Universities

Henderson Technology expands to universities with The Store at University of Essex Students’ Union installing EDGEPoS – Retail Times

Henderson Technology, the leading EPOS provider, is supplying its EDGEPoS system to Essex University Students’ Union ‘The Store’.

The University of Essex is a campus university based near the town of Colchester. The on-site convenience is called ‘The Store’ and opened in 1970. It is run by the University of Essex Students’ Union.

The University itself has a long history of welcoming students from around the world, and the convenience store reflects this international atmosphere by offering shoppers a wide range of amenities, global brands and healthy choices alongside more conventional student products. But with more local students attending college, the store now caters more to those customers today.

With over a hundred people working in the store and its niche clientele, the store is full of products not normally seen in a typical convenience store.

The 150m² store also has between 2,000 and 3,000 employees who use it with guest speakers visiting during lunch breaks and teatime. Foreigners come and use the store from local towns, especially outside school times, and often come to walk their dogs and use the store. Many conferences are held on campus and delegates are dependent on the store, especially if they are staying in campus accommodation.

Michael Bamford, the store’s retail manager, said: “It’s an interesting dynamic as we have different customers on different days of the week. Monday and Tuesday are by far our busiest days, but Wednesday is the university’s “Sports Day”. We therefore need to offer specific offers to attract members of sports teams after their matches.

“On weekends we have about 50% exchange compared to weekdays, and that is made up of our international students. We sell a lot more alcohol on the weekends and a lot less take-out food. example, on a Monday we sell about eight hundred sandwiches, while on a Saturday we sell about two hundred,” he said.

EDGEPoS was installed in August 2022, with five tills – two tills served by cashiers and cards; and three card-only self-service checkouts. “The reason we have the three self-service checkouts is that we are extremely busy throughout the day, especially the first days of the week during school terms. We needed a way to quickly get customers in and out of the store. Therefore, instead of the five staff we had at checkouts, I have now reduced that number to three peak staff – two serving and one assistant at the three self-service checkouts,” Bamford said.

“I can’t say enough about self-checkouts; they have been brilliant for us. They speed up the flow of customers to the store and significantly reduce waiting times; but they also freed up my staff to stock the shelves and help customers in other areas of the store. It saves us so much time.

EDGEPoS is also integrated into their Electronic Shelf Edge Labels (ESEL). It saved hours of store employees and worked brilliantly with respect to the customer. “Customers trust ESELs, and we don’t have wrong prices in the store because of them. They work well and having everything live is extremely helpful.

“We felt it was important to invest in our store to grow our business. We chose EDGEPoS because it’s the right thing to do for the future of our business. We are not only looking at what will happen over the next six months, but we are also looking at the next three to five years and I would always advise anyone to invest when you have the money to do so,” added Bamford.

EDGEPoS is also fully integrated with its Navarra Cigarette Gantry which automatically dispenses a pack of cigarettes. This has reduced waste and shrinkage in the store.

Darren Nickels, Director of Retail Technology Operations at Henderson Technology, said: “Retail is a fast-paced business, and it’s great to see how the University of Essex Students’ Union recognized the impact of innovative technologies. We have provided them with a forward-thinking solution that will allow their business to maintain its competitive edge and increase its profitability.

“We are seeing a definite shift in the attitude of universities over the past 12 months, with an increasing emphasis on retail technology, ease of service, ESELs and self-checkouts. EDGEPoS is an EPOS software solution that is particularly flexible and can support businesses from one to fifty lanes. The system meets all business needs, while carefully addressing the key areas of safety, operational efficiency and business development within a store,” he added.

Henderson Technology has installed its EDGEPoS EPOS system in convenience stores at three university sites – Queen’s University Belfast, University of Ulster – Coleraine Campus and University of Essex Students’ Union.

The company provides the award-winning global EPOS EDGEPoS software system, built by retailers for retailers.