GUEST COMMENT How can UK retailers use technology to help shoppers during the cost of living crisis?

Jessica Grisolia is a Senior Manager, Industrial Solutions Management at Scandit

The weekly grocery store has become a struggle to find the best price. With UK food price inflation at the highest level since the 2008 global financial crisis, and UK shoppers facing a £454 increase in their annual grocery bills, it’s time retailers find innovative ways to help.

Delivering promotions at speed will be essential to winning and retaining customers, but retailers need the right infrastructure to support store associates in this mission. In the global market for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), 44% of products are increasing in price. In response, retailers need to show their customers that they can still offer great value, despite inflationary pressures.

The lure of bargains is just one piece of the puzzle. To engage shoppers and keep them coming back for more, retailers need to focus on offering the right product variety, quality and personalized rewards, delivering a true omnichannel experience.

Promotion errors break customer trust

For retailers to implement a new pricing and promotion strategy, it is vital that they are able to keep track of what is on their shelves, stock levels and in-store price tags. Stock checks, price changes and applying discounts are often done manually by store associates scanning each individual item, however this can be complex and time consuming. This results in unavoidable human error as staff cannot accurately update offers and promotions for thousands of SKUs.

Even with the best will in the world, mistakes go unnoticed, causing customer friction and problems at the checkout. With budgets tighter than ever, not honoring promotions at checkout erodes customer confidence. In fact, one report showed that 57% of customers are losing faith in retailers due to inconsistent and inaccurate pricing, and four out of five are unwilling to shop at the same store again if they are overcharged. . When competition for customer loyalty and pressure on margins are at an all-time high, retailers can’t afford to miss out on valuable sales opportunities and lose customers forever.

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However, retailers can ensure that promotions and discounts are applied accurately through the use of smart data capture technology. By ditching cumbersome legacy scanning equipment for existing smart devices whose user interfaces are second nature to employees, time-consuming tasks are transformed. With smartphone scanning, store associates can simply scan entire shelves to see real-time stock levels, automate stock counts, and make it easy for any staff member to handle price and promotion updates.

Retailers get personal

Accurately placed, priced, and promoted inventory is key to delivering a consistent customer experience in-store and online. Extending smart capture technology to customers is an innovative way to increase brand loyalty and personalize their experience online and offline, while driving increased sales. When successfully delivered, personalized promotions can provide a 4-8% uplift in sales by matching predefined offers to customers who are most likely to purchase them.

For example, UK convenience store leader Nisa leveraged smart data capture technology in its Scan & Save mobile app-based coupon system. When shopping in store, customers can benefit from exclusive promotions through an AR overlay, where they can then save and redeem directly from their mobile device. The app allows customers to pay through their device’s NFC technology and offers personalized campaigns based on their profile, shopping habits and location.

Pricing and promotion are a core part of employees’ daily tasks and must be delivered accurately and quickly. New grocery omnichannel requirements have increased the demands on store associates to multitask, and retailers must provide the right tools to keep pace. Smart data capture technology and tools give staff the support they need and customers the promotions they demand. Retailers must support customers during these tough economic times or risk losing them forever.

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Jessica Grisolia is a Senior Manager, Industrial Solutions Management at Scandit

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