Retailers from Albertsons Companies (parent of Safeway) to Walmart are mentioning increased “shrink” in their quarterly earnings calls this year as retailers across the US face a massive increase in organized retail crime (ORC) in stores. Retailers are already turning to a variety of unconventional solutions, such as facial recognition at the door, robot security guards, locking up basic items, and lobbying for laws to crack down on ORC.

The best solution, however, may be the OMS tools that retailers already have in place.

Order management systems (OMS) enable retailers to fulfill from stores (e.g., click and collect; locker pickup; curbside pickup; or buy online, pick up in store). These tools could allow retailers to take orders — and receive payment — before opening locked-away goods. Customers can order online or in the app from anywhere — including in the store while shopping for other items — using QR codes or from an associate who can send the customer a link to pay.

OMS tools create a new “digital in-store” shopping experience.

Rather than pushing buttons and waiting … and waiting … for a harried employee to come running with a key, retailers could replace the button with OMS tools. How? Imagine a QR code for the customer to scan with the store app that lets that customer order in the store for pickup while they’re shopping in person for other items.

Picture it: When your customer is already three aisles over and realizes that they forgot the artichokes, no problem! They can order them from the app while continuing to shop. The app will recognize that the customer is in the store and will add those artichokes to their store pickup order.

The process flows:

  1. Shoppers use in-store digital tools to purchase items in real time.
  2. They complete their shopping for items that are not high theft risk (and that they remembered to grab) and begin to check out.
  3. The checkout initiation triggers payment (via pop-up customer confirmation) and fulfillment of their in-store digital orders.
  4. As the customer places their packed bags into their cart at the point of service, an associate arrives with the prepaid items that the customer also bought through the app. In stores with higher demand and more limited mobility in the aisles, associates might deliver purchases to a locker for the customer to retrieve on their way out the door.

What would it take to make this happen?

Not much! Many order management systems already provide:

  • Creative ways to pay (e.g., QR code, text, link) and payment methods saved in store apps.
  • Store associate tools to fulfill pickup orders.
  • Geofencing, to identify, for instance, when a customer enters the parking lot for a pickup item, or, in this case, that the customer is already in the store.
  • Customer identification via app, such as with scan-and-go stores or to confirm pickups.
  • Staging locations (e.g., lockers) to automate customer order pickups.

Retailers must find ways to leverage the tech that they already have to creatively solve today’s pressing problems. Retail tech has a big opportunity right now to tune the tools that it already provides and help solve one of retail’s most pressing challenges.

Questions? Get in touch with me so we can dig in on how your tech might save the day for you and your customers.