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: Consumers demand sustainable fashion but won’t pay more...
28.06.2019   #sustainability #fashion

Consumers demand sustainable fashion but won’t pay more

Top five demands for the industry to become more sustainable

New research suggests over half (52 percent) of consumers in the UK and US want the fashion industry to become more sustainable, with calls for reduced packaging and fair pay for workers among their top demands. But only 29 percent of these ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The customer is always right? Two customers might spell trouble!...
09.05.2019   #consulting #brick and mortar retail

The customer is always right? Two customers might spell trouble!

How salespeople can handle customers who bring company along

Customers rarely shop alone. Most of them shop with family or friends. The other person might not always be in a good mood, patient or friendly. Can the salesperson simply ignore the other person in these instances? How should he or she handle this ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Post-purchase communication: Well-informed customers are happier...
21.05.2019   #customer satisfaction #customer relationship management

Post-purchase communication: Well-informed customers are happier

Shipment tracking options and convenient returns management solutions

Harald Mösel from b.telligent asserts that retailers can set themselves apart from the competition with positive, unique post-purchase experiences. In this interview, he illustrates how companies can utilize post-purchase communication to ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Innovation in sustainable packaging design and materials...
08.07.2019   #sustainability #packaging

Innovation in sustainable packaging design and materials

Bosch Packaging Technology and BillerudKorsnäs intensify collaboration

The demand for sustainable packaging among consumers and brand owners all over the world is growing at an exponential rate, which in many cases drives a strong need to replace plastic packaging. Strong partnerships are required to bring about the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Digital natives value brick and mortar stores …...
11.07.2019   #consulting #customer satisfaction

"Digital natives" value brick and mortar stores …

… more than their parents or grandparents

Despite clear differences in expectations among shoppers of different generations, almost half of retailers (44 percent) have made no progress in tailoring the in-store shopping experience according to a recent study conducted by Oracle NetSuite, ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Of local heroes and global players
04.07.2019   #online trading #digital marketing

Of local heroes and global players

An overview of online marketplaces

Amazon and eBay – many retailers heavily rely on these top names. Yet there are other online marketplaces that could offer useful features. After all, the easy solution isn’t necessarily the perfect fit for ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Award-worthy product presentations – Point of purchase displays...
08.05.2019   #pos marketing #displays

Award-worthy product presentations – Point of purchase displays

The 2019 POPAI Awards finalists in our photo gallery

This year’s POPAI Awards finalists prove that retail displays can do more than just grab the attention of consumers.Today’s displays not only reflect the overall customer journey, but also focus on storytelling and digital elements.The ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Cox Business Annual Survey: What do customers want?...
31.05.2019   #cashpoints #brick and mortar retail

Cox Business' Annual Survey: What do customers want?

Survey shows consumers want greater connection and more American-made products from the small businesses.

Small businesses should keep their cashiers, according to the 2019 Cox Business Consumer Pulse on Small Businesses. The Amazon Go cashier-less shopping model is only of growing interest among respondents ages 18-29 – up eight percentage points ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Return on experience: The new kind of customer loyalty...
12.08.2019   #customer satisfaction #customer retention

Return on experience: The new kind of customer loyalty

US retailers benefit if they keep pace with rapid rise in customer expectations

New research conducted by alternative payments provider Klarna across 2,000 US consumers and 250 retail decision makers, reveals that retailers are struggling to retain their customers as consumers today increasingly have zero tolerance for a poor ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Digital food retail: customers expect more personalization...
07.06.2019   #personalization #food delivery service

Digital food retail: customers expect more personalization

New research sponsored by precima shows retailers must act quickly to develop a detailed understanding of shopping missions.

The fast-changing dynamics of the food retailing environment continue to challenge companies to keep pace with fast-changing shopper demands. The latest of these shifting shopper requirements involves their behavior on digital platforms and is ...

Supplier

iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn
HappyOrNot
HappyOrNot
Innere Kanalstraße 15
50823 Köln
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen
CCV Deutschland GmbH
CCV Deutschland GmbH
Gewerbering 1
84072 Au i.d.Hallertau