Best Practice Order Picking App: A Step-by-Step Guide

| Retail

Order Picking at Grocery Store

You could argue in-store order picking is no different from shopping with a mobile self-scanning app. Just more items, selected more frequently.

But many store associates would disagree.

For a start, an order picking session may involve working on multiple orders at once. Then add the busy environment, tight schedule, customer queries, plus the definitive product list, and the challenge becomes clearer.

In short, it means an order picking app needs to be simple, easy to use, and effective.

So, to make the lives of your store associates easier and make them more efficient we’ve put together best practice guidance on developing a smartphone order picking app.

Why talk about this now? Because online retail shopping has risen exponentially over the last 8 years, and it is projected to continue that growth until at least 2026.

Online retail orders stat graphic

It, therefore, makes sense that retailers carefully consider the functionality of their order picking app and the smart data capture that powers it to ensure orders can be fulfilled accurately and efficiently.

The video below is a step-by-step guide to ensuring an order picking app is optimized for the task.. We’re so keen to share this insight that we even built our own order picking application for testing and research.


10 steps to an intuitive order picking app with Scandit

This guide explains how to optimize an app powered with Scandit Smart Data Capture and its camera interaction for each step in the picking process. In this shopping picking session, there are 22 items to pick across different buckets.

1. Clicking on the list

In-store picking app: clicking on a list

First off, the picker clicks the list. At this point, the scanner is switched off to avoid unnecessarily draining the battery. It can be resumed by tapping anywhere on-screen.

2. Effective use of screen real estate

In-store picking app: item appears on the screen

When the list is clicked, the first item to be scanned appears on-screen. Here effective use of screen real-estate is crucial – provide both information about the product and space to scan. Avoid adding rarely used features as this complicates the user interface.

3. Item information neatly laid out

In-store picking app with item information displayed on the screen

The information needs to include the item location, quantity, and the bin it needs to go in. If the price is in the database, this can also be displayed to distinguish between different product sizes.

4. Display the next item

In-store picking app: next item displayed on the screen

The next item should also be displayed. If a picker has walked away from the pick cart to retrieve the first item, they are able to select the next one if they pass it.

5. Scanning the item

In-store picking app scanning an item

Once the picker has found the item, they just have to tap anywhere on-screen to start the camera. Then are then notified once the product has been correctly scanned.

6. Adding the item to the right bin

In-store picking app adding an item to the bin

The next step is to place the item in the correct bin. The on-screen bin indicator also changes color to direct the product to the right place.

7. Alert the picker if they place an item in the wrong bin

In-store picking app alerting for placing an item in the wrong bin

Here the app scans the bin barcode and lets the picker know if they are about to put it in the wrong container.

8. Alert the picker if they have scanned a product twice

In-store picking app sending alert for scanning the same item twice

Mistakes happen. Here the picker has forgotten they have already scanned the item. Fortunately, the order picking app recognizes the error and notifies the picker that the previously scanned item should be placed in a bin.

9. Options for unavailable products

In-store picking app showing a product is unavailable

If a product is unavailable, the picker should have the option to mark it up or substitute it for another product.

10. Notify the picker of how many products are left in that order

In-store picking app showing how many items are left in the order

Moving onto the next product, the picker is notified of how many products are left for that order.

More features and steps for an order picking app

There are many other features that can be integrated with Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK. Here are just a few:

  • Single-handed operations. For example, zoom in and out with a vertical swipe. Or use a sideways swipe if an item is unavailable.
  • Haptic feedback. In certain store environments, a picker might be unable to hear an alert or confirmation as they are wearing headphones.
  • Accessibility. A color-blind picker will struggle if the app uses colored notifications. Scandit’s technology provides accessible feedback via the settings.

Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK is optimized to pick 1600 items in an 8-hour shift. So integrating it into an intuitive and easy-to-use smartphone makes light work of order fulfillment tasks.

A superior, fast, intuitive and reliable SDK integrated into a smartphone for use by any store associate. Contact us for a demonstration or more information on how best to develop your order picking app.