STORES Magazine - April 2015 - (Page 24)

n MOBILE / COVER STORY A MOST COMPLEX GAME Retailers deploying mobile retail systems face hardware and software challenges I by M.V. GREENE mplementing a mobile retail system can be an endeavor fraught with complexity. While the process can be daunting, many retailers see mobile as a salvation of sorts with very clear benefits. Accommodating expectant customers, generating analytic data for marketing and merchandising or linking point-of-sale systems to inventory and the supply chain are some of mobile's promised opportunities. Whether the company is a major chain with hundreds of stores, multiple distribution centers and extensive back-office operations or an independent retailer with a much smaller footprint, observers describe mobile as having the potential to drastically change retail's business model. The financial path to deployment could be millions of dollars for large chains or the cost of a few smart devices for smaller operators. For any retail organization, though, observers point out that activating mobile presents both hardware and software challenges. Whatever the costs, retailers must find a delicate balance between outlays and expected results, namely enhanced engagement with customers that drive bottom-line revenue. CAPITAL INVESTMENT ny mobile retail deployment needs to be attached to a greater technology strategy for the entire business, says David Dorf, senior director of technology strategy at Oracle Retail. He calls it "dangerous" for re- A 24 STORES April 2015 Sponsored by tailers to add mobile piecemeal without regard for the broader business strategy. For instance, when e-devices can be used for multiple activities - sales, clienteling, counts and dashboards - the return on investment becomes more acceptable. Another example of potentially positive ROI is capital outlays for contactless terminals to support Europay MasterCard Visa or chip-enabled payment cards, which can be leveraged later for loyalty and digital coupons, he says. "The phased rollout must be prioritized based on value to the business so earlier phases have meaningful impact that help fund later phases. Timing those investments is always tricky since technology is changing so rapidly. It's crucial to understand your hardware vendors' roadmaps so you're confident the investments have a reasonable lifetime," Dorf says. Generally speaking, the first priority for retailers implementing mobile capabilities is enabling consumers to make purchases from their smartphones and tablets. That's fairly basic and the capital outlay is relatively small for most retailers, Dorf says, since upgrades are focused on resources at headquarters. But when individual stores enter the picture, "everything becomes more expensive and complicated." Dorf says employing mobile devices at checkout in retail stores is far less expensive when NRF.COM/STORES http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2015

A Most Complex Game
It's All Connected
Retail People
Selling Satisfaction
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Online Fraud

STORES Magazine - April 2015