Why Mobile Data Capture Technology is Crucial for Retail Differentiation
The pandemic kickstarted an omnichannel shopping trend, with 60 percent to 70 percent of consumers researching and purchasing both in-store and online. At the same time, customer experience remained king. As consumers become increasingly demanding and accustomed to the ease and convenience of shopping online, physical retail stores are having to step up their game.
Retailers are starting to differentiate themselves by offering an omnichannel mix — using smart devices in-store to provide an online shopping experience, while also maximizing the elements of in-person shopping that can’t be replicated digitally.
To improve CX, perfect hybrid retail, and streamline operations overall, future store operations technology has become critical.
Smart devices and smart data capture solutions enable employees to increase their operational efficiency and wow customers with new capabilities like augmented reality. In addition, onboarding processes become more streamlined as smartphones provide a familiar interface to new team members — making work more straightforward and satisfying.
Do More With One Device, Anywhere In-Store
In a fast-paced retail environment, convenience and seamlessness are crucial. Smart data capture on smart devices allows employees to access real-time data instantly, switch effortlessly between tasks, and complete essential duties on the go. Workflows like shelf management, price checking, mobile point of sale (mPOS), and more can be completed without friction or device swapping — offering a far better employee experience than using legacy scanning or shared devices.
Modern-day, rugged smartphones are also ideal as they’re built to work anywhere — from receiving shipments on loading docks to serving customers on the shop floor — and they eliminate the need for bulky scanners. Additionally, when employees are equipped with suitable devices and smart data capture-powered apps, they can operate efficiently in the most challenging conditions, including low-light environments, at various angles and distances, or when barcodes have been damaged.
Connected Employees Are Effective Employees
Employee satisfaction is essential if retailers want to retain talent and boost productivity. Consolidating multiple devices into one multifunction smart device helps achieve both.
Signing in for a shift? A quick tap on their smartphone engages work mode. Need to contact a colleague? The push-to-talk button makes communication effortless. Picking online orders? Ergonomic smart devices scan with speed and accuracy. Staff can then instantly update back-end systems in real time to ensure the smoothest possible e-commerce experience, whether it’s an in-store collection or a home delivery.
Equipping Employees With Flexibility in the Aisles
Consumers have become accustomed to easily accessing product and stock information when shopping online. According to a recent survey of over 3,500 consumers, the biggest turn-offs with in-store shopping include long queues (47 percent), limited stock (43 percent), and unhelpful store associates (36 percent). Failing to meet these expectations can significantly impact a retailer’s success.
With scanning-enabled smartphones, employees can access product information and stock data within seconds and provide accurate answers for consumers. Additionally, by using a mPOS application on the same device to complete a transaction, retailers can eliminate painstaking queues and better ensure a sale is made.
Transforming Clienteling With Augmented Customer Experiences
Retailers can elevate CX even further with augmented reality (AR) through an all-in-one device and smart data capture platform.
For example, by hovering a device over a product’s label, employees can display product information on-screen and help customers compare product specs to make more informed decisions. Once a product is selected, employees can scan a shelf and then an AR overlay helps them to quickly locate it in the correct size, color or spec.
Innovating Retail Employee and Customer Experiences
Despite their significant decline during the pandemic, U.S. physical store sales were on track to exceed $3.3 trillion in 2021. It’s clear in-store shopping isn’t going away any time soon, and retailers must still prioritize streamlining and differentiating their operations.
With smartphones and smart data capture-enabled apps, retailers can boost employee satisfaction, associates can increase their efficiency, and customers can enjoy a smooth, frictionless and unique in-store experience.
Jessica Grisolia is senior manager, industry solutions management at Scandit, a provider of smart data capture and barcode scanning software.
Jessica Grisolia, Head of Retail Industry Solutions, Scandit
Jessica is a retail expert specializing in digital transformation and change management strategies. At Scandit, she is responsible for the go-to-market and industry strategy for the retail sector. Passionate about innovation, Jessica explores trends and technologies that bring new ways for employees and customers to interact with the store and take advantage of omnichannel services through digital transformation and automation.