Does This Sound Like Your Retail Restock Solution?

SOTI Snap Retail Restock Solution Visual 01

A tradeshow visitor to a SOTI booth told me they digitized their approval process for replenishing products onto retail shelves. This was their step-by-step retail restock solution:

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1. Photograph empty shelves with their mobile device.

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2. Upload the photo to a public group chat platform.

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3. Screenshot the uploaded photo and email the approver.

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4. Wait for approval.

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5. Post-approval, manually enter the data into a spreadsheet (including another screenshot of the actual approval).

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6. Email the spreadsheet to schedule product delivery.

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7. Print and file the spreadsheet.


Yes, really.

I’ve never forgotten that. Technically, the process was digitized or not done via pen-and-paper at least. But it’s not ideal.

Three Problems with This Retail Restock Solution

1. Security Red Flags

  • Using a messaging platform seems convenient. But there are security and downtime risks. One downtime incident impacted 55% of a messaging app’s users. A data breach exposed 500 million user records. Control and security are beyond the organization’s purview.
  • Photographic proof that products need restocking was shared in a group chat. Who’s in the chat? There could be people who shouldn’t be. That means there’s no system in place to manage and monitor when employees get added.
  • If the person submitting the photo must take a screenshot of it, what’s stopping anyone from doing the same? Let’s say I’m in the chat and grab a screenshot. The company isn’t aware that I have it. So they can’t control what I do with it.

2. Lack of Integration

  • What tools are needed for this process? A camera. The messaging app. An email platform. A printer. Cabinets for document storage. That’s six different tools needed to replenish a sole product on a single shelf.
  • Will these tools work together? The spreadsheet software might not be compatible with every platform. Screenshots could exceed email attachment limits. If the person printing the document is remote, it must be mailed to the correct location to ensure it’s stored with others.
  • What happens if there’s a problem with these tools? Without integration or automation (more on that below), everything stalls. A screenshot not uploaded to the group chat, or an approval request sent to the wrong person results in delays. And the store shelf continues to sit empty.

3. No Automation

  • What must workers do with manual processes with pen-and-paper documents? Complete a paper document. Send it along. Wait for approvals. Send it to someone else (if applicable). Enter the data into a spreadsheet. Store the document. None of this is done automatically.
  • Know what could derail this process? Forgetting or overlooking a step. Approvals get lost in busy inboxes. Submitters forget to follow-up. Things get stuck. In fact, 36% of companies think automating approvals are key to eliminating bottlenecks and driving more efficiency.
  • Another problem with a lack of automation? No visibility into the status of the approval process. In this retail restock solution, if the picture isn’t uploaded to the group chat, it’s impossible to confirm it was taken. A forgotten attachment can go unnoticed until days later.

SOTI Snap: The Smart Way to Digitize

Everything that visitor told me about their retail restock solution can be done with SOTI Snap. Let’s review their pain points and how SOTI Snap alleviates them.

And yes, after seeing and learning about SOTI Snap, the booth visitor eventually became a customer. You can too. Here’s how:

*Source: The BluePRINT for Printer Management Success