Report • 04.05.2011

Retail is on its way into the mobile computer era

Retail is getting more and more mobile

After the computer age comes the mobile computer era. The on-the-go equipment is getting more and more multifaceted. Simple cell phones make room for smartphones and Tablet PCs with touch-screens can replace the PC at home and in the office. And retail is also getting more and more mobile – in its own processes as well as in its communication with the customers. Communication, dialog and mobile interaction will change everyday life of consumers.

How do users act with these new devices? Mobile interaction is one of the research topics of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO.

How do devices need to be designed so that they are easy to handle? How do users make use of these gadgets? Yet mobile interaction is also a question of how users act amongst each other, since the mobile companions have long since been more than just data reception devices – they make mobile interaction possible. The users receive messages and can react to them. The development started with the cell phone receiving and sending SMS messages. For some time now you can surf the Internet with your cell phone, answer mails and stay in touch with “friends” via social networks while you are on-the-go.

New prospects for the retail market

Retail can utilize this mobile interaction as an additional channel for customer communication. The big goal of direct marketing comes true – dialog marketing. The customers don’t just receive advertising messages, they answer them and send them on to their circle of friends. What sounds so easy is in fact not without risk since the transmission often doesn’t happen in the original text. Users comment without the advertising company being able to prevent the spread of inaccurate, critical or harmful information.

It’s impossible to imagine doing without mobile helpers in the professional arena as well. Mobile data entry terminals, MDEs, are made for the tough environment in logistics and in retail. That’s why manufacturers aren’t afraid of the smartphone competition. Data is entered manually, scanned in and more recently contactless transferred via radio frequency information. The collected data can be buffered in the device and at the end of the workday – docked to the base station for battery charging – be transferred to the central server. This option is still more often being used than one would imagine in the wireless age, reports Nordic ID in an interview on this focal topic. With this, according to Lothar Struckmeier, Managing Director for the German-speaking countries, retailers avoid problems during real-time data transfer, which in his opinion are being overrated.

Young people grow up with mobile equipment

Mobile equipment changes the world – our everyday life, private life as well as professional life – and possibly also world history. In the current unrest in the Arab World, tweets, blogs and YouTube videos play an important role. The young, so-called “technical natives“, who grow up with mobile devices as a matter of course, will think less about the outcome than the older people do. The privilege of youth is its “storm and stress” and exuberance. In the process a lot might occur which may seem mundane, unnecessary or alarming to outsiders. However, the development can no longer be stopped.

The young already use new location based services which open up new doors in customer dialog for retailers. Mobile couponing, which sends out coupons depending on the location of the user, experiences a boom, indicates the German provider MyMobai in our interview.

This segment is still young and growth figures are accordingly high. The lines between advertising and information are starting to blur more and more. If you stand in front of a town hall, you don’t just get pictures and information about the historical buildings around the market square, but also the menu of the Ratskeller (a restaurant usually in the cellar of the town hall) or a coupon for the hair salon around the corner.

The cell phone becomes a universal tool

The cell phone will probably become a universal tool. At the moment different cashless payment systems battle for dominance. Whether here the cell phone is going to win over credit cards is an exciting question, which iXtenso recently reported on.

The cell phone can become a means of payment and facilitate identity verification. You can log into networks or prove your identity with a password and your cell phone. The era of having a multitude of credit cards in your wallet could be over, if rewards programs or credit card data is stored on the smartphone. Admittedly, the electronic health insurance card in Germany shows: The more intricate a system gets and the more participants with their different interests are involved, the more difficult its implementation becomes. And the eGK (electronic health insurance card) also shows: The more sensitive data is being stored, the more dangerous data loss through malfunctions and theft becomes. The fact that just now a global corporation like Sony wasn’t able to protect 77 million customers from hackers, gives critics new cause for mistrust.

New processes in retail

Retail business processes change with the possibilities of mobile interaction. Trucks automatically report their location. Procurement managers in logistics centers can see when a vehicle is off course or has broken down. Data terminals have long since been communicating directly with headquarters. Automatic purchasing requires real-time access to inventory management. Retail will have to invest in new IT. If you want to make it possible for your customers to pay with their cell phones, new software is needed. If you would like to hand them mobile shopping assistance, with which they can scan items on their own and call up additional information at the store shelf, then new equipment is necessary and interaction with the centralized database. The entry into the mobile Internet and into mobile dialog marketing, costs money at first. At the same time, consumers don’t have more money in their pockets than they did before. But with the mobile options they more than before are able to compare prices and services. In the mobile computer era, competition in the retail market will get even tougher.
René Schellbach,
Logo: MyMobai GmbH

