Engage in solid shelving practices, positioning top-selling products or high-profit-margin goods at eye level. Balance your shelves and take care to leave enough space between shelves for customers and carts to comfortably navigate them without feeling cramped. 

5. Commercial Refrigeration 

Many products in your grocery store must be kept cool or frozen. As a result, you must invest in high-quality commercial refrigeration units. 

Reliable refrigeration helps preserve inventory like dairy products, produce, and meats. Manufacturers, warehouses, and stores must maintain a cold chain between the product’s development and its sale, so proper refrigeration is critical to maintain compliance with health codes. 

Commercial-grade refrigeration also allows you to offer high-quality prepared foods that draw shoppers in and offer higher profit margins than typical grocery store products. Reliable refrigeration and freezer units are critical to avoid spoilage. You may want to invest in generators or backup units to maintain chilled and frozen stock during outages or maintenance periods.

6. Backroom Storage Solutions 

Backrooms keep excess inventory organized off the sales floor and accessible for swift restocking. If you want to optimize these processes, minimize shrinkage due to mislabeled or misplaced products, and increase restocking efficiency, you need to invest in the right storage equipment for your backroom areas.

Mobile shelving units allow you to compartmentalize overstock by department and aisle for easy accessibility. You may also invest in modular racks to adjust shelving and storage and adapt to changing merchandising needs during different seasons or store growth. These spaces also allow you to stage vendor deliveries before shelf placement.

Related Read: 5 Tips To Overcome Common Grocery Store Supply Chain Challenges

As offerings expand, backrooms facilitate rearrangement flexibility and provide supplemental capacity buffers against variability in supply and demand. Aisles with high-velocity consumables can justify greater on-hand levels kept in the backroom without sacrificing salesfloor space for slower goods. 

7. Deli Equipment 

Finally, you need to stock your deli department with the right tools and equipment. Display cases, slicers, and scales are all essential to running a quality, efficient grocery store deli. Deli sections can also offer prepared foods like sandwiches, offering a fresh, convenient alternative to restaurants or take-out, which customers will appreciate. 

When you invest in the right tools, you can offer these convenient options while optimizing operations. Implement high-output slicers to preportion sliced meats and cheeses quickly and process custom orders fast enough to keep lines moving. Digital scales and custom label printers help keep your priced-by-weight products accurate while offering customers additional transparency into your pricing. 

Finding the Right Grocery Store Equipment 

Choosing the right equipment for your grocery store is critical to your store’s long-term success. Though it may be tempting to pick the lowest-priced items in each category, remember that commercial-grade solutions with robust integrations and modern technology can pay dividends in the future in the form of stronger performance, improved efficiency, and better customer experiences. 

When selecting your equipment, think about the total lifecycle cost and opportunity of the solution rather than the upfront sticker price. Remember that high-quality equipment is the cornerstone of your store’s success. One of the most critical tools for your store? A robust point of sale solution. 

IT Retail offers an all-in-one POS solution designed for grocery stores and markets. Our system integrates with tools like barcode scanners, deli scales, custom label printers, and self-checkout kiosks to streamline your operations and simplify inventory management. 

Schedule a free software demo with IT Retail today to experience an all-in-one grocery management solution merging robust POS capabilities with back office analytics, advanced inventory management, and more.