Peering Into The Future Of Retail (Part 2)-Retail Mobility
Hot on the heels of RFID, is the drive for all things mobile in retail. Mobile is hot. Mobile is sexy. We live our lives around mobile devices. So, it makes perfect sense that our consumer-driven lifestyles would dictate that those mobile devices could be used in retail.
Mobile Point of Sale is the new thin-client.
Retailers in their drive to provide the ultimate shopping experience are mandating that their retail management systems operate in a mobile capacity. The consumer’s daily utilization of mobile devices is driving this mandate at a staggering rate. Smaller alternatives to the monolithic POS systems we have all become used to over the years are popping up at every corner, but they are still not “Mobile”.
To be truly mobile with respect to retail, the retailer needs to be able to bring the POS system to the customer and not be bound by a rat’s nest of wiring typically found under the counters, counters which in a mobile retail environment can be used for better purposes like product display. Advances in wireless technology, decreased wireless network costs, and utilization of long-established methodologies of thin-client means a POS system can be delivered with lighter system requirements, ultimately lowering the hard costs for the retailer and allowing them to interface with their customers on a much more intimate level.
Mobile retailing isn’t just limited in its use as a replacement for the wired POS systems in today’s B&M stores. Mobile consumerism is also driving the need for “mobile” retailing. Consumers of today are heavily driven by their abilities to gather information quickly and purchase with minimal fuss. Mobile allows them the freedom to purchase from nearly anywhere at any time. For this reason it’s equally important that retailers consider how “mobile” can server their needs outside their B&M stores.
New methods of marketing to the modern consumer are cropping up daily. Companies like Wishpond (www.wishpond.com), are delivering new ways for consumers to locate products in nearby stores. Leveraging mobile platforms with these technologies is empowering the retailer to reach out to nearby consumers with coupons and targeted sales drawing those consumers to their B&M or web-based store fronts.
The possibilities of mobile retailing are virtually endless and only limited by how quickly we can integrate the mobile philosophy into the retailing environment. It’s an exciting time for retailers to say the least, and fulfilling this niche is paramount to maintaining the consumer relationship.
Next week - the trend report that is all about the consumer - Know Thy Customer.
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