As a way to compete and thrive against major retailers like Walmart and Safeway, independent grocers are turning toward software that automates manual tasks — resulting in reduced errors and increased efficiency, John Epperson said.
Founders: Gil Anderson and John Epperson
Founding year: 2017
Amount raised to date: Undisclosed
Noteworthy investors: Leawood Venture Capital
Current employee count: 18
Elevator pitch: Retail Software Solutions Group provides profitability and loss-prevention software for the independent grocer.
Such software exists because Epperson, co-founder of Overland Park-based Retail Software Solutions Group, saw a gap in the market and took the opportunity to create something valuable to local vendors, he said.
“If the independent grocer goes away, these towns lose a lot of their character; they are really the heartbeat of the small town,” Epperson said. “And it’s great to meet these folks across the country because while they’re all different; they are all fighting the same fight.”
Click here to learn more about Retail Software Solutions Group (RSSG).
RSSG serves independent grocers throughout the United States, but its newest client is right in the startup’s backyard: Cosentino’s.
Cosentino’s, a Kansas City-founded grocer with 31 stores, purchased DealW!se — a software solution by RSSG that performs Temporary Price Reduction (TPR) Automation. TPRs offer customers better deals and boosts profits, but they are known for being time-consuming and inaccurate when done manually, according to RSSG’s website.
“When any consumer goes into a grocery store, they see these orange or green tags called temporary price reductions,” explained Christopher Greco, who serves as the chief revenue officer for RSSG.
“Getting the pricing right is very important because it is important for a grocery store to be able to move a lot of goods,” he continued. “Cosentino’s has 31 stores and does a lot of TPRs, so they are using our software to be sure their products are priced most efficiently.”
Click here to read Cosentino’s backstory.
The appeal of the software is in its simplicity, Greco said, noting once the software is implemented, the interface is easy for owners to set automatic pricing alerts.
Cosentino’s co-owner John Cosentino described how DealW!se increased ease and capability — while also giving weekly reports of pricing, margin and deal performance.
“DealW!se has made our TPR process more efficient and eliminated possibilities for error that could erode margins in our stores,” Cosentino said in a press release. “We do all this with less effort and more visibility than before we had DealW!se. RSSG is a true partner in helping Cosentino’s grow our business with better margins and sales.”
DealW!se is one of three software solutions offered by RSSG. The company also provides a solution for identifying pricing and cost issues impacting stores — PriceW!ise — and a solution that identifies suspect transactions and losses incurring in stores — LossW!se.
In RSSG’s three years operating, Epperson has seen a major impact in various small, local grocers, he said.
“One part of what we’re seeing is labor saving,” Epperson said. “With the automation part of [the software], we are really freeing people up to find other opportunities in their stores that must be done manually.
“The other part is how they are seeing financial gain and sales,” he continued. “Computer automation is able to do a better and more accurate job than the typical human.”