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Mobile Technology: How Retailers Can Prepare for the Return to “Normal” Featured

Mobile Technology: How Retailers Can Prepare for the Return to “Normal” man holding a smartphone near the window

A major concern for many businesses today is weathering the COVID-19 crisis. It has disrupted everything from supply chains to consumer spending and pushed companies to deploy business continuity plans. For many companies, COVID-19 has unexpectedly demonstrated the importance of managing critical supply chains using the right technology. 

Unfortunately, no one is going back to “business as usual.” Those who previously hesitated in investing in automation are now fast-tracking their companies through digital strategies to survive the current climate and prepare for life after COVID-19.

Here are a few mobile technologies and IoT solutions retailers can invest in that will allow them to stay operational as the lasting impacts of social distancing guidelines, remote work and minimum human interaction continue post-pandemic.

Integrate new technologies to address the new shopping experience

As states across the U.S. have begun reopening stores, retailers are preparing to implement new in-store technologies that will allow consumers to feel safe making a purchase with as little human contact as possible. Retailers planning to integrate in-store technologies such as self-checkouts, digital displays, smart mirrors, beacons and self-service kiosks, need to ensure these technologies are properly setup and managed with an integrated mobility and IoT management platform on the backend. This includes extending their new technology across other channels, such as supply chain providers and to in-store employees. 

Consumers are already open to adjusting to a new retail reality. According to SOTI’s Connected Retailer survey, 77% of consumers would be comfortable in a retail setting where only self-checkout is offered. These promising figures hint at current consumer comfort levels and their willingness to shop in retail stores while maintaining a safe social distance. The numbers are only expected to increase as COVID-19 shows no signs of slowing. Retailers must anticipate this to manage their supply chain processes accordingly. 

Real-time inventory management helps retailers plan with their supply chain for anticipated demand

Supply chains will need to perform inventory checks, automate orders once high-demand stock is low, receive orders and track them – among other business-critical tasks.

The right mobility and IoT management solution can help retailers and their supply chains stay compliant, streamline operations, and eliminate the downtime of devices, all while providing better customer service. It’s important for in-store devices and IoT endpoints to work when and how they’re supposed to, with the ability to remotely diagnose, troubleshoot and fix any tech issues, and configure new in-store devices with speed and ease. This peace of mind will allow retailers to focus on what they do best: delivering amazing and safe shopping experiences to their customers. 

Track-and-trace technology no longer a “luxury” for logistics providers

The pandemic has proven that being able to accurately oversee product fulfillment and delivery on a 24/7 basis is vital to managing supply chain performance and keeping customers happy. Supply chains need to be reimagined in new ways, with a strong focus on mobility for resilient and sustainable operations through economic or social disruptions like the novel coronavirus. Companies operating in a mobile-first environment have the ability to build apps faster and more cost-effectively, securely manage their mobile devices and IoT endpoints, have mobile tech issues resolved remotely, and get actionable data insights to improve their business operations.

It’s never too late for businesses to adjust. Retailers who use this time wisely to plan their mobile strategy will create an invaluable opportunity to outpace their competition once regular business operation resumes.

Ryan Webber, Senior VP of Enterprise Mobility, SOTI

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