Mobile data capture enables retailers to easily track and trace items at any point in the supply chain. The capability to find items in real time, from source to shelf, is crucial for success in modern retail.
Products now move seamlessly from initial source to centralized warehouses to regional distribution facilities. From there, they may pass through a brick-and-mortar store or online purchase pickup location, or be directly delivered to the customer.
The customer is now in charge of the supply chain. Equipped with mobile devices that provide constant connectivity, modern consumers have taken control of the retail chain. Shoppers now expect immediate access to the products they want, when and where they want them.
As a result, retailers need the total supply chain transparency that mobile scanning-based, real-time track and trace delivers. Time- and location-stamping helps ensure accurate, timely movement of goods through the supply chain. This is crucial to fulfilling omnichannel customer offerings such as same-day delivery and in-store pickup or exchange of online purchases.
Learn more about this seamless retail logistics model in our new white paper.
In addition, by streamlining fulfillment, mobile track and trace reduces instances where items are out of stock or unavailable. A customer who visits a store and is unable to purchase a digitally advertised product will simply check their mobile device to see what nearby competing retailers have it in stock. They will also likely share their frustration on social media and may well never return.
But with mobile track and trace, a retail logistics organization can know exactly how many products or assets they have and their location at all times. This real-time data access enables complete inventory transparency.
So even if an item is out of stock at a store, a retailer can save the sale by fulfilling the order from another local store or warehouse. Depending on how far away the item is, the retailer could schedule a free home delivery (and maybe throw in a personalized discount for the inconvenience).
As an added benefit, mobile track and trace provides in-depth, real-time analytics into the movement of inventory. Armed with this insight, retailers can identify and eliminate problems and unnecessary extra steps from their supply chain.
Furthermore, time and location stamping in the supply chain can help retailers detect and prevent loss. With statistics from the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicating inventory shrink cost the US retail industry $45.2 billion in 2015, loss prevention represents a significant source of enterprise cost reduction.
And for retailers who sell perishable or fragile goods, mobile track and trace of physical factors such as temperature and condition can be crucial to ensuring products arrive at stores or consumer homes in salable condition.
The ultimate goal of seamless retail logistics can be summed up as “the right product at the right time and place for the right customer.” Mobile track and trace streamlines the workflows and reduces the costs associated with reaching that goal.