Mobile First for 2019: Insights and Predictions From Retail's Big Show
Let’s be real: the state of brick-and-mortar retail in 2019 is equally exciting and terrifying. Amid widespread closures, uncertainty and the ever-present behemoth that is Amazon.com, there's an amazing wave of innovation in mobility that has the potential to transform — and yes, save — the retail experience for a new generation of consumers used to a customized and frictionless shopping experience. This mobile technology was on full display at this year’s NRF Big Show. But what does that mean for your business?
The solutions to realize this potential while reducing costs and driving efficiency fall into one of three buckets:
Infrastructure to Leverage Big Data From ‘Small Places’
The evolved and elevated retail experience showcased at NRF 2019 is one dependent on innovative technology. This involves everything from sensor-enabled shelves to provide replenishment data in real time to 3-D cameras tracking and reporting customer movement to virtual reality platforms that allow you to stage a virtual pilot store complete with accurate merchandising layouts to find the optimal planogram setup to achieve peak sales. What do these all have in common?
They yield rich, real-time streams of data on customer behavior, employee efficiency and other valuable metrics. Mobile devices like phones and tablets will be the “single pane of glass” that store associates use to manage this ecosystem in real time. Successful retailers must craft a mobility strategy to mine these devices for data-driven insights, predictive analysis and informed merchandising.
Modernize Store Operations and Streamline Shopping Experiences
The Amazon Go cashierless store model is very much on the mind of retailers, payment service providers, technology OEMs and more. The automated brick-and-mortar store model offers a signature experience for customers, efficient and cost-effective operation for retailers, and a great deal of valuable analytics on customer behavior in real time. The centerpiece of this evolution of shopping is the newly frictionless payment model that makes it so effortless for shoppers.
Rather than queueing up in lines at self-checkout terminals, these stores will have customers use their personal mobile devices to qualify their purchasing to gain entry to the store. As they pull items off smart sensor-enabled shelves, items are added to virtual cart. Customers can do a final check of their shopping haul on a store tablet kiosk, then simply leave. This is the future of line-busting, and the widespread deployment of stores either partially or fully integrated into this model is a matter of when, not if.
Evolution of Mobile Point of Sale
Point of sale has now officially transitioned beyond a set configuration of dedicated hardware, receipt printer and PIN pad. While mobile and cloud-based POS has been a possibility for retailers for some time now, it’s now become a necessity. Brick-and-mortar stores must reclaim crucial store space by processing payments wherever customers physically are instead of herding them into frustrating checkout lanes. Solutions encompass everything from traditional mobile and hybrid POS terminals to click-and-collect models to empower customers to follow the buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) paradigm.
Staying ahead of these trends and others isn’t easy for any enterprise, but leveraged partnerships with managed mobility providers that specialize in integration, deployment and support will be key to transforming your business and maximizing your investment in mobile devices and services.
Micah Robinson is the content marketing manager of Stratix, a premier enterprise mobility specialist in North America.
Related story: 2019 Retail Forecast: The Expansion of Brick-and-Mortar and Flexible Checkout Options
Micah Robinson has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise content strategy and creation. Micah brings extensive experience overseeing technical thought leadership and communications regarding enterprise mobility for both large-scale businesses and small software startups. He specializes in creating detailed strategies and content bundles that offer guidance via crucial industry insights and trend analysis.