Grocery point of sale (POS) solutions providers have a long history of equipping their clients’ aisles with terminal POS and, more recently, self-checkout kiosks. However, the pandemic drove consumer demand for new ways to shop, and grocery stores responded with online ordering and curbside pickup. Efficient processes are powered by mobile solutions and mobile device management (MDM).
The Online Grocery Sales Boom
Business Intelligence and eMarketer’s Online Grocery Report provides a picture of how the industry changed in 2020 – and the path it will take in the future. eMarketer research found in 2019, e-commerce accounted for only 2 percent of food and beverage sales and about 24 percent penetration in the U.S. Adoption grew to about 50 percent by Q4 2020.
According to recent data from Brick Meets Click/Mercatus, the total US online grocery market hit $8.7 billion in sales in February 2022, an 8.5 percent jump from the same period last year as consumers pursued pickup/delivery (e.g., Instacart, Amazon Fresh, DoorDash) options in greater frequency over ship-to-home services (grocery items – typically dry goods – shipped through parcel couriers such as FedEx, UPS, USPS).
New Facility Floor Plans, New Job Descriptions
Grocers implemented new processes and new technology in response to the shift away from consumers making trips to the supermarket and filling their own carts to online ordering and pickup or delivery.
Businesses quickly adapted their operations from staff stocking shelves and working at checkout to filling online orders and working curbside pickup or delivery. Grocers established new areas for order fulfillment, in some cases finding spaces to serve as “dark stores” exclusively where their teams could pick and pack the groceries that customers ordered online.
Online grocery ordering isn’t new, and business owners ramped up knowing that it costs more to fulfill online orders than to have customers come to the store to choose their own items. With the sudden spike in e-commerce during the pandemic, operating as profitably as possible became a top priority. Technology provides a path to greater efficiency and productivity, enabling businesses to make the most of labor hours. Tablets or other mobile devices keep staff connected to the store’s integrated system of e-comm, in-store POS and inventory management. Mobile printers allow staff to print orders and create labels to streamline workflows and increase order accuracy. Mobile devices also facilitate communication between customers and the curbside pickup team, for example, informing store staff when shoppers arrive and where they park. The industry that had operated primarily with terminal POS systems suddenly became a thriving market for mobile solutions.
Mobile Device Management is Essential
With an increase in mobile devices in the grocery vertical, it is also a growing market for mobile device management. Consumers that need their pantries replenished have little patience – or loyalty – when orders are wrong, incomplete or late. Under that pressure, grocers set goals for throughput, speed, and accuracy, and mobile devices that fail or are underutilized are standing in the way of meeting those goals.
Mobile device management gives grocers – and any other business or organization with a mobile deployment – the ability to manage, track and secure mobile devices. MDM solutions can even extend to support for managing Internet of Things (IoT) devices and printers.
With MDM, grocers don’t have to call devices back in for updates. MDM enables performing many tasks remotely and often updating multiple devices at one time. Grocers can also locate missing devices and make sure the store’s mobile solution investment is resulting in the greatest return.
If grocery stores or chains are in your target market – or maybe if they’re a new area of focus for your business – assess your opportunity to offer mobile device management solutions those businesses need to operate most productively and profitably post-COVID-19.
With projections that grocery online ordering adoption will continue to increase into the foreseeable future, the demand for mobile device management in this vertical will also grow. Businesses with new mobile deployments often don’t look ahead to how they’ll manage them efficiently. Be ready with the solution.