National Public Radio reports that Americans will spend approximately two years of their life waiting in line. That’s a lot of waiting — and customers aren’t looking to increase their own personal waiting total statistic. When a shopper or sees a long, slow moving line, there is a chance they will walk away empty handed.
Retail mobility can help your sales associates prevent this from happening by enabling them to assist customers and complete payment transactions with mobile devices — either in the aisles or by adding an extra checkout when needed. Retail mobility also equips sales associates with the tools they need to answer customers’ questions about products specs or availability and to access data that can help them personalize assisted shopping experiences.
It all isn’t just a dream. You can deploy a mobile point of sale (POS) solution that efficiently provides the functionality you need; however, you need to cover all the bases when planning and selecting components for the solution to support your business goals.
Decide What You Need
The first step is to evaluate your needs and decide when and where you can incorporate retail mobility in your operations. Do you want to engage shoppers when they enter the store? Speed up the checkout? What POS functions do you use the most and should be used with mobile devices? What are the changes on retail’s horizon that you want to plan for now?
The second step is to determine the hardware, software, and infrastructure needed to achieve the goals you set in step 1. Consider these areas:
– Wi-Fi: Mobility is only as effective as the Wi-Fi network that powers it. If your goal is to speed up the checkout or empower your customers with the ability to use applications in-store, your Wi-Fi has to support high density usage. If your connectivity is anemic, it’s time for an upgrade.
– Location Services: Mobile data collection can help personalize your customers’ shopping trips. Permission-based marketing can track patrons’ shopping habits and issue coupons and offers while they are in-store or nearby.
– Mobile Search: A recent study suggests that 1 in 3 people use their phones to lookup information about a product instead of asking an employee, while 84% of shoppers browse online, read reviews and compare prices. Make sure customers can easily access the Internet so they can shop comfortably.
– Security: Data breaches are becoming more common and cause serious problems for retailers. Ensure the solutions you select comply with PCI Mobile Payment and Data Security Standards.
– Real-time data: Choose a mobile POS that updates all sales channels in real time. For example, sales staff can access up-to-the minute inventory levels to easily check if items are in stock, search other locations or order a product.
Rely on a Retail Solutions Provider
It’s never a good idea to buy a system piecemeal from different vendors to save a few dollars. A retail solutions provider will assist you in evaluating your needs and determining which retail mobility solution is right for you. It may cost you a little more in the short-term, but the end result is worth it. In the future, it also means you only deal with one company if the system requires service or technical support.
Future changes in retail could mean an upgrade to your retail mobility solution, so don’t limit yourself with solutions that aren’t agile or that are difficult to scale. For example the U.S. shift to EMV is underway, the payment industry continues to evolve and include new mobile wallet and payment platforms. Choose a system that gives you some room to grow, not one that barely covers your needs right nowRetail mobility can help you grow your business by providing a higher level of customer service and targeted marketing opportunities. Approach a new retail mobility solution strategically, matching capabilities to your business’ objectives. This will ensure that the vision you have for your operations enhanced by mobility will become a reality.
For information on how mobility can be a part of your overall retail strategy, read our e-book: The Digital Store Platform: Better data for survival in a customer-centric world.