The Need for Purpose-Built Mobility in Retail Today

The Need for Purpose-Built Mobility in Retail Today

Against the backdrop of increasing competition, retailers are increasingly looking for ways in which they can take costs out of their business without sacrificing operational efficiencies. As a result of these business considerations, a growing number of organisations are currently using or considering consumer-grade devices across their operations, without realising that may be to the detriment of their own business.

By design, consumer-grade devices are best suited for slow-moving, shorter lifecycle and single-user and personal applications. They are not made for the tough, fast-paced mobile workflows that retail personnel often work across, which means that devices may be prone to damage from drops, continuous use, extreme temperatures, and harsh and sensitive conditions such as dust and water.

Retailers may also be inclined to invest in less expensive consumer-grade devices, as these can be 50% cheaper than purpose-built devices. However, findings in VDC Research’s Enterprise Mobility Total Cost of Ownership Report¹ shows that “after the first 12 to 18 months, the reliability of non-rugged devices drops significantly driving up their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).” In one year, consumer-grade devices are 4 times more likely to fail, even when used with protective cases. This means that consumer-grade devices will need to be turned over and replaced much quicker, which can be an issue beyond simple cost and productivity downtime as organisations may find it difficult to procure the same devices that match the rest of their equipment fleet (leading to compatibility issues) due to the faster product refresh cycle of consumer grade devices – which means that businesses may have to replace ranges of casing, adapters, chargers, and cables frequently.

The need for rugged, purpose-built devices in retail

In today's demanding and fast changing retail environment, retail employees need to be productive and work efficiently. Over a 18-24 months period, purpose-built rugged devices² can offer a lower TCO, since consumer-grade device break downs are more frequent and often several times more expensive, not to mention the downtime incurred through workers not having a device available to complete their role. It was also highlighted in the VDC report¹ that each device ‘failure’ caused 70+ minutes in lost productivity, leading to employee frustration and reduced confidence in an organisation’s digital tools.

Rugged mobile devices, such as those offered by Honeywell³, are not just designed for rough-and-tumble warehouses and manufacturing plants, but are also ideal for service, delivery, and a variety of retail applications.  These devices offer superior, fast, and extensive 1D/2D scanning capabilities including enhanced scanning of damaged, dirty, poorly printed barcodes or even in bright sunlight/outdoors, toughened glass touch panels to withstand harsh conditions including frequent sanitisation and have user-replaceable battery to last multiple shifts.

Another advantage of using a robust purpose-built device is that you can perform several functions and on a single device. These functions could include multiple workflows in a retail environment - Inwards, Replenishment, Stock-take, Physical Inventory Audits, Mobile-POS, Q-Busting, Omnichannel, Planogram Compliance, Returns, Transfers and Customer Engagement.

The questions you should ask before choosing a mobile solution

To best understand if your retail operations could benefit from deploying rugged devices, please consider the following questions:

  1. In what environment will your devices be used? If your employees use devices on the retail shop floor or in warehouses or delivery vehicles, they need devices that can stand up to tough conditions. Unlike consumer devices, rugged devices are specifically engineered to work even if dropped from a forklift, from a ladder when stacking a shelf or exposed to truck vibration.
  2. Are your devices exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions? If your employees and the devices they use are regularly exposed to water, dust, fluctuating temperatures and other outdoor and indoor environmental conditions, you should consider ruggedisation. Rugged devices are specifically designed to handle extreme environments, so that workers can continue with their roles and service customers no matter the circumstances.
  3. Do your workers need specific device configuration and regular app updates? Rugged devices typically allow more OS and hardware personalisation than consumer devices. Personalisation allows devices to be configured to the optimal settings for your company’s unique needs, which means your employees work productively and continue to meet your customers’ expectations.
  4. Are your device repair fees adding up? A retail business with deploying consumer grade mobile devices will spend more per year to support their equipment⁴.  That’s because consumer devices have a shorter life cycle and increased frequency of failure than rugged devices, which could translate into a higher cost of ownership.
  5. Do your employees keep sensitive data on their mobile devices? Consumer mobile devices are more susceptible to viruses and unauthorised access and are easily lost or stolen⁴. An enterprise-grade, rugged device is more easily managed through your mobile device management.

An overview of Honeywell rugged devices

Retailers that care about business continuity and meeting customer demands should consider investing in rugged devices that are fit for purpose in busy environments. Honeywell’s rugged handheld computers provide multipurpose utility in an ergonomic form factor, driving improved productivity for your mobile workers and helping reduce the total cost of ownership for your business.

Honeywell devices offer a long OS product lifecycle, security and patch upgrades and are future-forward investments, through the Honeywell Mobility Edge™ platform. Mobility Edge™ supports enterprise stability and security via a powerful Qualcomm processor with guaranteed support through Android 13, and with a commitment to support through Android 15, subject to commercial and technical feasibility.

Key retail solutions in the Honeywell mobility range include:

  • The Honeywell CT45 XP mobile computer⁵: These devices are rugged, all-purpose productivity tools offering ultra-reliable performance, data connectivity and communications for frontline mobile workers in retail. Honeywell's CT45XP leverages the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology to facilitate access to essential information with low latency, even in a highly dense and connected environment. With Honeywell's CT45 family, delivery workers can now efficiently access the network outside of the 4 walls using 4G-LTE advanced technology, helping keep mobile frontline workers connected to crucial information to place orders, check stock, look up order status, or scan items anywhere and anytime.
  • The Honeywell CK65 Mobile Computer⁶ is purpose-built to help maximise worker productivity. The perfect blend of keypad and touchscreen, ergonomics, and durability, the CK65 is light enough to be used all day yet durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily use. With a 7,000 mAh extended smart battery, the CK65 is capable of up to 28 hours of continuous operation, so retail workers finding themselves with a dead battery in the middle of their shift will be a thing of the past. The device's ultra-rugged design can withstand 3 m (10 ft) drops to concrete, as well as being rated to IP65 and IP68, making the CK65 durable in the toughest DC environments. The CK65 even offers cold storage models for freezer environments ranging from -30°C to 50°C (-22°F to 122°F) to maintain high operational efficiency and throughput in retail cold supply chain and fulfilment applications.

To learn more about how your retail store can improve its operations through the deployment of rugged, purpose built devices, please visit: https://sps.honeywell.com/au/en/industries/retail