Budgens retailer Sid Sidhu says investment in an automatic facing up system at his Budgens store is well worth the expense.

Sid Sidhu

In my last column I explained I was about to re-merchandise my store using push-feed technology from Pos Tuning. The work is now almost finished bar a few final tweaks.

In a nutshell, the technology slowly feeds stock to the front of the shelves in the correct position, ensuring the store looks immaculately merchandised at all times. It also frees staff up from the laborious task of facing up.

In a bid to keep costs in check, we had to think intelligently about which categories would give us the biggest wins: those offering higher margins; most commonly shopped; and/or difficult for staff to merchandise. As a result we chose to do the whole red wine category, but only the top white wine shelf, which is harder to reach and includes the more expensive wines and Champagnes. It means that expensive Champagnes not only always look their best, but there’s less risk of breakages if shoppers or staff aren’t having to reach up and fish about for bottles.

We also had the system fitted across the health and beauty category, which is full of fiddly small packs which can be a pain to face up and are more prone to being stolen. The new system claims to result in 95% fewer stolen goods, as it’s harder to sweep an arm load of products into a bag or pocket.

Chilled and frozen ready meal categories, soft drinks and the top shelf of our boxed chocolate display have also been included.

The whole store looks really professional and I’m certainly happy with the results so far. Yes, it comes at a cost, but it’s more than worth paying, especially in the current market when shoppers expect such high standards.