Future-proof your retail enterprise with cloud-based in-store mobility solutions

by Infor Retail October 26, 2016 Customer Experience

RIS News Q&A with David Dorf

RIS News recently sat down with David Dorf, Infor’s VP of Product Strategy, Digital & CX to discuss the current state of mobility in retail and the opportunities it offers retailers, as well as the challenges retailers face and things they should keep in mind as they adopt this technology in their stores.

What analytic opportunities and customer service improvements does in-store mobility offer retailers and what are some of the most cutting-edge ways to leverage the technology?

When you think of in-store mobile analytics, it’s helpful to consider mobile devices as a way of tagging people—both customers and employees—to collect insights about shopper behavior, engagement on the sales floor, and the ways that in-store marketing affects traffic and sales. It’s the physical world’s version of a web cookie that can be tracked and analyzed, which allows retailers to better understand their shoppers’ path to purchase, dwell times, queue lengths, and much more. Technologies like Wi-Fi triangulation, Bluetooth low-energy, and even magnetic positioning can track people anonymously, eliminating privacy issues and giving retailers a big picture view of their in-store shopper experience. These data points give retailers the kind of information that can help them improve store layout, market more effectively, and schedule labor in a more efficient way—all of which can improve customer service.

How important is having mobile-equipped sales associates to brick and mortar stores’ digital transformation and what are the challenges that retailers face in rolling this out?

Every retailer needs to equip its employees with mobile devices, but how those devices are used varies depending on the business model. For example, in a high-touch store environment, mobile devices are a crucial tool that employees and customers use together, from the beginning of the sales interaction through the purchase. In a low-touch store environment, mobile devices are more important for employee efficiency, executing inventory tasks, and answering occasional product questions. And a fashion retailer might need mobile devices for both of these environments. The key is making sure the mobile device enhances store processes while staying true to the brand’s mission. It can be daunting to figure out the balance between mobility and brand, but investing in a harmonious solution always has the best payoff.

What factors do retailers need to consider when considering the seemingly endless device choices?

The mobile hardware space is changing rapidly, so whatever decisions made today will likely be overturned by new devices in the not-too-distant future. That’s why it’s important for retailers to select software that is flexible enough to support many different types of hardware. And there’s no need to select just one device. Retailers can select a combination of devices that best fits their business processes and strategy. They should be choosing software solutions that support small, medium, and large form-factors, multiple operating systems, and both mobile and fixed devices. Investing in cloud-based software is the best way to ensure you don’t get stuck with legacy systems that could be made obsolete—because future upgrades, maintenance, and changes to systems can all be completed in the cloud, without massive downtime and business disruption.

Mobility technology is removing barriers along the shopper’s journey, how is it continuing to evolve to truly deliver a seamless customer experience?

The true measure of a seamless shopping experience is consistency across channels and devices with minimal friction. If a customer can create a basket online, move it to their phone to shop in-store, and finally move it to an associate’s tablet for checkout, then the experience is pretty seamless. The next step is ensuring that your marketing participates in that journey in a similar fashion, adding value with useful recommendations and relevant offers. Having a single engagement platform that manages the experience across all touchpoints is where retailers are heading.

To learn more about about how leading retailers can provide a seamless, data-rich consumer experience today while also preparing for tomorrow, download the RIS News Technology Solutions Guide, “In-Store Mobility: Providing a Seamless Personalized Path to Purchase.