Digital technologies in grocery stores were once limited to POS systems, but no longer. Emily Newton reports.
Like many other industries, the grocery sector has fully embraced digital transformation, though with varying degrees of success. As grocers look to expand their digital investments, they should consider mobile device management (MDM).
Grocery stores’ digital transformation has followed a similar trend to that of their consumers. By May 2020, 32.38% of U.K. shoppers had increased how often they shop for groceries online. Expanding stores’ fleet of mobile devices to match consumers’ growing reliance on them was a natural next step.
MDM lets network administrators remotely control, track, and secure mobile devices. The practice is already standard in other industries, but to date, it hasn’t seen much implementation in grocery stores. As mobile devices play a larger role in these stores, however, that trend should change. Here’s why.
The most prominent downside to increased reliance on mobile technology is its security vulnerabilities. Every device on a grocery store’s network represents a potential entry point for hackers to access more sensitive systems and data. Mobile device management helps stores mitigate the threats these endpoints represent.
MDM lets administrators issue software updates to all devices on the network over the air. That way, they can easily ensure all endpoints feature the latest cyber defences and fewer old vulnerabilities. Similarly, MDM can restrict devices’ access and features, mitigating any risks from employee misuse.
The recent attack on Sweden's Coop supermarkets highlights the importance of cybersecurity for grocers. The supermarket chain says it closed roughly 500 stores after a cyberattack rendered its checkout stations unusable. If stores don’t secure their growing mobile networks through MDM, they could suffer a similar fate.
Consistent Device Performance
Mobile device management can also help ensure all devices on a network perform as they should. Without the ease of MDM’s automatic, over-the-air updates, updating each may take a long time, possibly leading employees to overlook it. As that happens, some devices may start working slowly or have issues communicating with up-to-date devices.
MDM can issue updates to all devices on a network at once, ensuring consistent performance. All of the endpoints in a store will have the latest software, including bug fixes. As a result, both customers and employees can enjoy the speed, convenience, and functionality these devices offer.
Ensuring proper performance is increasingly crucial as more grocery stores provide more mobile solutions. Some, for example, can use location data to provide alerts to and guide customers. If the devices that gather and send this data aren’t up-to-date, they may not provide accurate, real-time locations, potentially misleading customers.
Enhanced Customer Relations
Mobile device management can have promising indirect benefits for grocery stores, too. One of the most enticing of these is the potential to improve customer relations and build brand loyalty. Mobile devices throughout a store can gather the data stores need to reach customers on a more meaningful level, and MDM provides a consolidated platform to use this information.
Studies show that personalised communication generates six times the transactions as generic messaging. Mobile devices throughout a store can connect with customers’ shopping apps to gather information about them, enabling these customised messages. Since MDM promotes consistent performance across devices, it also ensures consistent data collection, making this personalisation more accurate.
Without MDM, a store’s digital infrastructure may not work as intended, which could turn customers away. In contrast, ensuring everything runs smoothly helps retain customers and encourage more shopping by making the experience more convenient.
Another indirect benefit of MDM is that it enables higher productivity among store employees. A 2019 survey found that 50% of end-users said they experience mobile tech failures each month. These failures can stop employees from doing their jobs, especially as stores become increasingly reliant on these technologies.
Since mobile device management provides the means to keep devices running properly, it minimises these productivity blocks. Automatic updates will ensure employees’ devices don’t exhibit flaws that could hinder their work. These updates won’t harm productivity, either, since MDM sends them over the air, meaning workers don’t have to bring devices in to update.
MDM further promotes higher productivity by limiting device misuse. Just as MDM sends over-the-air updates, it can push protocols that restrict how workers can use their devices. Grocery stores can use these features to block features that may be distracting, ensuring employees remain focused on their work.
Mobile Device Management Is a Must
Modern grocery stores can’t afford to overlook the advantages of mobile device fleets. To make the most of these investments, though, grocers must ensure they minimise related risks and maximise functionality. Mobile device management provides the tools they need for both considerations.
Whether or not grocers should embrace mobile technology is no longer a question. The difference between those in the industry that succeed in those that don’t may come down to how they use these devices.
About the Author: Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized Magazine. She has over three years experience writing for the food and beverage industry.