An Introduction To StoreConnect

Steve Slough,
Managing Director - Tag Retail Systems

Meet StoreConnect

StoreConnect is a colleague productivity solution for retail. It provides every employee in every store with all the major technical tools they need to do their jobs more quickly and efficiently on one handheld device. These are all connected to one back-office application, which allows for flexible and responsive colleague management throughout the day. The solution has been shown to save dozens of hours of colleague time in large stores, and millions of pounds of costs across retail chains.

It's also designed to integrate with a wide range of existing retail systems and hardware, as well as incorporating new functionalities to improve efficiency further. The system can be adapted to meet a vast variety of business requirements and workflows.

At Tag Retail Systems, we always aim to exceed expectations, and the story of StoreConnect is certainly one of going above and beyond the requirements of a brief.

Developing The Solution

StoreConnect was originally created to help Tesco Central Europe to modernise. The organisation was struggling to run an efficient, modern retail operation with a disjointed range of Windows CE applications running on old held terminals (HHTs). The system was slow and inflexible, limiting the company's colleagues. What was more, the retailer was having trouble sourcing new handsets to replace lost and damaged ones.

The problems created by this were clear, leading to the need for replacement by a cohesive, Android-based software suite with accompanying new hardware. With 700 stores involved and some 7,000 devices this was a challenge in its own right but added to this was the business demand to make store processes significantly faster and more efficient at the same time.

Job Well Done

Following process remodelling workshops and cross-business reviews, the new software and hardware was rolled out across Tesco Central Europe’s stores in late 2021. Accolades are typically hard to obtain from Tesco but the following from a Program Manager speaks volumes about the ethos of StoreConnect and what it delivers:- 

Agility and Power for Retailers and Their Colleagues

StoreConnect can provide all colleagues in a store with the major technical tools they need to excel at tasks across the shop floor and warehouse, as well as when making sales. Android handheld devices allow individual colleagues to multitask more quickly and to deal with a wide range of eventualities, from spillages to unusual customer requests.

At a store-wide level, workflows and roles can be adapted more easily with less training and role-adjustment time. Communications and monitoring are also made simpler via industry standardised protocols such as Teams and VOIP. Meanwhile, new add-on options such as mPOS/queue busting and chiller live temperature monitoring help increase the efficiency of colleagues and store management in entirely new ways.

Modern Retailers’ Multitool 

StoreConnect runs on a wide range of enterprise-level Android Hand Held Terminals and tablets and with its modular interface capability can put a huge range of powerful functions in the palm of every employee’s hand. When real-time task switching is added then a busy colleague’s workload is eased even further when getting called away or asked to quickly switch roles. But in amongst the multiplicity of everyday tasks, which are the ones Store Connect can help with most? Here are a few good examples:-

  • Compliance
  • Gap scanning
  • Product placement verification/planogram adherence
  • Price checking and updates 
  • Stock control 
  • Stock taking and counts 
  • Goods transfer, receipt and return 
  • Waste management 
  • Communications 
  • Messaging 
  • Central policy access 
  • Customer assistance notifications 
  • Point of sale 
  • mPOS 
  • Lightweight fixed POS 
  • mPOS to fixed POS

StoreConnect makes all these tasks intuitive and easy for anyone who is familiar with using a mobile phone. That adds up to just about everyone in the modern world, with minimal training saving even more time for colleagues.

Time Savings

As a warehouse and shop-floor colleague productivity solution, StoreConnect is designed to make regular compliance and stock control tasks significantly quicker and more efficient. Critically, it has been proven to achieve individual tasks faster than various pre-existing industry standards. More important still is the ability to easily multitask, switching from one function to another in seconds and performing each effectively. This allows employees to get through their work rotations more quickly and to react to unexpected situations easily. The vast number of small-time savings quickly add up to huge efficiencies across client companies.

Adapting to client platforms, workflows and procedures is a core part of our offering. The result is a solution that works with client management systems and employees to maximise these time savings and efficiencies.

Cost Savings 

With the support of carefully selected hardware, Tag Retail Systems ensure that StoreConnect is cheaper to install and run than competitor software. The system can generally be specified and installed at a 40-50% capital expenditure saving against comparable systems. When in place, it can integrate with a wider array of hardware and software than the vast majority of legacy systems and modern competitors. This allows clients to choose tools and hardware that suit them and buy on a competitive basis.

These cost savings can add up tens or hundreds of thousands when StoreConnect is rolled out at scale across a chain of shops. However, they do not compare to the massive economies to be made on staff time. One prospective client estimated that our LiveTemp refrigeration temperature monitoring module alone could save them over £1 million per annum in staff time across their company. 

Fully Adaptable Productivity Solution 

The system was designed from the ground up to integrate with and adapt to a range of different hardware, software and work processes. The goal of the ongoing StoreConnect project is to take an industry where the users have always had to adapt to rigid systems and turn it on its head. The solution can easily be adapted to the processes, structure and hardware that clients want and need. 

Goals Going Forward 

The story of StoreConnect so far has been one of innovating and exceeding expectations, including our own.  

StoreConnect began with a project to replace a client’s legacy system, saving time and money. After much development, the end result is a modular solution that can work with and alongside old and new systems.  

The future for any retailer revolves around consistently saving time and money. StoreConnect has proved to be an effective way to do exactly this for a number of major companies. 

Moving forward, our goal is to continue innovating and working with the industry to adapt to ever-developing in-store challenges.