News

Self-service Extending Beyond the Pumps at C-Stores

Americans have long sought convenience leading to the boom in convenience stores. Recognizing this driver, C-stores have expanded their offerings beyond fuel, drinks, and candy to meals, produce, pastries, and finer coffees. Customers are voting with their wallets that they desire more from a convenience stop, but operators started recognizing a wall to their growth.

While pay-at-the-pump offers customers self-checkout outside the store, inside the stores traditional checkout counters are facing challenges:

     • Rising labor costs
     • Difficulty finding trusted labor to service point-of-sale registers
     • Customers impatient to wait in line to pay, abandon in-store, high margin purchases

Progressive C-store operators have begun a migration to the well-proven technology of self-checkout to address these challenges. Self-checkout has proven itself in the grocery industry and within their own industry at the pumps. Now, by integrating self-checkout with the pumps and their prepared food ordering kiosks, C-stores can service customers efficiently and seamlessly with one device. Customers, who not only want convenience, but also independence, love the choice. Some customers also like to minimize human interactions during the pandemic, so self-checkout satisfies that priority as well.

NCR, among other solution providers, have designed lower profile self-checkout solutions to fit very well into the limited space of a convenience store. They are also among the first to integrate to most credit networks including many major oil companies. This allows for true self-checkout integration.

Macro Integration Services has installed thousands of lanes of self-checkout over the years in the grocery space. Now, complimented by a partnership with NCR, Macro can provide and deploy a complete offering to C-stores. This includes POS self-checkout hardware and software interfaced to the pumps, and most credit networks, including several major-oil branded. Macro also provides surveillance, digital signage, food service peripherals (KVS, drive-thru, etc.) and more. Let’s have a conversation to discuss your store automation needs.

Macro Eyes Growth in Self-Checkout Market

On Monday, November 9th, Macro Integration Services announced the renewal of its partnership with NCR and entry into the Convenience and Fuel Retailing (CFR) market.  Macro is authorized to sell the entire line of NCR hardware products but will focus on the fuel and convenience space. Macro President, Bart Collins remarked, "We see a tremendous opportunity, specifically in self-checkout, in the fuel retail space." The convenience market represents 35% of the bricks-and-mortar retail tracked by Nielsen in the US, per a recent industry study by the National Association of Convenience stores (NACS). Convenience self-checkout is a known labor savings. Typically, a store can operate up to 4 SCO units with one store associate. Keeping lines moving is a real benefit for a positive customer experience. Configured with specific options the NCR SCO units can accept multiple payment types. All of this adds up to a significant improvement to the in-store experience, increase efficiency and sales. Collins further commented, "We believe that Macro's retail experience and legendary customer focus, coupled with an industry-leading solution from NCR, will enable us to deliver real value to the market." Macro is making significant investment in skills and resources to support the move into the market. About Macro Macro Integration Services has been solving complex problems for exceptional companies for 2 decades. We are a trusted advisor to our customers and a knowledgeable advocate for our partners. We pride ourselves on putting the needs of our customers first. As a result, our solutions are built from custom requirements and not an inflexible process. At Macro, that is what we specialize in – meeting your exact needs. Read about About NCR Here

The “New Normal” for Consumer Facing Businesses

No matter what we do and where we are, all we hear these days is about the new normal. I would argue we heard about it before this year’s pandemic, but COVID-19 has certainly brought significant changes to how we serve our customers’ expectations. With forecasts that COVID-19 will be with us well into 2021, our businesses need to ensure we are making the investments to not only survive, but to thrive where possible. Technology has long been a game-changer, but it is even more critical now. Below are the technologies that were once nice to have, but they are now critical for competing for today’s customers:

1. Modern Point-of-Sale (POS) Platform Whether it is enabling an agile and always available point-of-sale platform for customers, today’s POS platforms offer significant advantages to those of 5 years ago. Many can be cloud based making them more cost-effective. These also offer customer friendly displays and information that customers find useful and preferable, including enhanced ability to enable frequent shopper or frequent guest options. Their data collection capabilities accelerate back-end data analytics so important to our sophisticated businesses. Finally, they enable many of the other technologies that follow.

2. Mobile Point-of-Sale (POS) Mobile POS offers us so many customer service options. Whether it is line busting to speed up checkout in busy times or facilitating the now mandatory option for curbside pickup, mobile POS is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a must-have. Safe and secure mobile payment options are also a necessity.

3. Digital Signage and Order Boards Customers respond to having more flexibility in how they shop. Many still like traditional shopping where safeguards are in place, but they want to checkout quickly and safely, which is where more crowding occurs. Is your Point-of-Sale quick and efficient? Do you offer Self-Checkout as an option? Can a contactless payment be made?

4. Protective Equipment Customers and associates are expecting their shopping and working experiences to be as safe as possible. Plexiglass protection at checkouts and service desks is an easy solution. Temperature checking kiosks at entry identifies someone who might be carrying a virus prior to them coming too far inside. Likewise, temperature sensing cameras can also identify potentially ill people as they enter a facility. Is your business doing enough?

Macro Integration Services offers advice and solutions across all of these areas for our customers in Retail, Grocery, Quick Serve Restaurants, Hospitality, and Entertainment. Our expertise and commitment combine to make our customers the heroes of their companies. Terry Morgan, CEO - Macro Integration Services    

COVID-19 Protocol for Macro Technicians

Macro Integration Services values the health and safety of our Customers and Associates above all else. As such, we are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Business and Employers.
Internally, we require any employee to stay home if they exhibit any symptoms at all. Additionally, we are taking special care in handling packages and incoming shipments from suppliers or customers. Hand washing and limiting human contact are encouraged both inside and outside the workplace.
Macro Field Maintenance and Install Technicians are required to follow the protocols below at all time while inside of customer locations:

  • Not exhibit known COVID-19 symptoms for the previous 3 days
  • Wear a mask
  • Maintain a 6’ social distancing standard
  • Wear gloves (if required by the customer)
  • Disinfect work area upon work completion

For our Customers, we plan no interruption in service. We understand that many of our QSR and retail customers may experience unusually high volume during this time of great uncertainty and Macro is committed to support them in the markets they serve.
You may visit the Macro website (www.macrointegrations.com) for the most current information. Or, please reach out to your Macro sales representative if you have any specific questions or special guidance for how to best maintain continuity of our service relationship.