Mobile devices have become tools consumers use every day for on-demand communication, navigation and information. The emergence of a mobile-driven, constantly connected consumer lifestyle has prompted retail to evolve into a new ‘seamless’ model that blends physical and digital channels.

Customers may order in-store for home delivery, order at home for in-store pickup, redeem digital discounts in store, digitally pay in advance for ‘click & collect’ purchases, or engage in countless other combinations of physical and digital shopping.

The seamless model is forcing retailers to streamline workflows and obtain real-time visibility in every area of the enterprise. Here are five key ways retailers can use mobile devices to capture data from product barcodes and use it as the foundation of their seamless retail efforts.

1. Seamless in-store customer service

Store associates can scan products or shelves that need replenishment. Employees can also record the location and availability of items for store-level fulfilment of online orders. This supports seamless retail operations such as click & collect.

However, seamless fulfilment often requires store associates to perform tasks typically associated with the distribution centre. Mobile data capture simplifies these unfamiliar activities. Store associates can also use mobile data capture solutions to perform checkout, provide discounts, look up product information, and create registries.

2. Seamless self-service

A mobile retail app with a scanning feature gives consumers a single tool for automatically selecting virtually any item in their home for purchase or review. Customers can also use at-home scanning for activities such as checking stock levels at local stores, obtaining targeted discounts and reviewing product data.

In the store, mobile data capture can put consumers in charge of tasks such as obtaining product reviews and videos, checking stock, redeeming discounts and coupons, adding items to gift registries, and checking out.

3. Seamless inventory management

Using a smartphone, tablet or wearable device, associates can count and record all of the products distributed across a retailer’s environment. This ensures adequate stock levels and real-time awareness of the availability of inventory for orders.

In addition, automating the inventory management process with mobile data capture greatly reduces the human error associated with manually counting and tracking inventory.

4. Seamless track and trace

Mobile data capture enables retailers to easily track and trace items at any point in the supply chain. Time and location-stamping helps ensure accurate, timely movement of goods through the supply chain.

This real-time track and trace capability is crucial to fulfilling omnichannel customer offerings such as same-day delivery and in-store pickup or exchange of online purchases.

5. Seamless analytics

By applying predictive analytics to how inventory moves from source to end consumer, retailers become better equipped to put the right product in the right store or fulfilment centre at the right time for the right customer to purchase.

This maximises sales as well as in-stock levels. Mobile data capture can also instantly reveal the impact of promotions. Retailers can also apply analytics to broader inventory trends and distribution patterns throughout the enterprise.

Want to find out more about mobile data capture and seamless retail? Download Scandit’s white paper, ‘Enabling Seamless Retail with Mobile Data Capture’.