It’s no secret that times have been tough, but fashion retailers are already taking steps to adapt to a very different landscape, reshaping operations and accelerating digital transformation to handle whatever is coming next.

There have been a host of challenges: new hygiene measures, the rise of eCommerce, digital escalation, evolving consumer demands, and omni-channel retail. To tackle these, fashion brands need to think and do things differently. And fashion retailers understand the need to stay current.

Here we highlight how smartphones, and specifically mobile scanning, helps to:

  • Safely engage and delight customers
  • Boost staff efficiency and satisfaction
  • Make a meaningful impact on the bottom line.

1. The future of retail is already in your hands - the smartphone

It’s hard to overstate how significant an innovation the smartphone has been. Retail, and society itself, is being transformed in its image.

“We are in the first decade of a century long shift, where retail is re-organizing from the automobile (the 20th century) to the smartphone (the 21st century).”
Andy Dunn, Founder, Bonobos

mPOS smartphone

Shopping in the fashion and lifestyle space has undergone major shifts:

  1. Towns were born as marketplaces – Local network of producers, with towns as the focal point for commercial and cultural life.
  2. 20th Century retail oriented itself around the car – Suburbia, retail parks, malls, and big box retail.
  3. 21st Century retail reorients itself around the smartphone – eCommerce and mCommerce continue to grow, need to cater for delivery, on-demand, smaller more frequent shopping trips.
  4. Now, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 – temporary stores closures, lower footfall and the need to make physical stores COVID-secure.  More focus on eCommerce and order fulfillment, shift from dwell to sell with safety conscious shoppers,  increase in consumer adoption of services like click-and-collect and self-scanning.

Life has gone mobile and the way people shop is part of this transformation. People across all demographics are increasingly mobile-centric.  All of our interactions are based around the ubiquitous smartphone in your hand – and Scandit mobile computer vision software helps retailers take advantage of this fact to solve the challenges you face.

2. Transforming the retail experience - for customers and employees

The focus on mobile in people’s lives, from their social life to their work, with apps for just about everything they do, is key to understanding how much smartphones and mobile scanning can reshape fashion retail.

Savvy retailers are focusing on blending the physical and digital worlds to bring the best of the online shopping experience to their stores.

Smartphones and scanning have already transformed the wider retail landscape today for customers and employees alike:

Customers can check their shopping list, scan items as they go, then pay and collect loyalty points – all using shopping apps on their smartphones.

Customers can look up product information and reviews by web searching or scanning product barcodes on smartphones, comparing items while in store to make informed choices.

Customers increasingly look for superior experiences that blend the sophistication and personalization of online shopping when in store.

Employees don’t want to use technology at work that is inflexible, cumbersome and not as slick as their personal devices.

Employees don’t want to share devices for hygiene reasons – or spend time continually cleaning them.

Employees become more productive, engaged and happier in their work when using stylish, multi-functional consumer smart-devices during shifts.

This shift is already happening.  And the pandemic has only accelerated the need to embrace digital and mobile, as consumer priorities adapt and evolve. In a recent McKinsey & Company State of Fashion report they believe we’re seeing a ‘digital escalation’, elevating digital to an urgent priority across the whole value chain in fashion.

“Industry leaders will need to get comfortable with uncertainty and ramp up future-proofing efforts as the potential for further outbreaks and lockdowns loom.”
State of Fashion coronavirus update, April 2020 McKinsey & Company

Successful brands recognise the impact of the smartphone and are proactively evolving, building modern and mobile retail experiences, acting and adapting at speed.

With Scandit software, any camera-enabled mobile device is transformed into a high performance barcode scanner and augmented reality (AR) tool.

Retailers can enable consumer and employee apps for a range of fashion shopping journeys, effectively blending digital technology with physical store environments, without needing to rip out and replace existing infrastructures.

3. Improve customer engagement in-store

In the new normal, the emphasis has shifted from dwell to sell. Rather than leisurely browsing, many shoppers want to get in and out, with less interactions and exposure. Enabling people to use the smartphones in their pockets to retrieve information on items or make purchases themselves becomes incredibly valuable.

of millennials want to know what goes into products and how they are made before they buy.
Turn Smartphones into Personal Shoppers with Scan-enabled Apps

A great mobile self-scanning experience, instant access to product information and personalized promotions can bring a new level of engagement and convenience to shoppers in your retail aisles, boosting customer satisfaction, conversions and revenues.

  • Create more contactless shopping experiences.  Shoppers scan products as they browse and check-out in their own time with an app on their personal smart device, without waiting in line.
  • Shopping apps display useful product information on smartphones with a quick scan – size options, delivery options, sustainability and more.
  • AR overlays create e-commerce style experiences in store, displaying reviews or personalized offers on screen.
  • Never get to the till with an incorrectly priced item.  Correct prices can be verified in sales season by scanning the label and seeing the real-time price in an AR overlay.

4. Optimize interactions and bust queues with mPOS

Retailers must ask themselves – ‘How are we engaging and empowering our salesforce, and ultimately our customers, via mobile?’

Mobile technology enables retailers to:

  • Make employees’ jobs more efficient and more enjoyable.
  • Improve the customer experience to drive more sales.