MyMobai GmbH

Brühl 52
04109 Leipzig


Herforder Straße 195
33609 Bielefeld
Logo: Sony Deutschland GmbH

Sony Deutschland GmbH

Kemperplatz 1
10785 Berlin

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Cutting through the tax jungle
25.02.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

Cutting through the tax jungle

Startup helps online retailers to be fully compliant with European VAT regulations

Anyone who sells goods online is obliged to pay value-added tax (VAT). The amount depends on the respective national regulations. But what happens if you have cross-border exports and transactions? How much VAT do sellers have to pay in this case ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Unit development with R290
11.12.2019   #refrigeration cabinets #Trade fair special EuroShop 2020

Unit development with R290

Frost-trol develops a pilot water condensation project using R290 as a refrigerant

Since 2005, Frost-trol R&D efforts have focused on developing efficient cabinets and finding solutions with natural fluids: R744, R290 or R1270. Propane (R290) has always been at the center of attention of our research line, because it is ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Corona crisis: Contactless payment more popular than ever...
30.03.2020   #cashpoints #brick and mortar retail

Corona crisis: Contactless payment more popular than ever

Practical, fast, and, above all, hygienic

"Please make contactless payment if possible." These or similar notices are currently in the checkout area of many grocery stores. By reducing necessary contact points in the checkout zone, it is hoped to counteract the spread of the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Poindus VariPOS TSE Solution
11.02.2020   #security #pos systems

Poindus VariPOS TSE Solution

TSE for German fiscal regulations

Kassensicherungsverordnung (KassenSichV) regulates the technical requirements for electronic recording and security systems, such as Point-of-Sale (POS) systems & electronic cash registers in order to end the manipulation and potential tax ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Password? No need!
09.03.2020   #mobile payment #security

Password? No need!

Interview with Dr. Daniel Schellenberg, COO of IDEE GmbH

Do you have an existing user account? Did you forget your password? No doubt, those are some annoying questions when you shop online. The brains behind IDEE agree and leverage your "digital identity" to make surfing and online shopping ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Compact for security
17.01.2020   #security #shopfitting

Compact for security

A new security antenna system specifically designed for convenience stores

Retail security systems to prevent theft are a big concern for retailers. Large supermarkets and clothing stores install EAS antennas at the entrance and/or exit areas. Installing this type of feature proves more challenging for stores with a ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Toshiba bolsters point-of-sale performance with latest Intel technology...
21.01.2020   #pos marketing #self-checkout systems

Toshiba bolsters point-of-sale performance with latest Intel technology

9th generation Intel® Core™ processor enhances retailer operations and customer experience

Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions continues to empower retailers and enhance the customer experience by integrating Intel’s latest processor technology within its global point-of-sale (POS) systems. The 9th Generation Intel® Core™ ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Think Different! Thought leadership at ISE 2020...
13.12.2019   #security #digital marketing

Think Different! Thought leadership at ISE 2020

Over 200 specialists to offer expert opinion and insight

Integrated Systems Europe 2020’s professional development programme will feature over 200 leading experts from a wide variety of disciplines and subject areas across five days of keynotes, conferences, masterclasses, workshops and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Digital tool helps MENY in the fight against food waste...
13.02.2020   #sustainability #app

Digital tool helps MENY in the fight against food waste

Printing discount labels directly from the app

After a convincing test, Dagrofa rolls out the food waste app ‘Whywaste’ in all the Danish MENY stores. At MENY in Solrød, the store has already managed to achieve a significant reduction in food waste. In addition to the app, the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Wireless with SVN-Flex from SALTO
20.01.2020   #security #security management

Wireless with SVN-Flex from SALTO

SALTO has launched SVN-Flex, a new technology that enables virtual networked access control solutions

In the solutions wireless electronic escutcheons and cylinders act as wire-free updaters. This leads to greater efficiency, security and convenience.The innovation of the SVN-Flex is that users no longer necessarily need hard-wired wall readers to ...


APG Cash Drawer (Germany)
APG Cash Drawer (Germany)
Leichtmetallstr. 22a
42781 Haan-Gruiten
ROQQIO Commerce Solutions GmbH
ROQQIO Commerce Solutions GmbH
Harburger Schloßstraße 28
21079 Hamburg
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven
Saint Gobain Sovis
Avenue de la Republique
2407 Chateau Thierry Cedex
Via Venezia, 58
35010 Marsango di Campo San Martino/PD
Axis Communications GmbH
Axis Communications GmbH
Adalperostraße 86
85737 Ismaning
GLORY Global Solutions (Germany) GmbH
GLORY Global Solutions (Germany) GmbH
Thomas-Edison-Platz 1
63263 Neu-Isenburg
Flinger Broich 203
40235 Düsseldorf
Burkhardt Leitner Modular Spaces GmbH
Olgastrasse 138
70180 Stuttgart
Innere Kanalstraße 15
50823 Köln