Report • 02.06.2014

Mobile Devices in Retail – Mobility Benefits Customers and Retailers

Digitalisation in Retail offers benefits not only to the customer

There are still individual cases where it can be beneficial, and may pay off to...
There are still individual cases where it can be beneficial, and may pay off to use mobile hardware that’s especially developed for retail.
Source: Motorola Solutions

Thanks to increasing digitalization and the rising expansion of smartphones and tablets, customers have new demands on retailer service. Retailers need to meet these requirements to ensure a competitive advantage. Sales assistants in the store however can also utilize mobile devices. By using them, they can get informed more quickly and efficiently, and therefore improve customer service and increase sales figures.

Many consumers already maneuver around the multichannel environment in a secure and competent manner. Almost half of them therefore highly emphasize the availability of digital services at the POS and utilize them on a regular basis. This is something the E-Commerce Center in Cologne, Germany, discovered in a current study on “Digitalization of the Point of Sale“.

This is primarily about basic services in a cross-channel environment such as an online availability query for a specific product, or free WIFI access in the store offered in part by Media-Markt for instance. In each of these cases, 70 percent of surveyed consumers identified these two aspects as very important to them.

The salesperson in the store also benefits

The digitalization of the POS doesn’t just offer the customer a multitude of advantages – there are also solutions that support the salesperson in the store of course. Ideally, they offer advantages for both sides: the sales assistant is better informed and able to offer the customer a variety of new services. The customer on the other hand appreciates the great service and is satisfied with his/her shopping experience.

Retailers can replace the typical stationary, wired POS devices with mobile digital solutions such as tablets for instance. After all, these devices combine a number of useful features for staff members – ranging from information search on specific products to using them as a mobile checkout. In doing so, it gives sales staff more time to take care of customer needs during their entire time spent at the store. The customer of course sees this as a definite plus when it comes to service.

Does retail need specialized devices?

Even though there is a trend towards using consumer devices such as tablets by means of special software to support staff, there are still individual cases where it can be beneficial, and may pay off to use mobile hardware that’s especially developed for retail. This includes barcode scanners, mobile computers and RFID solutions for example.
Motorola Solutions introduced a combination of both type devices at this year‘s EuroShop in Düsseldorf, Germany. With its pocket-sized TC55 touch computer and the ET1 Enterprise tablet, Motorola offers two devices that combine the characteristics of traditional mobile enterprise computers with the design and functionality of consumer devices.

Android solutions increase the performance of store associates and improve customer service. Sales associates can directly call up product information as images and videos to show the customer. They are also able to quickly and easily register barcodes of labels or mobile phone displays or import customer cards. The advantage of using such specialized hardware is that it was completely developed with the special needs of retailers in mind and that unlike standard tablets and smartphones, it doesn’t first need to be retrofitted.

The challenge lies in mobile device management

Based on this, it only makes sense to equip your own associates with mobile devices. However, retailers are then faced with the challenge of monitoring and managing these devices. This is not an easy feat of course, particularly for large chains where the rollout of a new mobile solution means that thousands of devices need to be introduced at hundreds of locations. Another factor is employees that are sometimes not as tech-savvy in the use of current technology as some of their customers.

Data protection represents the biggest problem in this case. After all, the data that is being retrieved on these devices – for instance requesting the warehouse status of an item or mobile payment – can definitely be relevant to business operations. Plus the devices are mobile, which means it is easier to steal or lose them compared to a fixed computer or installed cash register. The mobile devices are therefore also a safety risk for the retailer.

The proper management solution needs to integrate all devices and operating systems

Many existing mobile device management (MDM) solutions have functions that can solve these problems. Yet this brings up another issue: the different mobile platforms – whether that‘s iOS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Android – pose special challenges on MDM. A truly comprehensive solution therefore needs to be able to integrate both the retailer’s existing IT infrastructure as well as the existing devices and operating systems.

The salesperson is still essential

Today, brick-and-mortar retailers are not just competing with each other, they also compete against stronger online retail. Compared with a simple and quick purchase from your couch at home, it is especially important for retailers to create faster and simpler ways to make brick-and-mortar purchases. With the use of mobile devices at the POS, they are able to step up to the challenge and satisfy the customer’s need for information at the time as well as integrate all relevant distribution channels.

