Unicorn Grocery improves business reporting and processes

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Unicorn Grocery is one of the most famous co-operative wholesome food stores in the UK and it’s been my privilege to work with the team for over 16 years as GS Systems’ specialist retail project manager.

I’ve been responsible for looking after the store’s EPOS requirements since it opened in the nineties, during which time I’ve seen the business grow from a turnover of £3,500 to a very impressive £3.5m.

Understand the value of a good EPOS solution

It has won wide critical acclaim too – including picking up awards such as the Observer Food Monthly’s Best Independent Shop and Radio 4 Food Programme’s Best Local Food Retailer.

Our latest project involved installing a new EPOS solution when the co-operative wanted to improve its business reporting and many operational processes within the business.

From a project management perspective, it’s always a delight to work with the entire Unicorn Grocery team. They are always extremely supportive and understand the value of a good EPOS solution.

Ticked all the right boxes

The GS team recommended an EPOS solution based around the Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS) with new Toshiba touchscreen and integrated chip and pin terminals as this combination ticked all the right boxes for them.

Amongst the numerous demands on the new solution, three stood out.

  1. It would help them produce comprehensive picking lists, filtered by a variety of different criteria. This would improve the efficiency of how they stock the shelves.
  2. An integrated chip and pin solution would cut out the mistakes caused by the manual entry of card details.
  3. They also wanted to generate and print out shelf edge labels and barcodes directly from the RMS database. This would eliminate duplication, ensure greater accuracy and save valuable staff time.

One of my primary roles was to show they could achieve all of the above with the solution and also access unprecedented levels of reporting and business intelligence through the RMS reports module.

As with anything new, we need to ensure confidence is high right from the start

This is process is very much based around show not tell. I ran several training sessions to show them how it all worked and uploaded an RMS package so they could familiarise themselves with the software while we built and tested the system.

Loving the flexibility 

As with anything new, we need to ensure confidence is high right from the start.

Prior to installation we configured the Toshiba A20 terminals with the software solutions to drive weighing scales, barcode scanners, drawers, printers, customer displays and Verifone chip and pin terminals before swapping the old with the new.

Online ordering 

From the feedback I am getting, the Unicorn team are loving the flexibility the new EPOS solution has given them, especially in relation to pricing and reporting.

We’re already looking at future plans, including moving the SQL database to a dedicated SQL server for ease of use and possibly linking RMS to the Unicorn Grocery website to generate additional revenue streams via online ordering.

That’s all to come – in the meantime the Unicorn Grocery team are enjoying the benefits of the new solution with better operational practices, more detailed reports and a quicker shopping experience for its customers.



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