In preparation for the Two-Pronged Approach to Tablet Strategy webinar this Thursday, Merchandising Matters sat down with Dan Wittner, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at RBM Technologies and Scott Moreland, Principal, Retail Industry Solutions at Motorola to get some insight into this two-pronged strategy and how it can be applied to retail stores.
The boom in tablets is giving retailers the opportunity to raise their game and engage in retailing tactics that deliver a superior customer experience. In this lunch and learn Web session you will hear about a two-tiered approach to deploying tablets.
Why is retail compliance critical in supply chain management strategy and store-level execution?
DW: Retail stores are incredibly expensive to run and maintain, yet many store managers aren’t getting the most out of their stores’ potential because there is no way to effectively communicate to their corporate headquarters whether merchandising and promotional campaigns are being executed according to plan. By equipping store managers with tablets running our Visual Merchandising Manager (VMM), retailers can ensure that every store location is optimized for peak sales performance.
VMM is a Web-based in-store visual merchandising management solution that empowers store managers of large retail chains with instant directives on where, when and how to place items within a store, right down to the fixture level. By putting this planogramming power into the hands of store managers using the Android-based ET1 Enterprise Tablet, RBM enables an unparalleled level of localization and real-time reporting to headquarters.
What are some of the ways retailers are using the Motorola ET1 Android Enterprise Tablet in their retail operations?
SM: The Motorola ET1 Enterprise Tablet represents a convergence of the best of the consumer tablet and the utility of a device that is designed for the enterprise. With this convergence, retailers are able to deploy compelling applications that leverage the user-friendly interface of Android on a larger mobile screen without compromising on security, durability, or manageability. For the retail enterprise, this translates into a platform that is suited for both store operations and customer-facing solutions.
Store managers can also be freed from their office PC’s to remotely view management dashboards, flash sales reports, and a host of communications that aren’t typically suited for a smaller mobile screen. The larger screen is also well suited for delivering larger amounts of graphical content, for example, to display plan-o-grams or view training videos. For customer-facing applications, sales associates are able to browse extended assortments of items and explore options with customers as part of an assisted selling strategy.
The ET1 is also ideally suited as a mobile Point of Sale platform that enables sales associates to close and tender transactions from anywhere in the store with a screen that is large enough to closely resemble the interface displayed on fixed terminals to which they are accustomed.
How does the use of VMM on mobile devices, such as the Motorola ET1 Enterprise Tablet, benefit store operations?
DW: Using the VMM on the Motorola ET1 Enterprise Tablet, retail store managers can ensure that the right products are on the right fixtures at the right time.
The importance of ensuring that promotional campaigns are properly localized for each store neighborhood is paramount. This is supported by sending photos of the executions tied to the campaign planograms to confirm store compliance and delivering training and instructional videos at the point of execution for maximum impact.
Our company’s Web-based visual merchandising management solution has cut the cost of in-store merchandising and promotions and driven revenue with localized campaign planning and compliance reporting for some of the world’s largest brands including AT&T, Verizon, Capital One, BMO/Harris Bank, T-Mobile, O2 and Rogers.
How does mobile device implementation improve enterprise productivity?
SM: Motorola Solutions strives to help people be their best in the moments that matter. In the retail enterprise, that translates into enabling associates to stay connected to one another, access information, or collect data at the point of activity.
With mobile solutions, gone are the days of recording information on a clipboard, walking back and forth throughout the day to consult an office PC, or telling a customer to wait while searching for an available POS terminal to answer a basic question like, “How much does this cost?”
Taking solutions mobile also improves the quality and timeliness of data throughout the enterprise to enable more consistent execution between stores and greater visibility to store activities at all levels of management.
What piece of advice would you give to retailers contemplating deploying enterprise tablets in their brick and mortar store?
SM: The additional screen real estate provided by a tablet enables entire classes of mobile solutions. However, it is important to consider factors that go beyond the look and feel of the device. How will the device stand up to the rigors of the retail environment? Can spare batteries be charged in cradles and swapped towards the end of a long day of use like with the ET1? Has the device been designed to survive the inevitable fall to a hard floor, like the ET1? After 2 years or more, will the same device still be available as new stores are opened or will software and accessories need to evolve to accommodate a newer version of a consumer tablet?
The ET1 is guaranteed to be available for three years with service continuing for an additional three years. While consumer operating systems, like Android, deliver a rich user experience and compressed training times, has adequate care been taken to harden the environment for use in the enterprise? The ET1 supports a true multi-user experience with separate work spaces and role-based access to only those applications that are needed by the individual. Encryption of both internal and removable media delivers a more secure platform, while device management tools enable the enterprise to efficiently provision and manage the device without user intervention.
Finally, does the device come from a manufacturer that is committed to retail with decades of experience in delivering value with a lower total cost of ownership to the enterprise? Motorola Solutions has considered all of the factors just mentioned and more, and it can’t be overstated that the selection of the right tablet is an important one. It simply isn’t as easy as picking the one that is more attractive or influenced by the one that’s used at home for playing games or browsing the internet.
The two-tiered approach to tablet deployment can be summarized by the following.
1. Line-busting and selling, where tablets are deployed on the sales floor to improve customer engagement through upselling and clientelling, and
2. Enterprise productivity, where retailers use mobile devices in store operations and sales-support roles.
Each of these tactics requires a separate set of goals, objectives and business plans. Join this session if you want to learn about best practices in deploying tablets and how cloud-based services and applications are the perfect fit for tablets and make it possible for retailers to enter a new realm of great retailing.
Please register for the Webinar to learn more about retail localization and compliance using this two-tiered approach.