Mobile Barcode Scanning Helps Grocers as BOPIS Becomes the “New Normal”

By Steve Cunningham, Director, Retail Solutions, Scandit

Even before the COVID pandemic, retailers like H-E-B had already started scaling up contactless engagements with customers. Today, many retailers are fast-tracking their plans and preparing for a future with less physical interaction with their customers.

Retail TouchPoints reports what most of us have strongly suspected: shoppers are increasingly and understandably reluctant to enter public places. According to data from Placer.ai, big grocery retailers that benefitted from consumers’ rush to stock up at the pandemic’s outset are now seeing significant in-store traffic declines as new safety measures are put in place. Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS), also known as Click and Collect, presents an attractive alternative to crowded grocery stores, long lines/queues and empty shelves.  For as long as concern about the COVID-19 pandemic is top of mind, eCommerce will be a preferred way for grocery customers to shop with safety and social distance in mind.

In order to meet consumer demands for BOPIS amid the COVID-19 crisis, grocers are shifting their focus on stock replenishment and order fulfilment. To accomplish this, grocers are hiring thousands of temporary workers for order picking and curbside delivery to meet this spike in demand for online grocery ordering options.  Retailers face the challenge of equipping this temporary workforce with devices that enable them to reliably and quickly scan items in the order picking process – and smartphone scanning provides a simple and scalable option.

Start by equipping employees with smartphone-based barcode scanning

A seamless BOPIS operation enables your customers to get the items they need from you quickly and more safely. Right now, retailers can easily integrate Scandit’s scanning software into mobile apps on smart devices to enable existing or new employees to fulfil orders, without the need for a dedicated hardware scanner.  Customers can then safely pick-up orders curbside using their own smartphones to complete a contactless proof‑of‑delivery process with a newly developed Scandit Web App.

Scandit enables you to scale-up in-store picking by quickly deploying enterprise-grade data capture software on company-owned or employees’ own smart devices (BYOD-Bring Your Own Device). The benefits of this approach are manifold.  It is easy and inexpensive for retailers to acquire low-cost smartphones compared to procuring expensive dedicated scanners. Having a pool of inexpensive devices enables grocers to scale operations up or down and eliminate the need for workers to share devices. And high‑performance scanning enables employees to fulfil orders faster. This short video demonstrates the seamless efficiency retailers can achieve using Scandit-equipped smartphones for enterprise-grade barcode scanning in an order picking process.

BOPIS will become a bigger part of the “new normal”

Many retailers were already seeing BOPIS (or Click-and-Collect or Curbside Pick-Up) gaining traction as a preferred method of shopping for their customers. According to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), BOPIS increased 50% year-over-year during the 2018 holiday season.  Home Depot in particular, which renovated stores to make room for pick-up lockers and has a holistic, storewide approach to BOPIS, saw 48% of their online sales in 2018 use BOPIS.

With a growing preference for BOPIS already a notable trend, combined with consumers’ desire for safer, contactless shopping methods in light of the pandemic crisis, it’s become essential for retailers with no BOPIS option to develop one and for those who have only dipped their toe in the water with a pilot BOPIS program, to develop a more robust and scalable scheme. And Scandit can help to make this happen.

Extra technical support to help integrate scanning at speed

To assist retailers as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis, Scandit is offering extra technical support to facilitate the rapid integration of enterprise-grade barcode scanning into employee-facing mobile apps.  Our goal is to help any retailer take urgent, decisive action to meet the increase in e-commerce demand and deploy the right solution, right now. Our solution consultants are ready to work with your IT teams to rapidly migrate to a smartphone-based camera solution for your BOPIS process. Contact us and find out what you can do right now.

Posted in Retail