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Digital transformation in retail – Let smartphones streamline your store operations


The retail industry faces unique challenges in 2022 and in the coming years. Methods such as Click & Collect have established and created new areas of responsibility for store associates.

Meanwhile, online retailers have been gaining popularity, with global e-commerce sales increasing by around 46% between 2019 and 2021 alone (Statista). Conversely, the worldwide growth in physical sales is low: For instance, general store sales are expected to increase by only 24% between 2020 and 2025. The online competition makes reducing costs a priority for physical retailers.

Efficiency, a wide product range, and excellent customer service ensure customers’ loyalty to local stores and must be maintained and improved constantly.

But how can retailers guarantee all these factors?

The answer is simple: smartphones and tablets. Smart mobile devices equipped with digital technologies are the go-to tools for customer engagement. They are versatile, easy to use, and widely available, which makes them perfect for addressing countless processes within the retail sector.

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Join us on a journey of the core use cases that can be covered with smartphones and tablets. In the process, you will learn more about the benefits of a mobile Barcode Scanner SDK and how they form a crucial component for digital transformation in retail.

Inventory management

Strategies such as BOSS, BOPIS, or ROPIS require making accurate inventory information available on the spot for both sales associates and customers. For a frictionless flow of information, store databases must be accessible via smart devices through internal and customer-facing apps

However, when using conventional handheld barcode scanners, employees usually need to access a separate computer to view the detected data. This slows workflows, and errors are hard to spot. Mobile Barcode Scanner SDKs offer the required accuracy and instant data availability on the device.


All omnichannel retail approaches require a flawlessly connected supply chain with automated order and inventory management systems. Only then can orders be handled with the speed and accuracy needed to keep customer satisfaction and productivity at a peak.

Barcodes are a crucial aspect of these smooth logistics and retail processes. Without them, goods can’t be tracked, registered, ordered, or accounted for at checkout.

Thus, accurate barcode scanning solutions are essential to supply and distribution chain elements. Smartphones offer the perfect platform for streamlined inventory management, ordering processes, and preparing Click & Collect orders for pick-up.

Order Management

The easiest way to reorder a product is to scan its barcode and place the order directly at the point of scan. Using the Scanbot SDK, you can profit from the fastest and most accurate barcode scanning solution.

When ordering, retailers frequently face very similar products that differ slightly in their materials and functions, and staff members may ultimately order the wrong product. These mistakes and the consequent returns are costly for the retail business.

Although most companies have already replaced physical catalogs with digital ones, even this solution is no longer sufficient for B2B usage. At the enterprise scale, manually searching and ordering each product in an online portal complicates the user journey needlessly.

Mobile Barcode Scanning ensures the highest data accuracy while enabling sales associates to place orders directly on a mobile device.


The use of mobile devices offers countless new opportunities for personal interaction between sales associates and customers. Here, retailers can collect data about their preferences, purchases, and search queries.

Employees can, for example, use their smartphones or tablets to check the inventory of a requested item on the spot. When customers ask for specific sizes, colors, or product categories, that data can be saved for internal evaluation.

Additionally, mobile-enabled processes significantly speed up in-store service, improving customer satisfaction and store ratings.

Smartphones vs. handheld scanners

Above, we explored various use cases that retailers can tackle by utilizing smart devices that run apps with integrated Barcode Scanner components. But what makes smartphones better than dedicated handheld scanner devices? Let’s take a look at some key characteristics.

Side-by-side comparison: Smartphones versus conventional barcode scanners

Retailers should also consider basic technical facts when choosing between handheld scanners and smartphones. Battery life is one of those essentials. For maximum in-store flexibility, employees need to be able to use their devices wirelessly.

Today, budget smartphones priced under $200 run an entire day with a battery storing 5,000 mAh. Handheld scanners that last this long have battery capacities of around 4,150 mAh and typically cost well over $1,000.

Another vital aspect is scanning performance, which strongly depends on camera quality. For most buyers, camera quality is the main deciding factor when buying a smartphone. Accordingly, manufacturers have pushed their camera systems, which now feature sharp lenses and high-resolution sensors that work perfectly in low lighting. With modern smartphone technology, sales associates get flawless results within milliseconds.

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Explore the fast and reliable functionalities of the Scanbot Barcode Scanner SDK in our Demo App – Download now!

Man touching hologram over phone screen

In the introduction, we talked about the urgency of reducing operational costs in the retail industry. Replacing expensive handheld scanners with a mobile Barcode Scanner SDK is a perfect opportunity to cut these costs.

Standard smartphones are not just up to 5x cheaper than high-tier scanners, they are also much easier and cheaper to maintain. In 2020, the average smartphone lifespan was expected to be around 34 months (Statista), making mobile devices a suitable solution for long-term use.

The Scanbot SDK in the retail industry

Let’s take a look at the main benefits of the Scanbot Barcode Scanner SDK on the retail digital transformation journey.

High Speed
The Scanbot Barcode Scanner SDK impresses with its exceptional scanning speed. It scans 113 barcodes per minute.

For most users in the retail industry, the most important criteria of a trusted barcode scanning solution is reliability – it should just work. The Scanbot Barcode Scanner SDK does exactly that – in any scenario, no matter the conditions:

Scans in 0.2 seconds

Any angle

Tiny barcodes

Poor lighting

Corrupted and blurred barcodes

Possibility to scan from distances >1 m

Reflective surfaces

Low background contrast

Cutting-edge features

Multi-scanning accelerates your workflows

Filter: Adjust it to recognize specific barcode types only.

Save the scan: Store barcode images as PDFs for further different purposes.

Continuous Scanning: Scanning multiple barcodes without the camera closing enables a constant workflow.

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