In equipping store team members with scanning-enabled consumer devices, The Warehouse reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) three times over compared to the expensive, dedicated devices and smartphone sleds they had previously used. The company was able to quickly migrate from manual to online order fulfilment when most customers shopped online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Camera-based scanning delivered a seamless Click & Collect customer experience and offered The Warehouse flexibility to scale up and down at speed whilst improving employee user experience and productivity.
During the Alert Level 3 and 4 lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were suddenly faced with a 600 percent increase in online orders over the course of just three days. We quickly pivoted from manual, ‘pen and paper’ order picking to a smartphone app that we created by embedding Scandit’s enterprise grade scanning solution – simplifying the process for our in-store picking and online order fulfillment teams to quickly respond to customer needs.
Transform store operations, enhance team member efficiency with smart scanning devices
The Warehouse is the flagship store of The Warehouse Group, New Zealand’s largest retail group with a 50-year history. It has over 93 stores across the country, stocking affordable sports goods, electronics, fashionwear, home and garden items, and more.
For several years, the company had equipped store team members with dedicated devices for store operations such as inventory management, product information and price verification. Over time, they found these dedicated devices too expensive to maintain along with the extensive training required. For instance, multi-tasking was not possible as employees could not switch between tasks to provide customers with product information such as price verification. Additional tasks required different software processes and tools, which further escalated costs and delivered a sub-optimal user experience.
With the launch of the iPod Touch in New Zealand, The Warehouse replaced dedicated scanners and migrated to this more affordable device – adding a sled and an extra battery to make it scan-ready. The company upgraded to the iPhone and iPod Touch models equipped with built-in cameras and integrated them with Scandit’s camera-based scanning technology. With built-in cameras on these smart devices, they no longer needed the barcode scanning sled, which further lowered costs.
As lockdown measures during the 2020 global pandemic became stringent, The Warehouse was confirmed a non-essential service and had to close in-store operations. They quickly organised online order fulfilment through a safe and secure Click & Collect service. The plan was to replace manual order fulfilment with a smartphone order picking app so that in-store teams could swiftly fulfil a high volume of orders and seamlessly collaborate with the online fulfilment team to process them for Click & Collect.
Streamlined online order fulfilment with fast and accurate mobile scanning app
With the speed and accuracy of product picking crucial to online order fulfilment and customer satisfaction, The Warehouse quickly responded to the unexpected surge in online orders, supported by the smart devices that the company migrated to, powered by Scandit’s superfast, error-free scanning solution in their order picking app.
“Not only is smart device scanning cost-effective compared to dedicated devices and sleds, it’s a future-ready solution helping us today with retail operations such as inventory management, clienteling, stock taking and order picking; but tomorrow it could serve additional industry use cases,” explains Trevor Jones, Chapter Lead DevOps, The Warehouse.
“Our team members find the Scandit-enabled smart devices user-friendly and easy to operate without the need for training. Their versatility means they are not limited to a specific task – they can switch midway while checking stock to respond to customer queries on product information in‑store. This is something that was not possible with dedicated devices.”
- Ramped up Click & Collect in just four weeks with a scanning-enabled order picking app
- 4 weeks
- Team members learnt to operate the scanning-enabled smartphone app in just five minutes
- 5 mins
- Store team members are equipped with an iPod Touch or iPhone
Flexible and user-friendly consumer device scanning solution reduces TCO
A Scandit customer for more than three years, The Warehouse has deployed the scanning solution on over 1500 iPod Touch and iPhone corporate-owned business only (COBO) devices. Despite equipping every store team member with a smart device, the company has reduced TCO three times over by converting these affordable consumer devices into enterprise grade scanners that offer multiple benefits.
- Flexibility: to quickly and efficiently respond to industry dynamics, such as ramping up Click & Collect fulfilment within four weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Team members also use the Scandit-enabled smartphone scanning solution with other apps for multiple store operations ranging from pricing, inventory management, promotions, Click & Collect order records, stock taking, product lookup and more.
- User experience: learning how to operate the scanning-enabled app in just five minutes is a real positive for team members. Scanning accuracy and speed, as well as the option of using the camera’s flash function for scanning in dark areas of the store, has improved employee efficiency.
- Scalability: the option to flex devices up and/or down based on demand. Additionally, it’s easy to source developers to quickly code native apps.
With the shift to omnichannel retail globally, The Warehouse continues to explore how smartphone scanning technology can be adapted into their apps for both the front and back of the retail store. “We want to use these low-cost smartphone scanning devices to blur the lines between our online digital experience and in-store apps to offer a self-scanning customer facing app, and create omnichannel experiences going forward,” says Trevor Jones.