End-user experience critical to project’s success 

The Challenge 

With thousands of stores across the East Coast, this major grocery retailer has been an industry leader in buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), and the omnichannel customer experience benefits it brings. To maximize efficiency, associates wear a mobile device strapped to a forearm that’s connected to a wearable ring barcode scanner. This leaves their hands free as they collect items that a shopper has ordered online.  

Just months before the pandemic hit, the company learned that the mobile devices it’d been using were being discontinued. With curbside pickup demand skyrocketing after March 2020, it temporarily began buying reconditioned and used devices to expand its capabilities, but a long-term solution with next-generation devices had to be found. 

The Ask 

Stratix assisted in developing and executing an objective vendor evaluation process to select replacement technology for the BOPIS operations. In addition to cost and availability considerations, the company was very focused on the end-user experience as its associates wear the devices for an entire work shift in many cases. Therefore, the solution had to be rugged, reliable, lightweight, and not too bulky. The potential to use the devices for other functions like warehouse operations was also a factor. Multiple OEMs who offer technology compatible with the company’s needs participated and submitted their proposal. 

The Solution 

After a thorough evaluation, finalist OEMs were asked to provide samples for associates to test in the field. Based on their feedback, the company selected Zebra TC52 devices paired with Bluetooth RS5100 ring scanners. Compared to scanners wired to a device, the testers liked the option of being able to put the device on one arm and the scanner on the other hand. The TC52 also offered the optimal size and comfort to the end users. The company also felt that the Zebra device was best suited to multiple use cases going forward. 

Stratix has procured over 2,500 device/scanner kits to date for the customer that were configured and deployed to stores across the East Coast. The solution includes 24/7 help desk support, advanced exchange with device spare pool management, rapid repair turnaround, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) services. 

The Result 

Partnering with Stratix has given the company a next-generation replacement for its BOPIS devices that improve its omnichannel retail capabilities. In addition to the 2,500-plus kits already purchased, more are expected as the solution expands within existing stores and additional stores are added to the program. Like most grocery retailers, the company saw exponential BOPIS growth in 2020, and now sales figures for 2021 are exceeding prior forecasts.  The company is already actively running pilot programs for other use cases for the Zebra devices and plans to deploy those solutions to more stores.