January 2012 Integrated Solutions For Retailers
By Rich Mellott, president, DIGIOP
Maximizing the potential of mobile applications available to retailers offers better efficiency in many operations.
Deloitte predicted that by the end of 2011, more than 25% of big box and anchor retailers would offer in-store Wi-Fi access for free. Customers would be able to scan UPC codes, cost compare on the spot, and impact their buying decisions with immediate market feedback. The Future Laboratory in the United Kingdom, in its 2012 Retail Report, predicts that the retail industry is reinventing itself as it embraces community-based and social feedback, which will result in a “new normal.” Customers will continue to demand multichannels for shopping, and the in-store experience will require ongoing differentiation. As a leader in the retail sector, how can you manage all the moving parts of this changing industry, understand your customers, and respond to their needs dynamically, while defending yourself against margin-eaters like theft?
Efficiency in operations, combined with immediate feedback and knowledge from your existing tools, can have direct impact on your bottom line. If you are a smaller retailer, such as a boutique or specialty store, you often wear many hats in the operation and management of your business. Reducing your time in back office operations, such as shipping and receiving, so that you have more time with your customers and front end operations allows you to bring the most value. Let’s take unattended deliveries as an example. Imagine getting an email notification to your smartphone when a shipment arrives to your back door. Access the data for that event, showing you it is UPS, FedEx, or another regular delivery. Then, from your mobile phone, tap into the video to ensure that there are no issues, without even leaving your storefront. This empowers you to be more efficient and effective in your business — ultimately increasing your bottom line.