Are Retailers Prepared for the Return to Bricks and Mortar This Holiday Season?

Are Retailers Prepared for the Return to Bricks and Mortar This Holiday Season?

By Shash Anand, SVP of Product Strategy, SOTI

The holiday season is once again upon us and brick-and-mortar stores will need to be ready to address consumer expectations of a hassle-free, streamlined shopping experience. Are they ready?

Forcing shoppers to deal with long lines and inadequate customer service during the holidays will test the loyalty of your customers and possibly damage your brand. With the amount of foot traffic expected to increase this year with less pandemic-related restrictions, it’s time for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores to reassess the shopping experience they provide to their customers – especially during this critical shopping season.

To do so, the retail industry needs to modernize, particularly in how they track and manage the effectiveness of their mobile devices. These form a critical link from shippers to warehouse workers to customer-facing staff on the store floor. An effective Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) strategy, that gives you full visibility into your business-critical mobile operations plays a critical role to ensure your organization has the tools and structure to form that critical link within the supply chain. According to SOTI’s report, 67% of shoppers stated that they believe retailers who use mobile tech provide a faster shopping experience. Additionally, 47% of consumers stated that self-checkout improves their in-store shopping experience. 

Mobile Tech for a Merrier Holiday Shopping Experience

Interactive mobile technology like self-service kiosks, barcode scanners, digital signage and sensors provide a personalized experience, directing customers to the products they are looking for. This not only helps relieve the burden on busy staff but also ensures correct product information is given to shoppers. 

Retailers, however, need to have full visibility into their entire operations to create a truly seamless experience for both workers and customers. A major issue seen over the past number of years is understanding stock levels and where items are in the supply chain. Retailers have seen inventory discrepancies as big as 25%, which leads to disastrous shopping experiences. Customers search and find products online, only to discover the item is out of stock when they arrive in-store to purchase it or the retailer has miscalculated delivery time.

Furthermore, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), trailer tracking and tracing systems help by providing real-time visibility into critical aspects of a supply chain, significantly reducing the number of unexpected delays. The problem is that companies can’t see what’s happening across the ever-increasing number of devices in the field. A device’s battery may be low, resulting in the need to change the device at an inopportune time or the battery having to be replaced. A delivery driver, warehouse worker or store staff may have forgotten to take a device or obtained a faulty one, resulting in potentially hours of downtime to retrieve a new device.

A remote access and monitoring platform like SOTI XSight, allows companies to understand when an issue occurs and solve it remotely in real-time, monitor device performance day-to-day and improve future device performance based on rich data and analytics. For example, SOTI XSight provides metrics regarding battery health data so workers can ensure their devices are performing at maximum capability.   

Post-Holiday Returns

The wave of post-holidays returns is inevitable even more so with the continued adoption of e-commerce and needs to be considered as part of a retailer’s overall brand experience. Quick and seamless returns are key, and an effective EMM strategy plays a critical role here too.

For example, trackable RFID tags provide the ability to track products and are particularly useful for many alternative return methods, like curbside drop-off. With the ability to monitor all remote devices across touchpoints, retailers can have an accurate line-of-sight on when a package will be returned. This allows managers to know when to pull staff onto “return duty” when the items arrive. This also eliminates staff waiting around due to potential delays, or inadvertently leaving items unattended on the curb. Additionally, consider real-time geolocation, which enables customers to track your return pickup vehicle in real-time.

How SOTI XSight Empowers Smooth Holiday Shopping

With SOTI XSight, retailers benefit from diagnostic intelligence, enabling them to use readily accessible data to make smart decisions regarding the effective use of their devices. Lack of vital information about your mobile devices can cause unnecessary device downtime for prolonged periods due to IT teams not having visibility into business-critical issues. However, integrating a solution like SOTI XSight into your infrastructure allows IT specialists to pull critical data about mobile devices. Such as battery health, device performance, data usage and signal strength analytics, ensuring your technology will run smoothly when it’s needed most.

In addition, managers and head office can be made aware of problems the moment they occur, preventing device downtime. This is done by easily setting up watchlist parameters for battery drainage, data consumption and even physical damage. When devices exceed those established parameters, the organization is instantly notified and able to take proactive action to address the issue quickly.

When problems do arise, incident management features allow IT teams to provide remote support as easily as having the device and end-user next to them. This real-time remote control allows staff to manipulate devices as if they were holding them and facilitates interactions with the end user by remotely drawing, whiteboarding and annotating on the device screen in addition to recording audio and video of the support call. This reduces the hassle of travelling back and forth for both the end user and IT team, saving both time and money.

With a busy holiday shopping season upon us, retailers must be ready with the right technology solutions to ensure streamlined shopping experiences for their customers. Employees and customers no longer need to feel frustrated about the loss of productivity during this holiday season. Gaining a better understanding of their mobile devices across their entire network will be critical for success.

To learn more about SOTI XSight, please visit

About Shash Anand, SVP of Product Strategy, SOTI

Shash Anand, SVP of Product Strategy, SOTI

As Senior VP of Product Strategy at SOTI, Shash Anand oversees the company’s evolution from a single product centered around Mobile Device Management (MDM) to an integrated platform that solves many of the challenges around Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Internet of Things (IoT) management.

About SOTI

SOTI is a proven innovator and industry leader for mobility and IoT management. Organizations around the world depend on SOTI to enable their strategies for mobile devices, applications, content, as well as endpoints for the Internet of Things. Strong relationships with mobile technology and IoT partners around the world gives us advanced knowledge of new technologies and cutting-edge business solutions. Our commitment to innovation ensures your business is one step ahead with the solutions you need to take mobility to endless possibilities.

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