Large Scottish Convenience Store Retailer Chain Saves Time and Money with XMPie Automation
Scotmid Co-operative uses PersonalEffect Print to reengineer and automate the production process for creating variable data Shelf-edge Point of Sale (POS) promotions across all 200 retail stores.

Background

Scotmid Co-operative is Scotland's largest independent co-operative and has been at the heart of Scottish communities since 1859. Scotmid employs around 5,000 people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England across nearly 350 retail outlets. Scotmid is owned by its members and is committed to supporting local communities through investment in both community and co-operative initiatives.

Scotmid were using a manual and outdated method for creating Shelf-edge Point of Sale (POS) promotions. These are simple and effective price marking and promotional components displayed in a retail environment on the shelf edge. Often referred to as the silent salespeople of retail, shelf talkers work wherever they are assigned to promote business and boost retail sales; they are a crucial tool for helping customers make in-store purchases.

Scotmid's previous method of producing shelf-edge POS promotions was laborious, demoralizing and unproductive. It was a one-size-fits-all approach whereby head office manually designed, produced and sent out thousands of printed tickets to each store. The store managers would need to sort through them all and select only those which were relevant to their particular store. This meant that every branch received the same promotions even though they may not have even had the applicable product on display.

"The old system didn't cut the mustard. Store Managers would take the tickets home and play games with their kids to pick out the relevant ones for their store! We needed to find a new system that could cope with the demands of the modern retail world yet wasn't too cost prohibitive."

Richard Marsh, Print Production Manager, Scotmid.

Challenge

The shelf-edge is the retailers' most valuable real estate because promotional material located on the shelf triggers sales at the point of decision.

Scotmid were spending too much money and time making price changes and updating the shelf-edge. They needed to redesign and automate this core labor-intensive business process to save labor and operation costs. They wanted an innovative retail ticketing solution that included:

  • Dynamic pricing for each branch
  • Fast ticketing production process from order to arrival on shelf edge
  • Barcode integration
  • Error-free ticket printing to retailer standards
  • Ticket printing directly in store

Because Scotmid were already familiar with Adobe InDesign and were using the software within their creative process, they wanted a solution that would extend InDesign's capabilities and not change their current workflow. They needed a platform that would simplify their creative process, increase their capabilities and streamline their workflow.

Challenge

The shelf-edge is the retailers' most valuable real estate because promotional material located on the shelf triggers sales at the point of decision.

Scotmid were spending too much money and time making price changes and updating the shelf-edge. They needed to redesign and automate this core labor-intensive business process to save labor and operation costs. They wanted an innovative retail ticketing solution that included:

  • Dynamic pricing for each branch
  • Fast ticketing production process from order to arrival on shelf edge
  • Barcode integration
  • Error-free ticket printing to retailer standards
  • Ticket printing directly in store

Because Scotmid were already familiar with Adobe InDesign and were using the software within their creative process, they wanted a solution that would extend InDesign's capabilities and not change their current workflow. They needed a platform that would simplify their creative process, increase their capabilities and streamline their workflow.

The integration of design, logic, and data is at the heart of XMPie's personalization technology and that's why Scotmid selected XMPie PersonalEffect Print Pro and used PersonalEffect's APIs to integrate with and power their POS solution.

Solution

PersonalEffect Print Pro includes all the tools they needed to produce tailor-made content-rich shelf-edge tickets with real-time pricing and promotional messages. Importantly it includes uCreate Print, an integrated tool for extending Adobe InDesign and creating data-driven documents. This simplified their creative process and allowed Scotmid to move from creating each label individually to creating templates for versioning. PersonalEffect Print Pro also includes uPlan, for connecting to the database, selecting which data elements to use, and for adding logic rules needed to drive the project. It also includes PersonalEffect's uProduce Document Composition Engine (with Adobe InDesign Server). This is the core foundation built into all XMPie products where the data, logic, document, fonts, and assets are transformed into the output format of the user's choice (such as PPML, PDF, PDF/VT and more).

Scotmid's new system was built by their in-house software developer and the complete workflow is automated. They start by combining their marketing and product messages with their stock system to get a single view of all the data that is needed to create the tickets. The result of this consolidation is a single source of data that contains every store's relevant promotional offers for only the products that they carry in store.

Using PersonalEffect to Generate a tailor-made "ready to print" file for each store

Print room staff use an in-house developed web-based environment to select which ticket template to use and for which store they wish to create the tickets for. They are using XMPie APIs to link the production requests and deliver requests directly into their PersonalEffect Server to create PDF/VT files ready for printing in an automated process.

The uPlan logic governs the ticket contents, pulling relevant product and promotional messaging and dynamically producing added barcodes. The PersonalEffect server, in combination with the data, controls the name and destination of the resulting output file, as well as the number of tickets produced for each product.

The ready-to-print PDF/VT is passed onto the digital press and uses an imposition workflow to ensure maximum efficiency. Each store receives a tailor-made package with exactly the tickets that they need. The order of tickets in the file even matches the store planogram so that the store assistant can easily distribute the tickets around the store.

With the XMPie workflow, either the Data, Logic or Design can be changed or replaced without forcing a change in the other two. This means that any alterations, such as seasonal layouts or branding changes can be implemented quickly and placed back into production.

Printing on an ad hoc basis

In addition to the above workflow, each store manager can order special tickets on an ad hoc basis. They simply log-in to their back-office system and create a shopping basket of items. Once the order is complete, the system sends the request to the server and they receive the PDF back instantly for printing in the store.

Results
  • Print costs were cut in half with an estimated saving of £20k savings. This freed up the print room to produce other material such as their community-based charity efforts.
  • Productivity in store increased. Time taken to implement each POS package went down from one work-day to two hours (every three weeks).
  • Productivity enhancements - store staff can now do more productive tasks such as customer service.

Critical Success Factors

  1. Skillset in-house - The integration was built by a staff programmer. This meant that Scotmid could control the whole process and address issues promptly.
  2. PersonalEffect APIs are mature, stable, feature rich, and offer high flexibility for integration with other applications. This meant that Scotmid didn't have to settle for an 'off-the-shelf solution' which was either not quite fit for purpose or prohibitively expensive.
  3. XMPie software is native to Adobe InDesign which is a widely used, best-in-class tool for designers. This integration allowed them to extend InDesign's capabilities, simplify their creative process, and streamline their workflow.
  4. XMPie was on-hand to technically support Scotmid as they developed and implemented this solution that was tailored to their unique business requirements.
  5. Because of the functionality of uPlan, both the marketing team and the IT professionals could implement even the most complex rules and business logic.
Critical Success Factors

Lessons Learned

  1. XMPie software can be used in a wide variety of non-marketing communications, applications and process improvements. It is not just for marketing campaigns and revenue generation.
  2. Variable data printing is not just for personalizing marketing messaging to individuals, the end recipient can also be an object such as a product or a store branch.
    Lessons Learned

    Like this? Contact us to arrange a demo of our software.

    Or sign up to our newsletter and get more case studies, product updates, webinars and events - all delivered to your inbox.

    Like this? Contact us to arrange a demo of our software.

    Or sign up to our newsletter and get more case studies, product updates, webinars and events - all delivered to your inbox.