Switching up a gear in Ecommerce

Covid-19 dramatically accelerated ecommerce growth – online retail sales saw five years of growth in just 12 months. Many bricks and mortar stores suffered irreparable damage during the pandemic, while digital-first businesses thrived and direct-to-consumer (DTC) business models enabled many brands to step up their sales.

During lockdown, almost half (46%) of consumers bought something for the first time online that they had only ever previously bought in-store. They sometimes seemed better prepared and able to adapt to lockdown-enforced retailing than the retailers themselves. Although question marks still remain over whether this meteoric shift to online is temporary, nearly a third (32%) of consumers already claim their shopping habits have changed permanently because of Covid-19.

Those retail and leisure brands with flexible logistic strategies were able to quickly scale up their IT and infrastructure capabilities and capitalise on the growing opportunities that Covid presented, while others played catch-up. Staff shortages – many through the virus itself – also proved an issue which, not unsurprisingly, strengthened business cases for fast-forwarding warehouse automation and upgrading. Three-quarters (75%) of retailers consider creating a more flexible logistics network as a high priority.

At the start of the pandemic, and with no foreseeable decline in online sales, it is mobile technology that’s proving the lynchpin for retailers and logistics operators to keep up with demand. It maximises their efficiency, provides management with complete visibility of their supply chain, helps maintain productivity and ensures security.

Life after Windows Mobile

Microsoft stopped supporting Windows mobile systems over a year ago, yet there are still some firms that haven’t made the transition to popular mobile operating systems, like Android. As a result, their ageing infrastructures not only leave them exposed to cyber-attack but also do not provide adequate overviews of their inventory and business processes, not to mention their slowness in meeting customer demand.

Maybe these firms had got used to being supported by Microsoft for up to 10 years and see the three-year security patches from Google on Android, for example, as not enough given that rugged devices themselves have lifecycles of 3-5 years. But with Honeywell, they can be reassured that security patches are supported for 2+ years beyond Google support ending. Indeed, devices like Honeywell’s CT60 XP handheld computer offers support for five Android generations starting with Android 9 (P).

The move to Android OS

Android has definitely become the ‘go-to’ choice for many enterprises, small and large, across different sectors and the shift is driven by three main benefits; it’s efficient, easy to use and offers a good return on investment. Some firms may have been hesitant about switching to Android devices because they wrongly saw them as less rugged than non-Android equivalents. The fact that mobile computers and Android devices are swapped more frequently now has nothing to do with their longevity and everything to do with keeping up with the best-performing technology. It’s also true to say that younger retail and warehouse operatives embrace Android intuitively as they’re already familiar with it on their own mobiles.

The Honeywell CT40 XP

Honeywell’s CT40 XP enterprise mobile computer can be used both in-store by shop associates as well as in the field by mobile workers, enabling them to achieve various daily activities, from inventory checking to last mile delivery. Its rugged casing and protective boot means it can withstand being dropped 1.8 metres onto concrete, and selected models are now available with disinfectant-ready housings. In common with many consumer mobile phones, the CT40 XP also has ‘device finder’ capability, enabling it to be easily located, thus preventing operational downtime or rendering it a security risk.

Rugged wearables are also helping improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. The Honeywell 8690i, for example, is a mini RFID reader, scanner and mobile computer all in one. Merging common processes like picking and packing into a single device not only improves ergonomics but also reduces the acquisition and operating costs of procuring separate wearable scanners and mobile computers. Its RFID product and location identification can enable up to a 66% reduction in steps per transaction vs handheld barcode scanning in high frequency applications, thus increasing both productivity and throughput. The 8690i delivers essential workflow information directly to the worker’s line of sight and can be comfortably worn as a two-finger ring or back-of-hand glove mount.

Honeywell ScanPal EDA51K and Thor VM3A

When it comes to modernising back-office operations, whatever the size of business, Honeywell has a mobile device to suit all settings. From its ScanPal EDA51K that’s designed to help small businesses improve productivity across light-duty warehouses and shops, right up to its vehicle-mounted computer like the Thor VM3A, which delivers unmatched operational efficiencies in the toughest and largest of distribution centre environments.

If you’re looking to improve your ecommerce capabilities and modernise your warehouse processes due to increased demand.

Talk to us about Honeywell mobile solutions.

Don’t forget, our rentals scheme enables you to switch to Android without capital expenditure.

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