Enterprise Mobility Solutions: Addressing the Critical Challenges Facing Today’s Retail Industry

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    The retail industry is facing a perfect storm of challenges – labor shortages, supply chain constraints, inventory management issues, and ever-increasing customer expectations. In this rapidly evolving landscape, retailers must adapt and adopt innovative solutions to streamline operations, optimize inventory, and enhance the overall customer experience.

    Enter Zebra Technologies, a leader in enterprise mobility solutions. In an informative discussion with Jim Sermonette, Director of Sales for Zebra’s Software Solutions division, we gained valuable insights into the company’s cutting-edge offerings and how they are helping retailers tackle these critical challenges head-on.

    Rebranding for Clarity and Simplicity

    One of the first topics addressed was Zebra’s efforts to rebrand its software portfolio, set to be officially announced in September. Sermonette explained that the legacy names like ZeroSmartCount, Reflexes, and ProfitTech would be consolidated under the “Zebra WorkCloud” umbrella, with intuitive sub-categories such as Workforce Automation, WorkCloud Scheduling, WorkCloud Tasks, and more. This rebranding aims to simplify the messaging and create a cohesive framework for Zebra’s modern store solutions. Interested in purchasing or creating a personalized solution? Discover more.

    Inventory Optimization: The Low-Hanging Fruit

    When it comes to the most pressing challenge facing retailers, Sermonette pointed to inventory management as the “low-hanging fruit.” The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the limitations of relying on third-party entities for inventory counts, leading to issues with labor availability, reliability, and scheduling nightmares. Zebra’s self-directed, self-scanning inventory solution has gained significant traction, enabling retailers to take control of their inventory processes.

    Sermonette also discussed the potential impact of emerging technologies like RFID and robotics on inventory management. While RFID adoption for retail inventories is still in its early stages, he acknowledged that impending food safety regulations and the need for improved inventory visibility would likely drive wider adoption in the coming years. Additionally, the use of robotics in retail environments, while currently more prevalent in warehouses, is expected to gain traction within the next five to ten years.

    Empowering the Workforce with Mobility

    One of the key themes throughout the discussion was the importance of empowering retail associates with mobile technologies. Sermonette highlighted the increasing proliferation of mobile devices in the hands of associates, enabling them to be more productive, efficient, and engaged. Solutions like task management, workforce management, and push-to-talk functionality are helping retailers leverage these mobile investments to their fullest potential.

    Moreover, Zebra is exploring innovative ways to integrate mobile devices with traditional workstations, such as the Workstation Connect solution, which allows associates to dock their mobile devices and access desktop-like functionality. This seamless integration aims to replace traditional desktops and reduce hardware costs while maintaining productivity.

    The Road Ahead: AI, Wearables, and Voice

    Looking to the future, Sermonette emphasized the growing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in the retail space. While AI is already being used to identify trends and patterns, he expects its adoption to grow exponentially in the near future, as customers become more comfortable with the technology.

    Other emerging trends include the increased use of wearable devices, such as ring scanners and wrist-worn computers, as well as the integration of voice and augmented reality (AR) technologies. While these solutions are still in the early stages, Zebra is positioning itself to stay ahead of the curve by continuously refining its offerings based on customer feedback and evolving market demands.


    Inventory management software

    Overcoming Hurdles: Focus and Prioritization

    Despite the exciting array of solutions available, Sermonette acknowledged that retailers often face hurdles in adopting new technologies, primarily due to a lack of focus and bandwidth. With competing priorities, tight budgets, and limited resources, it can be challenging for retailers to execute on new projects, even when they recognize the need for change.

    To overcome these hurdles, Sermonette emphasized the importance of working with trusted partners and vendors who can guide retailers through the implementation process and help them prioritize based on their specific pain points and desired outcomes.


    As the retail industry continues to evolve, embracing enterprise mobility solutions and innovative technologies will be crucial for retailers seeking to stay competitive. By leveraging Zebra’s comprehensive portfolio, including inventory optimization, workforce management, and mobile solutions, retailers can streamline operations, improve efficiency, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

    With a deep understanding of the industry’s challenges and a commitment to continuous innovation, Zebra Technologies is well-positioned to be a trusted partner for retailers on their digital transformation journey. By focusing on outcomes and prioritizing solutions that align with their unique needs, retailers can navigate the complexities of the modern retail landscape and unlock new opportunities for growth and success.

    Take the first step towards optimizing your retail operations by scheduling a consultation with Bluefletch today.