February 14, 2024
7 min read

GK and Virginia ABC: Collaborating to Create an Exceptional and Reliable Store Experience

Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority

Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, Virginia ABC, is a multidimensional state government authority that ensures the safe, orderly and regulated sale of alcohol across Virginia. With over 4,700 employees, 400 state-run liquor retail outlets and regulation oversight of 19,000 licensed businesses including, hotels, restaurants, wholesalers, event hosts and more, Virginia ABC generates $1.6B in annual revenue.  

Despite this success, outdated technology threatened to hold Virginia ABC back, especially at the checkout counter. This was a pivotal touch point for the retailer because the Virginia ABC stores have around 1,100 checkout lanes.  

After witnessing the success of other local businesses using GK's checkout technology, such as Lidl, Virginia ABC turned to GK to unlock technology that was the best business fit without requiring a costly hardware overhaul.  

Since connecting with GK in 2019, Virginia ABC has enjoyed a reliable partnership with a 30% reduction in the equipment necessary to operate the stores and 100% remote management capabilities. This means Virginia ABC stores were able to eliminate the need for in-store servers, reduce the number of handheld units and consolidate network devices. Ultimately, shoppers have enjoyed a consistently exceptional shopping experience, where their needs can be met efficiently every time.  

Upgrading Outdated Technology 

In 2019, Virginia ABC was working with eight technical systems that were well beyond an expected lifespan, including its point-of-sale (POS).  

Virginia ABC's previous payment process required many internal steps. When a credit card was used in-store, it was verified through a system that connected to a bank. If that middleman system was down, the store's entire payment process was disabled. This worst-case scenario experience left customers frustrated because they couldn't check out and blocked Virginia ABC from ringing up sales. 

Similarly, hardware malfunctions that occurred on a Friday would sometimes take until Tuesday to be resolved. For example, Virginia ABC relied on iPods as employee devices and common touch points for customer checkouts. Prior to working with GK, Virginia ABC customers and employees experienced 30-40 failed iPods per month due to their heavy use.  

In the wake of these issues, Virginia ABC sought a reliable technical footprint that could be seamlessly replicated across all stores. The authority wanted its technology to be in the same network in every store with remote management capabilities.

Once they engaged GK, Virginia ABC gained access to a secure and reliable partner capable of ensuring a low failure rate and a consistent shopper journey.  

Earning Exceptional Results 

Since integrating with GK OmniPOS and the authority's suite of retail technology, Virginia ABC has increased up-time, or time in which a machine is in operation, to 99.9%. Now, the authority is assured that stores will open on time and the technology will efficiently support operations. This reliability guarantees that shoppers will have a smooth and successful shopping experience every time they visit Virginia ABC. 

Since GK's solutions follow industry standards, Virginia ABC experienced a lower cost of training than previous integrations; the interface was intuitive for users who worked with other well-known POS systems. 

What's more, the authority previously experienced a 24-hour delay for inventory reporting, now it has its reports in minutes, reflecting accurate sales and inventory, due in part to GK's ability to provide data in near real-time to Virginia ABC's central systems.  

Virginia ABC estimates this reliable tech stack saves the authority over $300,000 a year. They no longer pay for expensive maintenance and support. If a rare issue does arise, Virginia ABC can solve the problem remotely within minutes, ensuring no sales are lost because of disabled systems.

Virginia ABC's integration with GK has decreased costs and headaches by creating a simplified store footprint template that benefits every one of the retailer's 400 locations.  

Creating a Strong Partner Network 

Not only did Virginia ABC create a strong relationship with GK in 2019 they also unlocked access to GK's exceptional partner network, which took the integration to the next level. For example, GK recommended Virginia ABC engage with Macro Integration Services, leading the authority to implement Zebra handheld devices, new switches, cameras, POS hardware, routers and more, all while cutting down on the number of devices required to keep stores up and running.  

By investing in a company like GK that has established relationships with other providers, the implementation process was smooth. And, if any issues did arise, the partners knew how to connect with one another to create a swift resolution.  

Paul Williams, chief information officer at Virginia ABC, attests that, "having partners that can do the work and do it well together has driven the high levels of success we foster in our stores."  

Continuing a Successful Partnership 

This is just the beginning of GK and Virginia ABC's partnership. The authority is interested in working toward increased transparency with a broadened use of shelf labels to automate pricing and QR codes to provide expansive product information.  

GK is committed to helping its partners continuously foster the best customer experience possible. To learn more about how we can take your online and in-store journeys to the next level, reach out to us today