No one can deny the pandemic reshaped the way consumers shop. More people are buying online, and the trend looks set to stay.
According to Scandit’s latest US retail research, omnichannel services like BOPIS and Curbside Pickup have increased an average of 97% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Crucially, consumers no longer make a distinction between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping.
So, delivering a seamless end-to-end omnichannel experience is more critical than ever. And this is placing enormous pressure on physical retail stores to get their fulfilment act together.
In partnership with VDC Research, Scandit surveyed US retail executives about their future investment priorities and ways they have scaled order fulfilment and omnichannel services since the pandemic.
This blog highlights key findings from the US retail industry report “How The Pandemic Reshaped In-Store Order Fulfillment”.
The priorities for omnichannel retail investment
Retailers are increasing omnichannel retail investments to improve customer experiences across multiple channels.
In fact, according to bigcommerce.com, 46% of retail executives plan to increase their investment in omnichannel retailing moving forward, compared to their plans prior to Covid-19.
Scandit’s US omnichannel report revealed the top investment priorities:
This goal of expanding digital sales is a trend among many US retailers, but none more so than Target. They plan to spend about $4 billion a year for the next few years on e-commerce infrastructure among other things.
Even before the pandemic, Target upgraded their e-commerce apparatus to support a 145% increase in digital sales.
This allowed the business to hit a $10 billion milestone in 2020. Between Curbside Pickup, In-store Pickup, and Same-day Delivery, stores handled about 90% of Target’s e-commerce last year.
The focus for ‘highly agile’ retailers
#1 Priority investment: Integrating e-commerce and store systems
Retail organisations in the study, that considered themselves to be highly agile in response to the pandemic, said that integrating e-commerce store systems was a top investment priority.
System integration is a big part of end-to-end e-commerce fulfilment and ultimately happy customers.
Scandit-enabled store associate apps on everyday smartphones are an easy way to integrate in-store order fulfilment technology with front and back-end systems.
Integration can be as little as a week or slightly longer depending on the configurations required.
#2 Priority investment: Improving in-store inventory visibility
This second priority for omnichannel retail investment recognises the critical fulfilment role physical stores play in e-commerce. From accurate warehouse inventory to stock on the shelves, clear visibility of inventory is vital for fulfilling orders.
Potentially, every store associate when equipped with a scanning-enabled smartphone can monitor stock levels, both front and back-of-house.
Scandit’s enterprise-grade software turns any smart camera-enabled device into a reliable high-performance data capture tool, so staff can flexibly switch between daily tasks to meet fulfilment demands.
Employees can capture barcodes from multiple items on a shelf in a single scan with 100% accuracy and view real-time stock information on the device screen using MatrixScan AR.
Scaling store associate resources with flexible technology
Customer satisfaction is only achieved if online sales are fulfilled accurately.
Retailers recognize this and the increasingly critical role of store associate scanning devices in their omnichannel strategy.
This is the main reason retailers are shifting away from shared devices to more cost-efficient smartphones (3x less the total cost of ownership) to do in store fulfilment tasks.
In a standard shift, store associates deal with all types of fulfilment tasks including order picking and customer service tasks like click & collect.
Using a single device enabled with Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK, employees can seamlessly switch between these tasks. Watch this video to see how easy it is to pick products from the shelves using smartphone scanning:
And with consumer expectations on the rise for next day and even same day pick up – whether curbside pick-up or click & collect – retailers are turning to smartphone scanning with the addition of technology like Scandit’s MatrixScan AR to help.
Employees can scan multiple orders in one go and identify a customer’s order in seconds. See how quickly:
According to Inmar Intelligence, 300 US-based grocery and retail brand executives (middle-management and higher), 89% are actively improving in-store and online experiences for shoppers.
As these and other retailers evolve their omnichannel plans for the future, they are turning to technology to help fulfil the customer journey. Flexible and intuitive smartphone scanning from Scandit can help take them there. One device for all store associate fulfillment tasks.