Mobile Devices: The Solution for Brick-and-Mortar Retail
By Marco Nielsen, VP of Managed Mobility Services at Stratix
When your business relies on in-person transactions at your brick-and-mortar locations, the customer experience must be mobile, efficient and seamless. Changing consumer behaviors have led to the rise of e-commerce, making in-store retail growth an uphill battle. The need for a user-friendly customer experience is even more essential when the interaction between associates and customers involves obtaining a signature and other important documentation.
Handheld tablets powered by the Android Enterprise operating system offer a versatile platform for custom apps, electronic documentation, payment processing and more. This solution empowers retail employees to deliver an overall better experience for the customer, as those choosing to shop in-store seek a level of service far beyond what they encounter online. One way to achieve this is by upgrading the mobile technology across your entire retail operation.
Transitioning from older mobile operating systems and paper-based solutions to deploying Android tablets and associated services for associates in thousands of locations can be a daunting task. While a critical investment, how do retailers even begin to approach this process? Below are a few ways for retailers to find the right solution and a few different aspects of the process to look out for.
Businesses often struggle to recruit and retain professionals with the skills, certifications and experience to manage the full range of Android devices — including everything involved in getting new and replacement devices into the hands of thousands of employees. With constant retail turnover, it can be hard to find the right people to manage devices in-house.
Looking to a trusted partner with deep experience in Android migrations can take a lot of guesswork out of the equation. Look for a partner that takes part in the Google Android Enterprise Recommended program, to ensure their teams are expertly trained to offer a best in class customer experience. Seeking partners with relationships to companies like Google is a great way to solidify a seamless migration.
Supporting a massive number of devices, apps and users in the field can be a lot for the typical IT support team to handle. In order to keep employees up and running, they need access to specialized, comprehensive, Day-2 support resources that may require an outsourced solution. Employees on the floor cannot wait for critical devices to be replaced or fixed; they need real-time solutions. During a big deal buster sale, if a mPOS goes down without a replacement handy, retailers can lose out on significant profits.
A Mobile Operations Center is another way to ensure personalized support options. With remote diagnostics and application level support, devices can remain functioning smoothly in the field without any revenue generating downtime.
Field personnel interacting with customers across brick-and-mortar locations need to process payments, print receipts and handle electronic paperwork and other important functions from a single converged mobile device to make transactions frictionless. Retailers should have the confidence to rely on mPOS the same as any other payment terminal. With the right training and support, these agile devices make work easier for staff, and the checkout process seamless for shoppers.
Mobile technology is evolving at a dizzying pace. Future-proofing is a must, as businesses want a consistent line of sight into the product lifecycle and the ability to upgrade devices in a timely manner. This requires a forward-thinking solution that will keep devices up to speed today and still relevant in the future. Migrations can be expensive, but the right partner can help mitigate rising costs down the road.
Outdated Legacy Systems
Many retailers are looking to transition from outdated legacy systems or manual/paper-based environments to a digital solution for paperwork administration and printing, payment handling and more. This only helps to futureproof the retailer and create better experiences for both personnel and customers. Only an experienced mobility expert can handle the moving pieces, vendors and service providers involved – from pilot to rollout.
Brick-and-mortar retailers that fail to see the benefit of upgrading their mobile technology will suffer a far too familiar fate in retail. The industry is too competitive to avoid adapting, as consumers are driven not only by the quality of product but also the quality of the customer experience. Finding the right partner is crucial in this transformation, not only to cut costs but to ensure employees are equipped and supported properly.
Contributed by Marco Nielsen, VP of Managed Mobility Services at Stratix.