Perhaps the most crucial factor is and remains the sales associate in the store. He/she needs to be able to use the mobile devices quickly and correctly to provide the customer an added value through service. This is important, particularly in terms of the implementation of a cross-channel strategy. If used properly, the mobile devices provide direct access to all relevant customer data as well as the inventory control system and thus facilitate sales and service that covers all channels.

This is why mobile devices definitely provide retailers an additional benefit. Nevertheless, the sales associate is and remains an important factor in closing a sale in retail. Retailers therefore need to opt for well-trained staff, while also giving them the opportunity to service customers as quickly and professionally as possible by providing the right technical devices.

By Daniel Stöter, iXtenso.com

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: retail trends 1/2020: focus EuroShop 2020
05.02.2020   #digital signage #lighting systems

retail trends 1/2020: focus "EuroShop 2020"

The current issue with all trends around retail

Would you like to find out about the latest retail trends in technology, marketing, lighting, store design and logistics, browsing page by page? We would be happy to send you our current print edition retail trends on the focus "EuroShop ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Want to stop consumer hoarding in times of crisis?...
06.04.2020   #customer analysis #coronavirus

Want to stop consumer hoarding in times of crisis?

New research may provide the answer

Consumer stockpiling and hoarding took center stage in recent months as the COVID-19 virus has spread around the world, and with it, panic buying on the part of millions. News broadcasts and social media feeds have been filled with examples of the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Britain’s thrifty young fashionistas
24.01.2020   #customer satisfaction #sustainability

Britain’s thrifty young fashionistas

More than half of 25-34-year-olds buy second-hand clothes

Savvy young Brits are buying, selling, mending, swapping and renting their clothes, according to the latest research from Mintel.‘Thrifting’ is the way forward among young British fashion shoppers, as Mintel research shows that in the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020...
28.04.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Coronavirus: digital commerce spend to fall by 14 percent in 2020

Spend set to recover in 2021 as offline spend moves online

A new study from Juniper Research found that global spending on digital commerce will fall by 14 percent in 2020 as lockdowns and reductions in consumer spend are felt. Spending will fall from $11.2 trillion in 2019 to $9.7 trillion.The new ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Launch: SBA’s paycheck protection program for small businesses...
09.04.2020   #personnel management #coronavirus

Launch: SBA’s paycheck protection program for small businesses

Economic relief provision to protect workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic

The U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a 349 billion dollars emergency loan program created last week with the President’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Connected Retail Experiences and StartmeupHK Festival 2020...
01.04.2020   #online trading #brick and mortar retail

Connected Retail Experiences and StartmeupHK Festival 2020

New dates for the events announced

Bailey Communications and InvestHK have confirmed today that the Connected Retail Experiences and StartmeupHK Festival 2020, the flagship event of the startup community event has been rescheduled and will now take place during the week of 6th July, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Professional Development Guide – newly updated...
22.01.2020   #security #digital marketing

Professional Development Guide – newly updated

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2020

Just published, the Second Edition of the Professional Development Guide contains full details of the learning and development opportunities at ISE 2020. Full listings of manufacturer demo and training sessions have been added, along with updates to ...

Thumbnail-Photo: LED: optical illusion at the airport
16.04.2020   #digital signage #brick and mortar retail

LED: optical illusion at the airport

‘The Fashion Gallery’ concept in Vienna International Airport Shopping Plaza

BrightSign, LLC® announced  that Lagardère Travel Retail has recently opened its new ‘The Fashion Gallery’ concept, an 800m² shop in Vienna International Airport Shopping Plaza Terminal 2 Departure under customs ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Basics of how to merchandise your store
27.02.2020   #product presentation #goods illumination

Basics of how to merchandise your store

Retail Consultant Hans Günter Lemke reveals key elements of successful visual merchandising

Retailers face increasing pressure from online competitors. Although brick-and-mortar businesses take in the lion’s share of sales revenues, online shopping will play an increasingly important role in the future. That’s why it is ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Worst year on record for retail
20.01.2020   #brick and mortar retail #retail

Worst year on record for retail

Facts and figures about Black Friday and the Christmas sale 2019

The December figures are positively distorted by the late timing of Black Friday, which occurred in December 2019 as opposed to November in 2018. The 3-month and 12-month averages are not distorted. Total sales for 2019 decreased by 0.1 ...

Supplier

iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn