Mobile Devices in Retail – 5 key factors to take into consideration

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Mobile Devices in Retail

Online retail sales in the UK this year are expected to exceed £60 billion, up nearly 15% on 2015. Retailers are continuing to come under pressure, looking for new ways to attract customers to their physical stores. Retailers are starting to embrace a joined up thinking between their online and store activity and finding ways to adopt new technology in-store. One major contributor to this is the use of mobile devices in retail.

Money, and the way it can be transferred has also changed over recent years. With the emergence of smart watches, contactless and new payment methods, such as Apple Pay, the customer now has so much choice. How are retailers keeping up with this pace?

Since 2013 a number of retailers have been trialing tablets. Big brands have been using mobile devices in retail for a number of years, but now these devices are finding themselves in more areas of our everyday lives. Restaurants, bars, hotels, gyms, even shoe shops are starting to use these devices and cater to consumer choice, replacing POS hardware with mobile devices in retail. Mobile devices also can increase sales and customer engagement with many companies starting to scale up their operation and using mobile devices in retail for more tasks in-store.

Mobile Devices in Retail create a new user experience

Mobile Devices in Retail create a new user experience

With this comes a number of factors to consider when choosing mobile device solutions to implement. Here are 5 key areas to consider when making those choices:

1. What is the device being used for

Ask yourself about your customers and staff. What are you trying to achieve with mobile devices in retail environment? This will help you determine the physical size of device required. Can you achieve this with a smart watch, phone or tablet?

Who will be using the mobile device and will it be in a static/fixed position or roaming within the store for members of staff to engage with consumers. Do you need a solution that offers both?

Are you looking to replace your existing POS with new In-store payment processing? Are these devices for customer self-service, product displays, signage and in-store advertising or video promotions to give customers a real feel for a wider range of products?

2. Day to day management

Many people forget about this simple part of the equation. All mobile devices in retail environments need to be managed and are by no means cheap to replace. You need to consider power to these devices and how they are going to be charged?, a dead device in any situation is detrimental to your business.

Tablets are changing the world of retail

Accountability…. Who is responsibility in-store for these mobile devices? If the device is a fixed installation who checks the devices each day to make sure they are functioning correctly? With roaming devices who is responsible for issuing and collecting these devices? What happens to devices that show signs of battery degradation, screen latency or other issues? It will happen, these devices will not run 100% effectively for ever.

3. Data Management and Infrastructure

Communication and central intelligence are vital to your business. You need to consider how communication with the mobile devices in retail are managed. How do you get new information both onto the device and from the device. A big part of this is security, so weigh up the pro’s and con’s of WiFi compared to a physical data connection is important.

Part of the equation is the number of devices that need managing and the throughput of data required. Do you want to fork out on thousands of pounds on a wireless network when you only have 2 POS terminals? At the other end of the scale, in a large arena or stadium how secure and functional is an enterprise solution, and is it cost effective.

What software do I need? Many retailers benefit from the easy-to-upgrade software and the data-collecting abilities of mobile apps. Look at each option to see what suits your business best. There are many providers fighting for your business.

4. Physical Security 

The security of your devices is also another cost to consider.

You need to protect your mobile devices in retail environments from the few members of the general public who think they can take the device home with them, from people disfiguring the device or trying to reset or turn the device off!

You must consider how the devices will be interacted with and limit any tampering. Look at the solutions available in this area to see what works for you.

If roaming devices are stored in a back office environment are they locked away in a secure environment and charging. Do they need to be connected to the network, or managed from a remote location?

5. Support… What happens if it all goes wrong?

Probably the most important consideration with any solution is the support when it all goes wrong, down time is money!

Consider the important elements of a potential company you are looking to work with and the terms of that business.

What level of support would you receive when it’s most important to you, and in what form does that support come? How adaptable is that software to your requirements and what does the future road map look like for your future needs.

Over the past 3 years Cambrionix and our partners have helped a number of key retailers with their requirements. Using existing products or creating bespoke solutions to meet our customers needs. If you would like to discuss your mobile device needs please call us on +44 1223 755520 or email . You can also find out more information on our website