6 Ways to Optimize Retail Operations and Re-energize Employees

By Justin Corbell, Vice President of Sales, Scandit

According to Forbes, companies that invest in their employee experience, are four times more profitable than those who don’t – and retail is no exception. Scandit has helped many retailers move core processes onto smart devices powered by mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR) software. Replacing dedicated scanning hardware with familiar, sleek and portable smartphones, brings speed, simplicity and increased satisfaction to employees’ daily work in stores and in back-of-house retail operations. The results are quickly felt in time savings, efficiency gains and cost reduction.

Here are six eye-opening numbers on the efficiencies mobile computer vision unlocks in retail workflows, along with best practice tips and some real-world insights from Scandit customers currently using mobile barcode scanning in retail operations.

1. Using portable devices for work tasks saves employees 58 minutes per day while increasing productivity by 34%

Source: Frost & Sullivan

Where should you start when considering modernizing and digitally transforming retail operations with barcode scanning-enabled smartphones? Scandit recommends identifying the use cases in your enterprise which will either deliver immediate efficiencies, solve a particularly painful process for store associates or preferably do both.

Consult with employees on the pain points and process changes that will have the biggest impact, they are at the sharp end and can share the common challenges that pop up during every shift.  For example, German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt recognized a need to enable employees to provide instant product data to customers on the shop floor, rather than having to trek to a back room to get the information from a desktop computer to answer customer questions. Customers were left waiting and potential sales could be lost. 

Using the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK, dm empowered employees with smart devices to use on the shop floor, providing them a mobile and practical way to deliver high levels of customer service and easily integrate into their existing IT infrastructure. The result has been considerable time savings and a thoroughly positive response from customers for the more personalized and targeted service. 

Read the dm case study.

2. The use of smartphone apps for businesses has nearly doubled in the past 5 years. 51% of employees now use mandated apps for business on their phones

Source: Frost & Sullivan 

Do your employees waste valuable time logging-in and out and switching devices multiple times a day?  With a retail operations mobile app using scanning on a smart device, people only need one device to complete multiple tasks to help them complete work more quickly. Retailers can also look to combine tasks, like stock check and reordering, into a single workflow to create even greater efficiencies.

In Denmark, grocery retailer Coop uses Scandit-powered scanning apps to enable store employees to perform several processes such as order picking, rescanning, loyalty scanning and markdown management with a single Samsung smart device. The lower cost, compared to dedicated scanners, means more employees have devices, rather than having to share. Coop DK’s solution made these previously manual tasks into digital ones and added flexibility and speed to store operations. The results were dramatically higher efficiency and far greater employee satisfaction. 

Read the Coop DK case study.

3. Make the most of data insight: employee efficiency is increased by 36% in retail and wholesale businesses when staff use smartphones for work tasks

Source: Frost & Sullivan

With computer vision technology, retailers can seamlessly capture and process real-time information from multiple data sources such as SAP, Oracle and other ERP and CRM systems. Creating a single, reliable version of real-time operational information, accessible to all employees, helps to continuously improve workflows and omni-channel activity.

METRO, a leading specialist wholesaler and food retailer in Germany uses a Scandit-powered mobile shopping app to enable customers to see customised discount product pricing directly on their device screens. In real-time, the METRO shopping app captures the data on the product the customer wants to buy and the back-end CRM system informs the app about what the custom price should be for that customer, and displays it.  Customers can see their savings as they shop, and the result has been a richer and more attractive retail shopping experience.  

Read the METRO case study.

4. Focus on user experience for more successful adoption: 44% of retailers rate improved employee morale as one of the top benefits of mobile technology

Source: Retail TouchPoints Store Operations Survey

In order to get the maximum benefit, Scandit encourages retailers to select the right device for the user situation to maximize productivity and satisfaction. For example, a smartphone keeps one hand free while order picking and is easier to carry around, while a tablet offers more screen real-estate for an employee focused on customer assistance and clienteling activities. Ensuring the scanning works first time, every time, is critical. If the scanning engine throws up mis-scans or failed scans, users will soon lose confidence and get frustrated. Scandit’s software brings enterprise-grade performance to even lower-cost smart devices.  

5. Implement fast – or take it slow – based on your business needs: retailers that integrate digital technologies into their supply chains see service levels increase rapidly and costs drop by up to 30%

Source: Bain & Company

Introducing mobile computer vision does not involve ripping-out shelves or installing costly fixed infrastructure. Some retailers adopt at speed to take advantage of the ease of deployment and seamless integration of mobile scanning on smart devices. Others take a phased approach to digital transformation, initially piloting one or a few use cases first to measure impact.

This phased approach has been successful for the US-based personal shopping app Instacart. Today, the Instacart marketplace offers more than 300 retailers and trusted local grocers, a dedicated community of more than 50,000 personal shoppers that handpick and deliver customer orders using 1,000 different mobile device models. Instacart’s Scandit-powered order picking process started small and grew as more users found the experience easier and more efficient than previous solutions. 

Read the Instacart case study.

6. Choose a solution that grows with you: 72% of hourly retail associates are more willing to stay with a retailer if they have the right technology and resources

Source: Salesfoor study

Retailers take on more staff for different reasons, whether it’s new staff to sustain growth or temporary staff during peak seasonal trading. Any scanning solution therefore needs to be scalable at speed, while meeting employees changing needs over time.

Replacing inflexible infrastructure with powerful, future-proof mobile software solutions reduces hardware costs immediately. And new levels of efficiency and productivity go straight to the bottom line.  

Learn more about best practice considerations and implementation for optimizing retail operations with smartphone scanning here.

Do you want to learn more about how Scandit mobile computer vision can help your retail enterprise bring more efficiency and employee satisfaction to operations processes? Contact us today.

Posted in Retail