When you walk into a Maplefields in Northern New England, you won’t find your typical convenience store.
Cashiers? They don’t have them. Impatient customers? Not really. A line? What’s a line?
“C” is for Cashierless
These common c-store characteristics are foreign at Maplefields after installing a fleet of Passport Express Lane self-checkout kiosks. They call the concept “cashierless,” but associate Nicole Cayea prefers the term, “guided self-checkout.”
“We try to keep one person manning the sales floor and front counter at the same time. That way, the rest of the staff can get their jobs done,” says Nicole.
At Maplefields, the checkout process is owned by the customer rather than a cashier. Glancing around the store, you’ll see associates busy stocking shelves, cleaning, even steam mopping entrances every few minutes on wet, snowy days. Still, there’s always someone available to greet you and see if you need assistance.
“Honestly, every store should have a self-checkout, in my opinion,” says associate, Jillian Majersky. “If someone comes in and buys coffee, I’ll ask, ‘cash or card’ and if it’s a card, they don’t need you. And boom, they’re out in 45 seconds tops.”
The Gift of Time
With Express Lane, employees are given the gift of time, and the difference is striking. The stores we saw, a handful from their network of 40+ stores, were immaculate. The sore spots you might see in a lower caliber c-store are not apparent at Maplefields. Tidy shelves, stocked coolers, helpful staff, spotless bathrooms – all made possible by reallocating time and responsibilities.
98% of the store is barcoded. The few items that don’t scan are quickly found with easy-to-follow speedkeys at the kiosk.
The “Swift Lane” concept, as Maplefields has branded it, was inspired by IT Director, Skip Potter. Skip is constantly looking for the next new innovation that will further streamline his stores. He had a vision and partnered with Gilbarco to make it a reality.
Made For C-store Operators, Designed By C-store Operators
As one of the earliest adopters of Passport Express Lane, his teams provided valuable feedback that helped our engineering teams hone the self-checkout experience for the c-store environment.
Skip wanted to buy gas at the self-checkout. We made it happen.
Food ordering? Easy. Learn more about those features here.
Skip believes the cashierless concept leads to a happier staff. When cashiers are stuck behind a front counter, those critical store responsibilities pile up until they’re simply unattainable. It’s not the employee’s fault, it’s the nature of that particular retail format. Instead, Maplefields associates can complete important daily duties quicker with less stress and fewer interruptions.
The Learning Curve
Of course, like any technology update, Maplefields’ “Swift Lane” concept was met with a customer learning curve. The brand immediately initiated an ambassador program to help acclimate the customer base to the new retail routine.
“When you have someone there to walk customers through and show them how easy it is, boom, you’ve got that many more customers going through those self-checkouts,” says Brian LaBrie, Special Projects Coordinator.
Brian is instrumental to launching the cashierless concept. It was his job to implement the new checkout strategy and tweak it to perfection. Months of practice allows Brian to blend into the background while he observes the flow of customers.
“Part of what I do is ask, ‘how do I redesign this?” How do I make traffic flow easier, because the last thing I want is a customer bottleneck,” Brian says. “Honestly, it’s created more counter space and we didn’t even look at it as more retail space. We looked at it as more space to add another Express Lane and get one more customer in and out the door.”
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