2020 Grocery Trends: Bring Your Own Device

We can’t talk about 2020 grocery trends without discussing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). This technology-driven trend has taken the retail space by storm over the past few years with its promise to simplify operations, boost grocery stores’ bottom line, and bring in more millennial employees.

Like everything else in life, it’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s dig a bit deeper.


What do you need to know about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies allow employees to use their own devices (go figure) like phones, tablets, and even computers at work to complete their job responsibilities. 

In corporate America, this means bringing in a laptop to answer emails and complete projects. This is the type of BYOD policy that was popularized by Intel in 2009.

On the floor in a retail space, it takes on a bit of a different meaning. Imagine store associates using their cell phones to answer customer questions, their own iPads to check dates on your inventory and log their daily tasks.

According to a survey by MarketsandMarkets, BYOD policy adoption in North America increased from 36% in 2017 to 50% by the beginning of 2018. The trend is only continuing to rise in 2020.


Who should we look to for success stories?

BYOD, while popular among many retail giants, hasn’t had a huge splash in grocery just yet. However, there are a few examples to point to for BYOD success stories:

Bob Harmon from Harmon’s told Winsight Grocer that “the company is encouraging workers to use their cellphones as a customer service tool to answer shopper questions if necessary”. 

In addition, retail superstore Walmart said in a blog post, “We know technology is helping our associates be more productive and deliver for our customers in new ways. BYOD is just another option our people will have to access the custom apps that help associates perform their jobs.”


What are the pros and cons of BYOD?

We started this post by saying that BYOD is complicated – that couldn’t be more true. Though BYOD seems like a great way to showcase how technologically savvy your company is, there are definite pros and cons to take into account.

Let’s start with the good. As a grocer, BYOD can have serious benefits for your bottom line. By allowing employees to bring in their own devices, you can save overhead on technology – and save yourself from having to purchase new tech tools when your employees turnover. 

BYOD also provides convenient customer service opportunities for sales associates on the floor. Like Harmon’s and Walmart, your associates could be armed with the knowledge to answer any customer question, right at their fingertips.

Finally, BYOD can save your employees time. If they are familiar with the device that they’re using (instead of having to potentially learn a new operating system provided by the company) they can work smarter and faster. On average, workers save 81 minutes per week by using their own devices, and 78% of workers feel BYOD supports better work-life balance.

Now, to the other side of the argument. Where BYOD presents convenience, savings, and efficiency, it also poses risks, distraction, and overworked networks. You can learn more about each of these downsides here.

Like every 2020 trend, BYOD has its ups and downs, and it’s imperative that you suss out all of the ways that implementing a new initiative could impact your business. However, retail is in a state of flux, and technology is only going to change retail operations further as time goes on. Consider trying out a new program like BYOD to modernize your business plan for 2020.