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STUDY: GO Outdoors scans mobile discounts

By Retail Technology | Friday July 5 2013

Handheld imagers using Wi-Fi technology help deliver discounts to shoppersÂ’ smartphones for outdoor and sporting retailer

GO Outdoors is the UK’s largest retailer of outdoor and sporting goods. The company’s 41 stores sell a vast range of products from camping, fishing and cycling equipment to specialised clothing, footwear and accessories alongside its e-commerce website. 
The retailer has a large and loyal customer base and runs a very successful discount card scheme that offers at least 10% off everything instore. With well over 1 million members, on occasion, customers forget to bring their discount cards with them so staff have to manually search the database for their details. This process causes delays at the tills. 

GO Outdoors wanted to make it quicker and easier to validate customers’ details when they forget their discount cards. Russel Bennett, GO Outdoors head of marketing, explained: "Our new smartphone app overcomes this problem as customers have their discount cards with them at all times, so they can pay for their products quickly and easily and never miss out on the best offers."

Mobilising retailer offers 

A smartphone app seemed the obvious solution providing it could meet a number of objectives: the app needed to be easy for customers to use and reflect the company’s very distinctive brand identity; GO Outdoors wanted to send discount coupons direct to customers’ smartphones; and the solution had to connect seamlessly to its back-office enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. 

Using the technological expertise of Motorola Solutions’ partner Mobilize, the new smartphone app enables customers to have their membership details to hand every time they go shopping. GO Outdoors can also use the app to send promotional offers straight to customers’ smartphones. 

GO Outdoors then extended its middleware to accommodate the app’s data requirements. The company’s tills already communicate with its back office ERP system via a central server so the app was connected in the same way. 

Improved productivity levels

A key part of the project was the replacement of the GO Outdoors estate of 1D laser scanners. The old devices were unable to read barcodes on smartphones due to the reflection that the laser encounters from phone screens. Mobilize recommended that GO Outdoors deploy Motorola Solutions’ DS4208 handheld imagers. The devices capture 1D, 2D and PDF417 barcodes on paper, mobile phones and computer screens. GO Outdoors installed 300 DS4208s across its 41 UK stores.

Productivity levels have increased also as the DS4208s are much faster and more user-friendly than the old scanners. One example is due to the DS4208s’ omnidirectional scan pattern that captures barcodes from a distance or awkward angles – this means sales teams do not need to walk around the front of the till when scanning bulky items. 

Now customers simply download the app and present their iPhones at the till with their purchases. Staff scan the barcode using new handheld imagers from Motorola Solutions and the discount is applied instantly. The app has seen waiting times at GO Outdoors’ tills reduce considerably, as price labels are scanned much faster, and customer satisfaction has increased. 

Increasing loyalty effectiveness

The new imagers are also popular with sales teams as they can scan pricing labels at greater distances and do not have to hold the scanner exactly parallel to the label. Bennett reported: "Our staff are delighted with the new system. The new, easy to use handheld imagers allow them to quickly scan barcodes from a distance or at awkward angles – they can even read barcodes on torn labels or through cracked smartphone screens."

In addition to productivity and time savings, where staff no longer have to manually search for customers’ details, the mobile system has also reduced costs associated with distributing paper discount coupons by post.

The system is also ready for the future, with GO Outdoors already considering an Android app. Additionally the DS4208s imagers can read 2D barcodes and quick response (QR) codes, so GO Outdoors can invest in barcodes and labels that hold more data without having to update its scanners again.

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