A few years ago IT Retail went on a quest to develop an affordable tablet solution for grocery stores. Being in the POS grocery space for the last 24 years has taught us that grocery stores have very unique needs, and we wanted to use our knowledge to develop a solution for the small grocer. So the quest began; we needed a tablet that was spillproof, grocery hardened, and one that could handle any number of grocery peripherals. So tablet after the tablet was sent to our office, we would download our software, and begin to test. When we thought we found a good one, we would place it in a grocery store for further testing to see how durable it was. Sadly, after going through numerous tablets and seeing issue after issue firsthand, we realized a tablet would never meet the needs of a grocery store. The three main issues were: they didn’t spillproof, they weren’t grocery hardened, and couldn’t handle the grocery peripheral space. Tablet POS for your Grocery Store? Not the Best Idea.
First of all, the touchscreen for your grocery POS needs to be spillproof! When checking out a customer your fingers get wet just by grabbing lettuce and placing it on a scanner/scale. Have you ever tried using an iPad or iPhone with wet fingers? It won’t respond or will activate the wrong button. Your cashier needs to stop, dry their hands and then continue to check out the customer, resulting in longer wait times for the customers.
Second, tablets are not grocery hardened; they are developed for a casual user, not for the 10-hour shifts 7 days a week that most stores run. A small grocery store averages around 400 customers a day, and a consumer-focused piece of hardware is simply not built to withstand this kind of extended use.
Lastly, today you are hard-pressed to find a tablet with even one USB port (trust us, we’ve looked.) People are trying to jury-rig systems with adapters, USB hubs, and all sorts of less than ideal solutions. At the end of the day, you want to be confident that your scanner/scale and PIN pad have a secure connection to the grocery point of sale. There’s nothing worse than fiddling with peripherals while a customer waits impatiently (trust us on this one, too.)
The job of a Grocery POS is to make the checkout process seamless. There shouldn’t be crashes and communication loss between the POS and its peripherals. If you are checking out 400 customers a day your environment needs to be durable. There is a saying that goes, “The poor man pays twice.” This holds especially true in the grocery POS world! Investing in trusted, reliable hardware ensures that your customers will be happy and that your grocery POS system will hold up to hard use for years to come.