Equipping associates with rugged smartphones not only streamlines operations and improves the customer experience, it makes for a more satisfying work environment — an important factor in the high-turnover retail sector.

Smartphones on the sales floor are no longer a novelty, but devices like Samsung’s XCover Pro empower retail associates to meet new customer demands. For activities like task management, payment processing and order fulfillment, the sleek, lightweight device frees employees from multiple sources of information and relieves the frustrations associated with cumbersome devices that only do one thing.

Here’s how rugged smartphones can help retailers increase staff satisfaction and efficiency:

1. It starts with the form factor

Mobile devices used in retail are often dropped or exposed to everything from cocoa powder to sweater lint. The Galaxy XCover Pro meets the Department of Defense’s MIL-STD-810 standards, and passed repeated drop tests. It also boasts an IP68 rating for resistance to dust, dirt, sand and water—all in a form factor that’s familiar to your associates.

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2. Communicate with ease

Fast-moving retail situations call for quick communication among team members. The Galaxy XCover Pro features a programmable button that can be configured to activate two-way radio or group conversations and integrates seamlessly with productivity platforms like Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie, Verizon Push to Talk Plus and ESChat. Discreetly call for backup at the register, customer assistance or make announcements to staff with the push of a button.

3. Built-in barcode scanning

Using a rugged smartphone for barcode scanning in retail environments lowers costs while increasing efficiency and accuracy by replacing bulky dedicated scanners with a single multipurpose device. Using Scandit software or built-in Knox Capture, the XCover Pro transforms into a mobile barcode scanner, so associates can answer customers’ pricing questions on the spot. Barcode scanning also helps reduce the human error associated with entering SKUs manually.

4. Stay on top of order fulfillment

As a retail store juggles brick-and-mortar purchases, online orders and third-party shopping apps, accurate inventory management is critical. Traditional scanners require that each barcode be scanned individually — an inconvenient and time-consuming process. The XCover Pro can read dozens of barcodes with a single wave across the shelf, eliminating the need for dedicated inventory-taking devices.

5. Keep the gloves on

Many retail environments call for employees to protect their hands — whether they’re in a garden shop with dirt and moisture, inside a subzero grocery freezer or at an outdoor popup in cold weather. The XCover Pro’s enhanced touch sensitivity setting works with a wide variety of glove materials, including fleece and nitrile, allowing users to work in a multitude of retail settings without removing and replacing their gloves between every sale.

6. Payment processing

The Galaxy XCover Pro comes ready for mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) with EMV Level-1 certification, so you can accept payments without the need for additional hardware. Employees can ring up purchases right on the sales floor or process payments for larger items in the field. In some cases, retailers can forgo traditional registers altogether.

7. Increased efficiency on one screen

Many of today’s entry-level retail associates grew up using smartphones, so using one device for transactions, communications and payments feels natural and intuitive to them. It also saves time and training hours, which over time impacts a retailer’s bottom line. Using one machine for multiple tasks also eliminates the need for single-function devices, which saves money and storage space.

8. Keep data secure

XCover Pro rugged smartphones come equipped with Samsung Knox, the company’s defense-grade enterprise security platform. Whether employees are inside the store, on location or on the go, all your customer and company data stays safe from hackers and other cyber threats. Other Knox solutions such as Knox Mobile Enrollment (KME), Knox Configure and Knox Manage allow you to secure and manage your entire fleet of devices efficiently. An added benefit for IT managers is the use of Knox Asset Intelligence, a cloud-based data analytics tool that provides real-time reporting that includes deep insights into four areas: battery management, app stability, Wi-Fi connectivity and asset location. Analytics are accessed in a cloud console that provides a unified view across your entire fleet of Samsung devices.

9. A battery for the entire shift

For retail associates, one of the most frustrating aspects of mobile devices is when they just won’t stay charged. The fast-charging XCover Pro features 14-hour battery life, so employees have enough power for a full shift, and then some. When the battery does run out, they can quickly and easily switch it out, with minimal interruption to their workflow.

10. Employee satisfaction

Equipping retail associates with rugged smartphones not only improves labor costs and productivity, it also makes them feel more empowered in their work. With the tools they need to complete tasks efficiently, associates have more time to focus on what matters most of all: helping the customer.

As you begin delivering smartphones to your retail associates, evaluate your mobile initiative and learn how it can better support great customer experiences in Samsung’s free, quick assessment. Or, if you’re not ready for a smartphone rollout, discover Samsung’s other innovative mobile solutions for retail environments.

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Davina van Buren

Davina van Buren is a freelance B2B technology writer who specializes in travel, restaurants and hospitality, retail, food tech and cleantech. A former television reporter and consumer magazine editor, she's found her home in the B2B world, which satiates and excites her entrepreneurial spirit. Davina is currently pursuing an Executive MBA in Online Marketing.

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