How can store mobility help retailers keep up with today’s empowered shoppers? In this blog, Dell’s Mike Adams shares the success strategies he’s learned from his work with leading retailers—and his own experiences as a retailer and entrepreneur. He also gives us a look at Dell’s latest innovations for store mobility. ~ David McKinney
Leveling the Playing Field
Keeping up with customers is an ongoing challenge for retailers. It’s trickier than ever now that mobile apps and hand-held devices have transformed our lives as consumers. Shoppers enter the store armed with more information than ever about what they want. The competition’s sales pitch and pricing are just a click away. Accustomed to living a digital life, shoppers and store associates alike are frustrated by any activity that wastes their time.
Store mobility helps retailers level the playing field. By putting innovative mobile solutions in associates’ hands, retailers empower associates to engage with shoppers on their own terms.
Using powerful tablets, associates are better equipped to deliver more personal, efficient, and loyalty-enhancing shopping experiences. With Dell Venue™ Pro tablets based on the Intel ® Atom™ or Intel® Core™ M processors and Windows 8, associates can display and compare products, showcase add-on merchandise, review account history, and offer on-the-spot discounts—all helping to turn browsers into buyers and deepen the customer relationship. These compatible tablets also free store managers to spend time with customers and associates while staying on top of their back-office tasks.
At the point of sale (POS), mobile solutions with the right capabilities can reduce costs and wait-times while increasing productivity and flexibility. For example, the Dell Venue 8 Pro mobile POS tablet—powered by VeriFone and Intel and running Windows 8—lets associates conduct Payment Card Industry (PCI)-compliant transactions from anywhere in the store. This high-value mobile POS solution comes with a sleek, custom-developed payment sled that integrates an encrypted magnetic stripe reader and a 1D/2D bar code scanner and provides shift-long battery life. EMV capabilities will be added in spring 2015.
Six Strategies to Build Success
It takes more than mobile devices to achieve these benefits, however. These six strategies can help you get the full value of your store mobility investments.
- Focus on your core mission. One of the biggest mistakes I see is to fall in love with technology for its own sake. Successful mobile solutions should make you a better retailer. Before you deploy any technology, figure out how you’ll use it to get better at your core mission. Decide what business challenges you want to solve—then look at technologies. Don’t be a hammer looking for a nail.
- Solve practical problems. Engage stakeholders in possibility thinking. What everyday headaches and hassles might benefit from a mobile solution? Where can mobile solutions make the store experience faster, easier, more fun, or more compelling? Answer the questions by brainstorming with store associates, surveying customers, and auditing in-store processes. Get creative. One of my favorite examples is a cruise ship that is exploring using the scanner on its Dell Venue mobile POS devices to check kids in and out of its daycare center. At another company, field service technicians are experimenting with using their Dell Venue POS tablets to demonstrate related products and drive sell-up in addition to recording their transactions and taking payments.
- Think strategically. While you may start with a single use case, look down the road. Don’t feel that you need to work out every detail of the roadmap before you put mobile technologies on the floor. But do develop a strategic plan. The homework you do in the early stages helps build long-term success.
- Stay compatible. Don’t throw away the investments you’ve made to acquire, develop, and manage your current infrastructure, operating systems, and applications. Maintaining compatibility with your current POS and business platforms lets you spend more time innovating and less time integrating.
- Align devices, workflows, and users. Once you’ve mapped out one or more strategic use cases, get store associates and managers involved in evaluating devices. Develop a checklist of requirements, and choose devices with the right capabilities for the job. Look for flexible, compatible technologies that align with your roadmap.
- Protect customer data. As stewards of sensitive data, we must safeguard it. Work with vendors to explore their latest security solutions. Consider engaging an organization such as Dell Services to identify soft spots in your processes or infrastructure. EMV will be indispensible for some retailers, but you may find simple, cost-effective alternatives based on existing security technologies.
Store mobility is becoming an important differentiator. By using compatible mobile solutions to empower associates and support your core mission, you’re positioned to get the maximum return on your investments in store mobility—and keep up with your fast-moving customers.
- Learn about Dell store mobility solutions
- Learn about Intel’s mobile innovations for Retail POS
- Stay informed. Follow @retailerinsight and @dell