BYOD Strategy for Retail Operations – The 4.5 Things to Consider

| Retail

BYOD Strategy for Retail Operations - The 4.5 Things to Consider

BYOD, not to be confused with BYOB – everyone’s favorite type of restaurant visit, is the acronym for ‘bring your own device’. Paired with smart data capture technology, it is a concept that is transforming retail operations across the globe and can be just as commercially smart as ‘bring your own bottle’ where you take your favorite wine to your local restaurant.

In the ever-changing world of retail where customers demand better experiences, store associates are being asked to do more to deliver improved service. Picking orders, replenishing stocks, customer service, managing deliveries, point of sale, the list of tasks is extensive.

Empowering them with the right tools and technology can make a huge difference to the efficiency of retail operations and staff satisfaction.

Why consider BYOD in retail operations?

Implementing a BYOD strategy enables retail employees to use their own smartphones to work and run business applications for a variety of tasks. As a topline, it has the benefit of allowing associates to use their own familiar devices, while enabling retailers to save on the costs of deploying hardware.

There are alternatives in the form of corporate-owned, personally enabled strategies (COPE) where the employee has the use of a business provided smartphone for use inside and outside of work, and the more traditional and straightforward business-only device strategy, which are often taken from a shared pool of devices and returned at the end of the shift.

But for this post we will focus on BYOD. Perfect for quickly scaling up operations during seasonal peaks and facilitating short-term or temporary employees, leveraging the gig economy.

Applying a BYOD strategy to retail operations needs to be carefully considered. Scandit has worked with hundreds of businesses across retail and logistics to successfully implement BYOD smart data capture projects. Here are the 4 and a half (yes, there is a half, and we’ll explain why) things to consider before you make the leap.

1. Involve staff in the process from the get-go

If you are considering powering your store operations with smart data capture technology on personal smart devices, then start engaging with users now. Understand how they use their devices and talk to them about their workflows. Understand their pain points today and how enabling them to use scanning-enabled apps on BYOD smartphones would help overcome them.
For example:

  • Do they have to carry multiple devices for multiple tasks during their shift?
  • Do they spend time hunting for shared devices when switching between tasks?
  • Do they have to keep going back and forth to a fixed terminal to check stock data?

Involving them in the discussions will allow you to build the processes and ensure they have the capabilities aligned to what they need to perform well, both in the front and back of the store.

2. Incentive plans are a good idea

A change in working practices will always be met with some resistance. Having generous incentives for employees to use their own devices such as reimbursement of data usage and the provision of accessories for a great user experience will help smooth the transition. Also, clarity on the speed and process for replacements will allay any fears that they might have around accidental loss or damage.

3. Think outside the box

Smart data capture applications on smartphones can outperform dedicated scanners in terms of speed and reliability in different workflows. Scanning of barcodes, QR codes and other data is quicker, multiple barcodes can be scanned at once, and back-office systems can be updated immediately. Augmented reality to visually display real-time information on the device screen to speed through tasks or make onboarding easy? No problem. Checking in with colleagues? Easy. One device really can perform a multitude of services.

So get creative, what innovation can you apply to traditional processes in order to optimize them and start thinking about how this new platform can help you evolve with the needs and wants of employees and customers.

4. Implementation is quicker than you think

Denmark’s largest grocery retailer, Coop, managed to implement Scandit’s smartphone app to over 2,000 employees in less than 4 months. As employees were familiar with their own devices, training was quick and simple. The app’s user interface makes tasks easy to do and onboarding new staff to cope at times of seasonal fluctuation posed no problem. If you want to know more about how exactly Coop managed this, you can watch the webinar here.

Coop DK instore

The ‘half’ consideration

Accidents happen. But it isn’t anything to worry about. Using BYOD can reduce costs by as much as 70% compared to using a hardware scanner over the solution’s lifecycle, while typically annual reimbursement costs to workers average one-tenth of the cost of a dedicated scanner. So the need to issue replacement devices (which is the case with any mobile device strategy), still doesn’t add up to incurring more expense. Plus, as the devices are owned by employees, they take greater care of them. Replacements are never as frequent as retailers expect and when they are, they are cheap and quick to do.

Therefore, it isn’t really something that needs to be considered, hence the half point. We hope you will allow us that one.


If you are considering a BYOD strategy to transform your retail operations, then the above considerations will be a good starting point.

BYOD strategies don’t take as long to implement or cost as much as you expect, plus you don’t have to compromise on scanning performance. And the benefits are wide ranging. Empowered employees are happier, reducing staff turnover, and far more efficient.

But each organization is different and when evaluating COPE vs BYOD strategies your unique circumstances will be a factor. We don’t advocate one or the other – in fact, often a combination of both works. Whatever strategy you choose, smart devices powered by Scandit Smart Data Capture technology will deliver increases in retail operational efficiency and staff satisfaction.