Scanning is an essential activity, with many tasks like shelf management or mobile point of sale requiring hundreds of scans per employee per day.

Fashion retailers might typically have a handful of hardware scanners in each store today, shared by staff due to the expense.  With Scandit technology, every member of staff can be equipped with a smartphone which is capable of matching fast and accurate scanning performance due to the lower device cost.

Delight customers by putting information at your employees fingertips

Consider this everyday example: a customer walking into a store and being unable to find an item of clothing in their size and colour.  This often results in an ineffective and disappointing interaction between buyer and sales assistant.

  • The customer approaches an assistant to request a particular item.
  • The sales assistant goes to a back office or stock room to check availability on a PC.
  • The customer is waiting, unsure if the employee will return with what they want or how long they should wait.
  • Meanwhile the sales assistant must check availability and find the item, wondering if the customer is still waiting, has moved or has even left the store.
  • If the employee can’t find them again, it’s perceived as bad service, while the employee feels their time has been wasted.

Speed and service are even more crucial in the post-pandemic landscape, as customers want to get in, get what they need and leave – without dwelling (find out more about this trend).  By using scanning-enabled smartphones, a sales assistant instead scans the desired item and checks in real-time for the relevant information on the spot. They don’t have to leave the customer’s side, unless it’s because they are actually going to retrieve the item.

Even if that item isn’t available, the assistant can alert the customer if it’s in stock in a different branch nearby or if it’s available for home delivery, potentially saving a sale.

Make checkout contactless with mobile POS

No one likes queuing, even more so in today’s environment. Maintaining social distancing during checkout is especially challenging for fashion stores, who often can have multiple tills in close proximity. Anything you can do to alleviate this is key.

Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) helps fashion retailers short on space say goodbye to long lines.

of shoppers said social distancing at checkout-tills was the safety measure they most desired – BrandsEye, 2020

Scandit scanning technology supports fast and easy retail point-of-sale transactions on mobile devices anywhere in store. This could be on specific pop up tables to supplement fixed tills or enabling employees to take payments in aisles while interacting with customers or when they see queues building up.

A barcode scanning-enabled smart device, integrated with your mPOS solution, cuts waiting times and reduces the costs of checkout infrastructure and staff. mPOS is a flexible technology that can be implemented quickly, without much fuss. It’s a fast, versatile solution that can be adapted or removed as the COVID-secure guidelines evolve.

Speed up stock management and price verification on the shop floor

Manual processes for updating prices and discounts can be inefficient. During sales prices often fluctuate, forcing staff to walk around checking printed price lists against labels to verify them.

Replace this with a scanning-enabled smartphone app integrated with pricing management systems instead:

  • Employees simply scan the label and confirm if the reduced price is right in real-time.
  • No more frustrated customers getting to the till with an incorrectly priced item.
  • Consumers can verify the price on their phone without having to check with an associate.
  • For staff, it’s a more streamlined, accurate and less cumbersome process.

Performance is the key factor underpinning the quality of staff and customer experiences. Scandit’s software delivers enterprise-grade scanning, is compatible with over 20,000 smart devices, and is fast and accurate – with the unmatched ability to scan in bad light, at any angle and even with damaged or obscured labels.

With Scandit, smart devices can scan all major barcode types, including 1D and 2D barcode symbologies – unlike legacy scanners. This will become increasingly essential as legislation shifts towards making the origin of goods traceable by adding DataMatrix codes on product packaging.

By moving routine processes and tasks onto mobile devices using barcode scanning-enabled apps, retailers can unlock efficiency and help staff be happier and more satisfied in their jobs.

5. Seamless integration into omnichannel retail environments

As stores reopen, some are remaining ‘dark’ to serve growing online demand. Dark stores promise more cost effective, efficient e-commerce fulfilment.

It’s win-win for retailers and customers – if your inventory data is up-to-date.

Given the high cost of a traditional Hand-Held Scanner (HHT), most retailers never have enough devices in store, and as a result, stock counting is often compromised. Store stock positions often remain inaccurate for the purposes of stock replenishment and fulfillment.

Streamline efficiency with mobile barcode scanning and AR

Give multiple employees scanning-enabled smart devices integrated with backend systems, and as they fulfill orders, your inventory levels are constantly updated with every scan.

Ultimately, by putting more devices in more pairs of hands, retailers can achieve far greater stock accuracy with staff carrying out rolling stock and inventory counts.

Scandit’s MatrixScan software can also quickly capture data from multiple barcodes in a single scan, reducing time on inventory management by up to 40%.  Boxes of items can be scanned and booked into the stock room in one go. It’s a real time-saver.

6. Proven innovation without disruption

In the mobile-first world, with unpredictable changes and with the pressure to remain competitive in the face of digital transformation, the ability to have scanning on any camera-enabled smart device is fast becoming a game changer. Scandit technology allows retailers to explore numerous possibilities to enhance interactions with consumers and empower employees.

These are just a few of the ways Scandit can deliver incredible cost benefits to fashion retailers keen to capitalise on a mobile-centric world without breaking the bank.

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