Best Practice Implementation

Chapter 4

We’ve gathered six best practice tips from our experience implementing smart data capture technology in retail operations:

  1. Identify the use cases that will deliver immediate efficiencies
  2. Take a task-based approach
  3. Make the most of data insight
  4. Focus on user experience to achieve successful user adoption
  5. Implement fast – or take it slow
  6. Choose a solution that grows with you

The use of smartphone apps for retailers has increased massively recently. 80% of large retailers said they arm their associates with mobile devices to perform a variety of tasks, with accessing product information the top one.

Retail Touchpoints Store Operations Survey 2021

1. Identify the use cases that will deliver immediate efficiencies

Consult with employees on the pain points and process changes that will have the biggest impact. Bear in mind, when identifying use cases, some parts of the business might adopt changes more readily. Successful implementations create a ripple effect of positivity for future deployments.

For example, Scandit MatrixScan software reads multiple barcodes in a single scan at high speed, reducing the time spent on tasks like inventory management by up to 40%.

Consider, also, when existing scanning devices are due for replacement. Identifying devices due for a refresh helps to pinpoint processes or parts of the business where device replacement would also generate direct cost savings in hardware.

2. Take a task-based approach

Retailers often have different apps and/or devices for different tasks, which means employees waste valuable time logging-in and out and switching devices multiple times a day. By powering retail operations mobile apps with smart data capture, you can change the way people work so they only need one device to complete multiple tasks.

For example, tasks such as stock checks and stock reordering can be combined into a mobile app powered by Scandit and performed by an employee using just one smartphone. The worker simply scans barcodes on shelves with the device and views an AR-overlay of stock information pulled from back-end systems. They can then quickly update stock data or reorder stock directly from their device.

Price and promotion label execution is another important task that can be completed by using optical character recognition (OCR) that is part of the smart data capture tool kit. With OCR, the AR-overlay highlights any incorrectly priced items, and legal price compliance tasks can be completed at the same time as other tasks, without staff having to do anything extra. Scandit technology can combine barcode scanning with text recognition (OCR) to handle any alphanumeric code, regardless of text size, font or color.

3. Make the most of data insight

Using smart data capture across retail operations is a powerful way to capture and process real-time data from multiple data sources such as SAP, Oracle and other ERP and CRM systems. This creates a single, reliable version of real-time operational information that can be made accessible to all employees and can be used to improve workflows and omnichannel activity.

New real-time data on customer behavioral patterns gives new insight to help retailers design and evaluate promotions, optimize inventory per store or support store layout decisions.

Scandit ShelfView is a cloud-based technology that helps keep track of your shelves by processing and analyzing data at scale by leveraging augmented reality, object recognition, object identification, and OCR.

Using ShelfView you can automatically integrate data from mobile scanning apps into ERP systems and use it to update stock quantities directly from the aisles, including the use of information about expired or damaged products.

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers

The Enterprisers Project

4. Focus on user experience to achieve successful user adoption

The successful deployment of smart data capture into retail operations largely depends on user adoption, which in turn relies on a superior user experience.

There are a number of factors to consider in the implementation plan:

Select the right device for the situation

A tablet device may be suitable for an employee whose primary role is clienteling, where the large screen helps employees visualize a customer’s purchase history and display relevant product information at a glance. For tasks like order picking, or for an employee handling multiple tasks, a smaller smartphone which keeps one hand free might work best.

A high-end mobile device may be preferred for advanced functionality like Scandit MatrixScan, which scans multiple barcodes in a single sequence and is ideal for shelf optimization. A similar device would be perfect when using augmented reality overlays to display real-time product information for customer assistance.

Build a responsive app with a user-friendly interface

Make the transition to new ways of working easy for employees. Ensure apps work equally well on the different devices used by different employees in different situations – e.g. smartphones and tablets.

Configure and customize the UI (user interface) to make tasks seamless – think speed and simplicity. For example, which style of viewfinder suits the barcode symbologies commonly scanned and do they need sound alerts or a toolbar?

Ensure the scanning works first time, every time, in all conditions

It sounds obvious, but if the scanning engine throws up mis-scans or failed scans, users will soon lose confidence and get frustrated.

To avoid this, you need a solution which will cope with difficult scanning conditions, such as damaged barcodes in a stockroom, scanning items at extreme angles or on high shelves, so that employees aren’t slowed down by having to perfectly align barcodes to devices to get a successful scan.

Scandit software consistently outperforms dedicated scanners in challenging conditions.

Provide suitable Wi-Fi connectivity

Don’t let your retail operations efficiency, or a great employee scanning app, suffer from a simple lack of network connectivity in-store or in the back-of-house.

Accurate real-time data is crucial for a seamless omnichannel experience so ensure that you have adequate connectivity, so that the expected number of employees can use the app at the same time, at full functionality.

5. Implement fast – or take it slow

Introducing Scandit Smart Data Capture does not involve ripping-out shelves or installing costly fixed infrastructure. Our software is designed specifically for use on everyday smart devices, and easily integrates with existing IT infrastructure such as back-office ERP systems.

The decision about how quickly to implement across retail operations is driven by business goals. Some retailers take a phased approach to digital transformation. They re-engineer retail operations over time, after new ways of working are fully embedded and learnings from each phase can be incorporated into the next phase. Others take a different approach, preferring a faster change program.

Most projects involve a pilot of one or a few use cases which are then rolled out to all appropriate users after making any necessary adjustments. New use cases are then added when the business is ready. This could be using the same technology or by deploying new functionality, such as AR, OCR or MatrixScan.

6. Choose a solution that grows with you

Retailers take on more staff for different reasons, whether it’s new staff to sustain growth or temporary staff during peak seasonal trading. Any scanning solution therefore needs to be scalable at speed. Scandit technology is designed for use on everyday smartphones, which means more users can be added easily, quickly and cost-effectively.

Equally, as your business evolves, so will your technology needs. Having implemented a smart data capture platform with Scandit, future implementation of new use cases and new technology can be undertaken rapidly and with ease.

“With the introduction of smartphones and MatrixScan, we are taking a big step forward in further digitizing our processes. Scandit gives us a future-proof solution for barcode scanning that is easy to use, fast, and very efficient.”

Roman Melcher, Manager of dm-drogerie markt GmbH + Co. KG