The 'Convenience' Behind Mobility and Kiosks

ticle by Zebra on CSNews Retail Technology. Shortening time for customer checkout and enabling your own sales labor force to be more effective are the twin points.
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By Marty Johnson, Zebra Technologies

As technology advances at a rapid pace, the retail business landscape including that of convenience stores continues to change. Over the last decade, day-to-day business operations have transformed with the advent of mobility and self-service. Retailers are working to stay ahead of the technology curve and meet new customer demands and buying habits.

C-stores are adopting mobile printing technology, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and self-service kiosks because of the increased return-on-investment (ROI) they provide, such as reduced operational costs, redistributed resources to maximize employee time and streamlined operations.

Going Mobile in a C-store
According to RIS News' 2011 Retail Spending Trends survey, approximately 63 percent of retailers are actively involved with a mobile point-of-sale (POS) and are incorporating mobility into their in-store processes. This type of project can include upgrading a POS terminal with advanced printers and scanners, or equipping associates with a mobile device that offers a full-service checkout experience at the customer's convenience. However, leveraging mobile technology within retail extends further than updating POS terminals.

In any retail environment, inventory management is key and it's no different for c-stores, especially given the smaller space for products on the floor and stockroom merchandise. As such, inventory management systems are crucial for c-stores to optimize the limited space they have, ensuring just the right amount of merchandise is on hand at any given time. Further, maintaining an accurate, real-time view of inventory is the foundation to meeting sales goals, preserving margins and exceeding customer expectations.

A mobile printing solution that prints real-time information on demand and can relay information to multiple parties simultaneously is one way to streamline the inventory management process. Wireless printers -- specifically handheld devices -- reduce the speed-to-shelf time, from as much as 10 weeks to one week. Speed-to-shelf time is the process by which new products are restocked on stores shelves, in order to maintain a full inventory. C-store managers have increased visibility on inventory levels, preventing a limited or excess stock amount.

Another benefit of retail mobile solutions is real-time information exchange between delivery person and distribution centers. This communication can dramatically improve retailers' direct-store-delivery process. For instance, consider a beverage distributor that delivers soft drinks to a chain of c-stores. When the delivery person enters the store location, he/she can move from aisle to aisle scanning every item specific to that beverage distributor that is currently on the shelf. Once all the appropriate store items are scanned, if any item is missing or needs to be replenished from the existing store inventory, a delivery receipt, invoice or other documentation related to the order and delivery, is printed on the spot. The product information is then relayed back to the distribution warehouse, immediately locating that individual item for restock and inclusion in the next scheduled delivery.

Implementing mobile technology enables workers to complete tasks in a shorter amount of time and ensures top-line inventory management.

Self-Service and Convenience Meet....

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This page contains a single entry by Staff published on February 4, 2012 9:54 AM.

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