Front-of-Store or Back, One Device to Rule Them All: Why Retailers Are Embracing Rugged Mobile Tech

If you’re a retailer – or a consumer – you know that the retail experience has changed significantly over the past few years. Chip-and-PIN cards have become standard, retailers are bringing the personalized experiences of online shopping onto the store floor and mobile devices are changing the point-of-sale and allowing retail employees more freedom to interact and better serve customers.

Each of these changes is primarily driven and enabled by the rise of mobile technology and connectivity throughout retail organizations. As retailers look to gain a competitive edge, they know that keeping employees connected and leveraging data will help them not only provide a better experience to customers, but help find new efficiencies that let them understand and plan for market and organizational shifts that affect their bottom line.  

Of course, to uncover and make these shifts, retailers need to give their workers the right devices to get the job done. Last month, Panasonic revealed the newest members of the Toughbook family, the Toughbook FZ-T1 – a 5-inch Android handheld, and the Toughbook FZ-L1 – a 7-inch Android tablet. Both of these devices continue the Toughbook legacy of being purpose-built for how work is done today and designed to stand up to the rigors of the mobile workplace – but they strike a slimmer, sleeker pose that fits retailers perfectly.  

Part of the drive behind these new devices was a commitment to delivering tools that we know retailers are looking for – an attractively designed, highly functional and rugged mobile device that’s as comfortable in the stock room or the loading dock as it is on the store floor. Why does this matter for retailers? Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of a one-device solution:

  • Reduces Complexity: As retailers look to make or expand their mobile transition, some might be tempted to adopt different devices for front-of-store activities and back-of-store tasks. However, introducing more devices into your ecosystem means more complex support and maintenance that costs your organization money. It also means that employees are less flexible, or need more training if they need to move across different positions or environments within the retail space.
  • An Investment Built to Last: While a consumer grade device might be less expensive up front, employees are tough on hardware and a device that’s built to last years while in use for multiple shifts and for multiple functions makes long-term sense for companies investing in technology. Similarly, devices like the FZ-T1 and FZ-L1 offer the battery life needed to last beyond the length of a single work shift, with the ability to swap batteries on the fly quickly. That means your devices stay working as long as you need them.
  • The Right Tool for the Job: Consumer devices are built for consumers – and they serve those users well. But to tackle the challenges of the workplace, you need a device that’s purpose-built. A rugged handheld with a fast and efficient integrated barcode scanner is designed at its core for the stock room and the retail floor, where inventory management and scanning needs to happen frequently, reliably and efficiently. And with an ecosystem of accessories – like a pistol-grip for the Toughbook FZ-T1 – a rugged handheld device is designed to make sure work gets done.
  • A Seamless, Data-Driven Retail Experience: Brick-and-mortar retailers know that they need to go head-to-head with their online competition, and that means bringing data and connectivity-driven insights and experiences onto the retail floor. Deploying a mobile handheld solution means that sales staff can more easily tailor the shopping experience to the customer, checking inventory on the fly, helping discover new product solutions and taking payments quickly and easily.

For more information about the new, sleek and capable Toughbook FZ-T1 and Toughbook FZ-L1, as well as our full range of rugged mobile solutions, please visit us online.