Leveraging mobile devices to increase in-store productivity and customer satisfaction
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 a recent RIS News webinar, mobile and retail experts came together to outline a two-pronged approach centered around deploying tablets on the sales floor to improve customer engagement and enterprise productivity.
Greg Buzek, founder and president of IHL Consulting Group kicked the webinar off by outlining the four stages of mobile usage within the retail store. It begins with the manager utilizing tablets instead of the back office PCs, making them more visible on the store floor. That approach is then extended to the store associates. Mobile devices are then used as a point of sale tool. Finally, for consumers, mobile devices are being deployed as a checkout alternative to long lines.
Buzek reinforced the above points with data from a 2012 RIS News/IHL Group Store Systems Study. In it, he notes that of the top in-store systems priorities for retailers, 63 percent of respondents said mobile devices for store associates was most important. Mobile for consumers came in second at 48 percent.
And, according to the study, retailers plan to act quickly when rolling out their tablet strategy. Fifty-two percent reported to be deploying tablets in the workplace within the next 12 months, with an additional 25 percent planning to make the switch in 12-24 months.
Implementing mobile devices to increase in-store purchases and empower sales associates is only one side of the mobile coin. The other propels campaign execution and planogram compliance.
Dan Wittner, EVP and COO at RBM Technologies, outlined the key issues with campaign execution by describing how they can be disorganized and confusing. There is lowered compliance of campaign and brand execution at the store level, over-shipment of messaging content (i.e., POP displays) and product, and an inability to deliver effective localized messaging and assortment.
In addition, there can be cumbersome turn around from campaign creation to in-store launch date, and inefficient communication between headquarters and store managers, leaving the customer experience to the imagination of each store manager.
The solution, according to Wittner, is a virtual merchandising tool. Savvy retailers have adopted applications that enable them to efficiently plan and communicate directives for new merchandising campaigns to all retail stores from corporate desktops.
Each floor plan is brought to life by interactive icons that demonstrate precisely how, when and where new planograms should be executed. With an enterprise-level visual merchandising solution, in-store marketing teams can precisely control the placement and configuration of each fixture across every retail location, resulting in a more uniform and consistent customer experience.
Properly localizing campaigns to ensure that the right product is placed on the right fixture at the right time is only one benefit. Wittner advised attendees to look for solutions – both software and tablets – that enable store managers to send photos of the executions tied to the campaign to confirm compliance to headquarters. He also touched upon these solutions’ ability to deliver corporate training and instructional videos to a retailer’s workforce for maximum impact.
Whether you are employing mobile devices to empower your workforce, increase POS productivity, or localize your in-store campaign, it is clear that the industry is shifting towards mobile adoption.
In our next post, we will examine how Mobile Deployment and Campaign Execution come to life via the Motorola ET1 Enterprise Tablet.