June 6, 2016
By Tom McCole, Mobile Commerce Strategist, Infinite Peripherals, Inc.
As enterprise mobility solutions rapidly proliferate, they are profoundly impacting every industry that manages transactions. Tablets and smartphones equipped with custom apps and hardware such as card readers and barcode scanners deliver compact, versatile solutions designed to improve efficiency and save businesses money.
In the competitive retail industry, mobile POS is one example of modifying an existing workflow, and it is fast becoming a consumer expectation. Hurried shoppers now want immediate gratification by checking out anywhere in the store, versus standing in a line at a cash register; and merchants benefit from processing transactions more quickly and engaging customers better.
But mobility at retail encompasses much more beyond simply ringing up purchases faster. Mobile solutions can improve virtually every exchange in the retail business – between customers and associates, associates and management or management and suppliers, including:
1. Customer engagement – Having associates working the sales floor versus being behind a checkout counter facilitates more natural opportunities to assist customers, answer questions and provide a more personal experience.
2. Add-on sales – Associates easily can showcase additional items to complement a customer’s purchase, either directly on the floor or using the mobile device to display available options. Retail staff also can sell locally out-of-stock selections from other stores or the warehouse and ship directly to the customer’s home, thereby maximizing inventory turns and increasing sales.
3. Inventory visibility – With mobile devices, associates can function as personal shoppers by helping customers quickly find another size or color of an item in inventory, and request that runners in the back bring merchandise to the floor, which frees the associate to stay with the customer.
4. Loyalty programs – Using a CRM system that is integrated with mobile devices and in-store beacons, merchants can deliver targeted marketing via instant coupons or special offers in-store to customers’ phones. Mobile devices also can display a shopper’s buying history, special life events and personal preferences to create a customized experience.
5. Inventory management – Digitizing the inventory process provides instant access to real-time inventory data, which improves accuracy and reduces waste, resulting in valuable cost, labor and time savings. In addition, mobile devices can be used for price changes and planogram resets, as well as merchandise planning, ordering, receiving and sales analysis.
6. Time/attendance/scheduling – Managing labor with mobile devices is easy and convenient. Clock-in/out features directly facilitate payroll processing, along with simplified shift change management and vacation requests. Managers also can send floor associates instant alerts about sales, new inventory or special promotions.
7. Training – Mobile devices can display training manuals, videos and tutorials that associates can access anywhere as necessary. Plus, with their familiar touch screens and intuitive operation, smartphones and tablets themselves typically are a quick study for staff of all ages, further simplifying training.
By partnering with customers to understand their existing workflow, Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (IPC) utilizes a combination of software and hardware to implement a new, customized solution that already fits how they do business. This partnership results in more efficient business for valuable cost, labor and time savings that immediately impact the bottom line.
For more information on how IPC transforms transactions beyond payments, visit ipcmobile.com and see how a major coffee retailer reduced monthly inventory time by 50%!
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