The past year has been both a challenge and an opportunity for independent grocers. They’ve had to deal with the difficulties of adapting to a pandemic while benefiting from a huge increase in grocery demand and sales.
As COVID-19 vaccines continued to roll out, the future looked promising. Grocery businesses would have had the opportunity to reinvest some of their gains into improvements and grow new business they’ve captured.
Challenges Faced by Grocery Stores
However, just as things seemed like they’re turning a corner, new obstacles arose. One of them being hiring more workers at grocery stores.
As a technology company serving independent grocers across the country, we hear and see some of the latest developments in the industry every day. And one recurring theme we’ve encountered is that it’s getting hard to fill vacant positions to staff grocery stores.
It’s also a trend we’re seeing in other industries, including the warehousing and distribution industry. As grocery stores, warehouses, and other businesses have snapped up available workers in recent years, unemployment has run near historic lows. And while COVID-19 temporarily caused a wave of layoffs in some sectors, the grocery, distribution and logistics industries have ended up needing more labor. And as a result, they are having a hard time to hire workers.
Solving Labor Shortage Through Technology
Keeping the current shortage of workers in mind, businesses are now investing in the right technology and strategies. This would benefit companies as it would enable them to do more work in less time and human capital.
Below are some examples:
1. Self-Checkout Lanes
A great example is the installation and expansion of self-checkout lanes in many independent grocery stores. Previously, many independent stores avoided self-service options because they wanted workers to focus on old-fashioned, personalized service. But the realities of labor shortages are leading many companies to rethink that approach and impact.
For example, recruiting four skilled candidates for four traditional check-out lanes can be expensive. Instead, you could assign one staff member as a shopper attendant for the four self-checkouts.
This attendant would play an important role. He/she would potentially be available to attract and greet customers, answer any questions, solve any problems, and offer a thank-you with a smile. This plan of action would mean hiring and training less workers while serving potentially more customers.
Investing in self-checkouts is also a way to reassign your existing employees to a number of other personalized customer service tasks.
These tasks include offering convenient curbside pickups, in-aisle mobile customer service, and even e-commerce and grocery delivery right to your customer’s door.
2. LOC Software and Zebra’s Scanner Scale
Technologies such as LOC’s point of sale software and Zebra’s MP7000 grocery scanner scale can create a much easier and more intuitive self-checkout experience. Through them, customers can quickly scan and bag their items without the frequent hassles and delays that plague other self-checkout systems.
Zebra’s scanner scale uses bioptic imaging to make the barcode scanning process much faster, simpler and more reliable, from virtually any scanning angle.
In addition, Zebra MP7000 can be paired with an optional camera and intelligent software. This will automatically recognize and weigh produce items. Through this technology, unlike other self-check-out solutions, customers wouldn’t have to search and select the right items on their own. We are certain that this technology will take customer service to the next level.
Companies can save on labor and costs. They could equip their staff with solutions such as Zebra touch mobile computers and LOC’s Store Management software suite. Companies that have training employees on these solutions have helped them automate inventory, restocking, pricing, and merchandising.
Staff can now complete tasks faster, more intuitively, and with less effort. This is thanks to the touch-enabled mobile devices with added processing power, memory, and scanning speed, along with software that’s designed to streamline workflows.
This reduces labor requirements and makes it easier to retrain your existing workers or onboard those precious few new hires. It’s a win-win situation for the company and workforce.
Has Technology Solved Labor Shortage?
Small innovations like these can go a long way in solving labor shortage. Just as they’ve done in the warehousing industry, next-generation Zebra mobile devices have increased staff productivity by 14% per worker per shift.
As a result, many warehouses and distribution centers are now using hands-free, voice-directed picking technologies. This includes wearable computers, ring scanners worn on the finger, and headsets.
These devices work together with inventory management software to help workers pick inventory and fulfill orders in record time. They are able to do so in the most efficient pathways without having to juggle mobile devices.
While various industries are facing unprecedented challenges, technologies like these offer a way to keep up and even get ahead of demand.
They’ve turned those hardships into opportunities to keep riding the wave of increased sales, build customer loyalty, and grow business for the future.
Implement Zebra Technology To Combat Labor Shortage
Are you struggling with today’s labor shortage? If yes, contact our team at Data Cash Register to find out how we can help.
We’ll share with you the latest Zebra Technological innovations to help you evaluate the right solution and strategies. Based on these details, you’ll be able to decide if they’re a good fit for your business.
To get started, call us now on 1-888-429-4493 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.