How to Use Mobile Devices to Enhance Retail Customer Experiences
Retailers know the challenge of meeting consumer demand, as competition with e-commerce stores has created a need for faster order fulfillment and improved product information. With more consumers becoming mobile-savvy, mobile devices can help retailers influence sales from the warehouse to the storefront by streamlining the process. In this article from Panasonic, mobile devices can contribute to better inventory management and supply chain transparency.
With consumer demands at an all-time high, it’s hard for retailers to keep up with ever-changing expectations in today’s digital environment. Customers want to know what’s currently available in their local stores or if there’s a limited number of product available to order online so that they can purchase before it goes out of stock. Not to mention, customers are becoming increasingly mobile-savvy, with 58% of consumers researching products or looking up product information while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, according to a customer survey by Retail Dive. This makes it even harder for retailers to get sales over the finish line, especially if inventory is insufficient and customers can go elsewhere to purchase the same product.
So what’s the missing piece for retailers? Mobile devices are the conduit to better inventory management by keeping employees connected, no matter if they’re on the sales floor or in the warehouse. Inventory management plays an integral role in keeping your customers happy and deploying mobile devices helps to ensure that your store is always running smoothly. By implementing the right devices, retailers are able to increase productivity, save valuable employee time and streamline operations for an optimized supply chain and more precise inventory. It means that having a mobile technology strategy that you can count on and trust for a real-time look into available product is not optional, it’s essential.
Below are three ways a mobile strategy can create better in-store experiences for customers:
Deliver on multi-channel order fulfillment
The ability for retailers to offer multi-channel order fulfillment is a determining factor for success in today’s competitive retail market. Customers expect retailers to meet their flexible schedules by allowing online orders to be returned in store and the ability to order items online for same-day pick-up. While providing this type of multi-channel fulfillment can be very complicated and difficult to sustain, retailers who do so can increase brick-and-mortar foot traffic, thus creating a higher chance to make a profit. An adequate mobile device strategy will make offerings like these sustainable and actually feasible for the everyday retailer by simplifying complex processes. With more flexible offerings, retailers can solidify customer relationships and keep them coming back, as opposed to spending their money elsewhere.
Retailers must go above and beyond to make product immediately available or they risk losing a sale. By offering various channels of order fulfillment, retailers are enhancing overall customer relationship management and increasing engagement rate with customers. Equipping employees with mobile devices like the TOUGHBOOK T1 that connect them to online features allows them to close sales even if an item is not physically on the shelf. These solutions also allow customers to return online purchases in-store, consequently bringing more customers into physical stores during a time where the percentage of online purchases is only continuing to grow.
Increase transparency throughout the supply chain
Mobile devices not only streamline retail processes, but also make them simpler and increase transparency from start to finish. When employees utilize mobile technology from the warehouse to the point of sale, retailers can see the status of any given item with the click of a button. This ensures that employees across the network have access to a real-time view of what’s available in store or online, which is essential when working face-to-face with a customer who is considering purchasing an item.
Mobile devices outfitted with store management systems are far more accurate and easily accessible than legacy inventory management processes. Having the ability to look up a customer order or scan an item that has been delivered ensures that there is no lost product along the way and gives stores a real-time digital ledger of what has come in or out.
Maintain a balanced inventory
A store’s success depends on its ability to strike a delicate balance between keeping enough stock on the shelves to keep customers happy and not overstocking items that may not sell and lead to lost revenue. Mobile devices on the sales floor help meet customer needs while maintaining this balance by delivering a real-time view into inventory, which tells sales associates whether a product is currently available.
Mobile systems also make it easy for retailers to analyze product sales and determine which products are most or least popular. Using these invaluable insights, retailers can better gauge future inventory needs and reduce product loss, leading to higher revenues and always maintaining on-shelf availability. Instead of taking an emotion-based approach to inventory management, retailers will be equipped to make more data-driven decisions.
Ultimately, retailers who implement a mobile device strategy have improved performance throughout the entire supply chain and can better understand their inventory and customer needs. And when customers are the lifeblood of your business, you must prepare your employees for success by giving them the tools to better do their jobs and keep customers coming back.
Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast episode about Optimizing the Retail Supply Chain: The Vital Role of Rugged Mobile Devices.