Look around. Chances are you see your mobile device sitting on the desk, you’re reading this on a mobile device, or you see someone else using a mobile device in your vicinity. In short, mobile is everywhere. And this trend is one reason why Microsoft is at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Big Show this week in NYC at booth #2703.
New mobile devices are proliferating in stores, from phones to customized tablets. And mobile devices are increasingly being used by retailers and brands to allow for “assisted selling” and mobile point-of-sale solutions that help make employee work easier and more portable while delighting customers.
At this year’s NRF show Microsoft is featuring Windows touch-first experiences for assisted sales capabilities. Using a tablet to answer a shopper question such as “I bought a defective product, can I return it without a receipt?” is a key benefit of being able to access existing systems. We are also showing the latest in employee enablement including a modern app that intuitively transitions from a shopper’s wish-list to an inventory management system to quickly answer shopper inquiries. Delivering this entire experience on the sales floor is the goal of Windows tablets in retail.
Indeed, smart retailers are able to bring together the back-office, the storefront and the individual consumer experience in new ways. Who is doing this well? Today we are announcing a few examples of new client solutions and some existing clients who are expanding their use of Microsoft mobile technology to better serve their customers:
In addition to retailers doing compelling things to create consistent customer experiences, partners are also building smart retail solutions, such as:
All of these great mobile examples show how mobility is truly transforming the retail experience. However, sometimes mobile solutions simply accelerate a bad business process. This has proven a painful lesson for some. It’s also important for retailers to avoid creating new business issues when deploying mobile devices in their environments. This has proved to be a real challenge for many retailers, as they have had to:
Thus, while mobility in retail is here to stay, there is increasing focus on manageability, security, enterprise-ready solutions, and long term costs. According to a survey conducted for Microsoft by Forrester Research, organizations utilizing Windows 8 tablets could gain improved sales associate effectiveness and accuracy, and increased customer satisfaction. Further, businesses could lower management, security and total purchase costs, when compared to utilizing non-Windows tablets.
At the end of the day, mobility in retail is creating new opportunities to innovate. By connecting and unifying the customer experience across devices, everyone wins.