Every year around the holidays, there are countless debates regarding who needs to be hired to meet increasing consumer demand. Here’s why you should place more emphasis on how to improve the customer shopping experience instead.
Retail Shopping Data: In-Store Shopping is Thriving
Consumers are not avoiding traditional brick and mortar stores for online shopping, despite the perception that e-commerce giants like Amazon are dominating everything. In fact, what you might assume about in-store vs. online shopping is actually the direct opposite, as outlined by Forbes in March:
- 71% of shoppers spent $50 or more in-store (only 54% online)
- 74% of shoppers have admitted to retail therapy, or in-store “stress shopping”
- 89% of women and 78% of men who visit physical stores add additional items to their cart beyond their initial shopping need (compared to 77% women and 67% men adding more items to their cart online)
- 41% of global shoppers shop in-store at least once a week
- 71% of shoppers choose in-store pickup to avoid online shopping shipping costs
In-store shopping is thriving. With the busy holiday season approaching, the need for additional seasonal staff and more efficient in-store processes is stronger than ever.
As retailers ramp up their staff with temporary hires, the technology being used at every touch point should feel familiar and not require a computer science degree to operate.
Well-trained staff using the most efficient technology, such as modern retail scanners, will mean the difference between delivering an outstanding customer experience that generates positive word of mouth, reviews, and brand loyalty vs. an experience that is jarring and at worst, unforgivable.
Great. So how do retailers get there?
In-Store Technology Should Delight Customers and Empower Employees
What does a mature technology ecosystem look like at stores that are getting omnichannel retail right?
An unforgettable shopping experience is one that is convenient, pleasant, and free of barriers.
Mobile retail technology helps brands control consumer satisfaction down to every last touch point.
While we use a clothing store as an example, this philosophy applies to grocery stores and
home improvement chains alike.
Example 1 – An associate with a tablet can remotely search the stock room for the exact size of jeans that isn’t in the front of the store, without leaving the customer behind.
Example 2 – The customer has the stack of “keeper” items they’re ready to buy. The same associate can check the consumer out right there, without a long wait at the register.
Example 3 – Any associate can retrieve real-time in-store inventory data, without relying on last week’s manual inventory counts. A customer calling in to see if they should bother stopping at the store on their way home from work loves this.
Example 4 – An online order requesting in-store pickup just came in. The associate on the floor can begin packaging the items and use voice over communication to instruct a colleague in the stockroom to retrieve the last remaining item from location x. Less wasted time for in-store employees often leads to better service for customers at both ends.
Example 5 – What about returns after the holidays? AIDC technology helps make reverse logistics easier to manage. Scanning returned items in front will automatically update available inventory. Better scanners speed the process up, so your return lines move faster and customers are less annoyed. That same customer may decide to linger in the store longer or consider exchanging for a different item if they know the return process is really easy.
25% reduction in out of stocks. 20% increase in labor productivity. 99% on-shelf compliance. The list goes on at what you can achieve with the right technology in place.
If you want to provide a shopping experience that delights customers and employees alike, a mature technology ecosystem supported by AIDC devices will deliver the biggest ROI. An omnichannel shopping experience is only as good as the technology supporting it.
Why It’s Time to Refresh In-Store Mobile Devices
Many retailers rely on legacy hardware (barcode scanners, handheld terminals, point of sale systems, computers, and printers) that has worked well for five, ten, even twenty years.
Frankly, quality, reliable support for legacy technology is limited. When the OEMs for those devices stop supporting the model you have in hundreds of stores, you’re more likely to run into issues that could have been avoided.
Support for Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile OS Ended in January 2020
The mobile operating systems that run your inventory, process transactions, and store critical data are about to be out of date in January. Windows has announced end of life for both Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile. When support ends for Windows’ mobile operating systems, the risk of device failures, security breaches, and integrations with other systems goes way up. All of these things require additional resources you never planned for, just to keep your technology functioning. That’s not acceptable.
Android is the New Sheriff in Town
Android is the new sheriff in town, and there really isn’t a viable alternative. The smartest long-term investment you can make is in new hardware that is compatible with the latest Android software.
While most leading mobile device OEMs offer Android-ready retail solutions, we recommend Honeywell.
Honeywell’s Retail Scanner Solutions are a Clear Winner
The latest devices from Honeywell have guaranteed support through Android 13. The latest Android OS is Pie, so you’re looking at an investment that is protected for the next 5 – 10 years. We have yet to see a similar promise from other leading mobile device OEMs.
Mobility Edge from Honeywell syncs all your devices on one platform. Future device deployments are easier. Devices are optimized to run faster and last longer. Most importantly, Honeywell devices have the most up-to-date security patches and versions of Android running.
Carlton, a Honeywell Platinum Partner, makes migrating to Android easier than ever.
Best Retail Scanners and Mobility Devices by Environment
Each device is designed with a specific use case and environment in mind. Here is a quick guide of the best retail mobility devices by environment.
While we lead with Honeywell devices in each category, we make recommendations based on the best solution for your business. Please contact us for a more customized approach and pricing.
Retail Scanners for the Store Floor – CT40
The CT40 is pocketable, light, and familiar to use. Its full touch screen and integration with other in-store devices makes it an easily scalable solution. Less time training temp employees. It’s ready to go.
Retail Scanners and Handhelds for the Backroom – CT60
The CT60 is the more rugged, performance-optimized sibling of the CT40. It’s ideal for high traffic backroom environments and built to last.
Retail Scanners at the Register – Xenon XP 1950g and 1952g
The Xenon XP is one of the industry’s best selling 2D area imagers. It reads barcodes on cell phone screens better than competing devices. It’s fast. And the 1950g and 1952g scanners are battery free. Xenons typically only need sixty seconds to charge before they’re ready to scan again.
Retail Mobile Printers – RP2 & RP4
One of the only mobile printers with hot-swappable batteries. Print both receipts and labels without worrying about capacity and constant media refilling. Goal-based analytics tied into the Honeywell Operational Intelligence platform help keep you in the loop about real-time printer performance. 6.6 foot drop test and 1,000 tumbles later, these printers are ready for everything a store throws their way.
The Future of Retail is Possible This Holiday Season
A strategic approach to retail technology plays a major role in moving more merchandise, improving the customer experience, and capturing critical data that helps make smarter decisions as consumer demands grow in volume and complexity.
Working with a trusted partner like Carlton just might be the “secret sauce” to taking your stores to the next level.
Your omnichannel retail experience is only as good as the barcode scanners, printers, mobile computers, and handheld equipment supporting it. Do you have the right resources in place? Let’s talk.