By Christophe Naasz, Business Development Director, Star Micronics
In the high-paced retail culture, leading companies are striving to stand out in a crowded marketplace through innovation, time to market, and increased employee productivity to build sales and ultimately boost revenue. And there’s one growth trend that is the driving force today — mobile technology. One particular method capturing corporate attention is “bring your own device” (BYOD) — allowing employees to use personal mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for corporate uses, as well as for customer interaction on the showroom floor. However, with that added bonus for employees, comes great responsibility for businesses. Managing BYOD puts extra burden on companies as they try to streamline operations. I’d like to discuss the challenges that come with BYOD, as well as the benefits.
Staying Ahead Of The Technically Savvy Shopper
Shoppers today can walk into a store, scan products into their smartphones, compare prices with another store, and walk right out the door again, taking that information — and that revenue — with them.
That’s why it’s critical for retailers to stay a step ahead of today’s incredibly knowledgeable shopper, who most always will have a mobile device in tow. According to an RIS/IHL 2012 Store Systems Study, 52 percent of retailers are planning to roll out tablets to their employees in stores within the coming year, while another 25 percent plan to roll out tablets in the following 12 months. And that doesn’t account for companies that have or will adopt BYOD. From the small corner store to the Fortune 500, retailers of all sizes are gradually recognizing the important of arming employees with mobile devices to better engage with customers at their level — and keep the sales flowing. Leveraging mobile technology is a smart business and marketing move that can result in improved customer satisfaction, with the end goal of gaining customer loyalty.
Managing BYOD For Retailers
So once a retailer allows the use of thousands of personal mobile devices across multiple locations, challenges arise that can’t be ignored. Mobile devices are designed primarily for consumer use, with businesses coming in second. Howeve,r with the evolving technology paradigm, those lines are becoming blurred. The retail industry at large is finding it grueling to standardize the management of these devices in the field and in the showroom.
Here are some of the challenges to keep in mind when strategizing corporate policies:
Managing BYOD for Customers
How will BYOD for customers evolve in the store of the future? Another world of challenges arises when store guests could someday use their phones to actually purchase items.
Reaping The Rewards
As with any great challenge, there can also be great rewards. So it will go with BYOD as you and your clients work out the kinks. As a Retail VAR, you can help your clients see the following ROI:
BYOD is still an evolving trend, however it’s one that is essential to address today. An acute awareness of the challenges of BYOD can help you provide solutions that help your customers’ businesses run effectively while still maintaining PCI compliance — boosting their efficiency and heightening engagement with consumers.