When we think of mobile apps in the Retail industry, consumer apps such as online shopping and loyalty rewards naturally come to mind. But have you ever stopped to think about the flip side of Retail (i.e. the world of manufacturers, merchandisers, store owners, managers and associates) and wondered if internal retail mobile solutions can provide as much value behind the scenes as they already do for consumers? Hint: they can and do.
As mobile strategists, we routinely get to go backstage (if you will) to understand and witness first-hand how things work and to determine in what ways a mobile solution might prove advantageous to the organization. We regularly study all the actors and moving parts that play a role in ensuring their customers enjoy frictionless, intuitive interactions and experiences with the company.
I recently had the opportunity to assist one of the largest and most well-known brands with the development of their retail operations’ mobile strategy. As part of this engagement I spent a “day-in-the-life” with store owners and associates. What an experience! Now, to be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time in retail stores. I’m the type of shopper who finds what he’s looking for, buys it, and splits—in and out! But spending a full day working alongside store owners, managers and associates really put things into perspective, enabling me to realize how mobile technology is, could, and should be used in each of the roles I observed.
Just to caveat, some manufacturers, merchandisers and retailers have embraced technology more quickly than others, and are already well down the maturity path in using mobile technologies throughout their retail ecosystem. But for those that are not there yet, here are some key opportunities where mobile can drive as much value behind the counter as it does for your customers.
One area that represents a huge opportunity for mobile to deliver value is in the interaction between the retail supplier sales representative and the store owner. All sales reps have defined sales objectives they are required to meet—whether monthly, quarterly and/or annually. To achieve these objectives, the sales rep must effectively demonstrate and advise the owner regarding store performance as compared to other stores selling their products. The ability for the sales rep to “visually” display and review sales performance metrics during a routine store visit and to easily ‘drill-down’ into the details around why a store is not performing well— identifying where and how the store can improve its sales performance—is simply invaluable for the store owner.
Now, one reason a store’s performance is low compared to others may be due to a lack of (or minimal) training or know-how in terms of setting up product displays and/or promotions. The delivery of adequate, effective training and “how-to” content around setting up product displays and promoting products can dramatically boost a store’s sales of that product. For example, a mobile solution that may be viewed on the store floor via smartphone or tablet and which features “how-to” pictures and videos of creative seasonal product displays would deliver a high degree of value for a minimal cost.
The following are some additional mobile opportunities identified in recent retail engagements:
- Assisting in-store customers with finding a product and/or ordering a product that’s not available in the store.
- Simplifying the process of re-ordering products by scanning product codes and/or viewing order history.
- Processing customer orders (e.g. ship from store) from a mobile device and scanning product UPCs as they are taken from inventory to fill the order.
These are but a few examples that demonstrate how mobile technology can deliver value to suppliers and retailers. On our most recent retail strategy engagement, the Propelics strategy team compiled a list of over one hundred mobile uses cases for multiple actors throughout the retail ecosystem. The key takeaway is to remember that mobile is not just beneficial for consumers. Rather, mobile technology provides an enormous amount of value across the entire enterprise.
If your retail organization would like to start enjoying all the myriad benefits of enterprise mobile technology by developing solutions that deliver high value but are unsure how to get started, you’re worries are over. Propelics is here. We have helped countless retailers improve their operational efficiencies and customer connections, always with amazing results that drive business growth from day one. So reach out to us today; we’d love to get you going.
Sr. Strategist & Client Partner Manager