Retailers have been using mobile devices in stores for years, but the capabilities that mobile devices provide today are rapidly expanding.
As consumers, we are used to replacing our personal phones every two or three years, and that cycle is shrinking every time a new phone is released. With those releases, we evaluate the new features and functions to justify whether or not the upgrades are worth it. Retailers should be making the same assessments about the value of features their associates should have on their devices.
My phone does far more for me today than the phone I purchased six or seven years ago. It will tell me the last time I was at a particular restaurant or store and remind me to take an umbrella because the forecast calls for rain. My phone will look at my calendar, check traffic, and tell me when to leave to make my next appointment on time.
Retailers will benefit from associates knowing when a particular customer last shopped in the store. Managers and associates can make better decisions based on knowing the weather forecast, traffic conditions, or information about other events happening around the store.
The capabilities we all have come to rely on as consumers are ripe for use in a retail environment. Even more exciting opportunities are the ones that combine the capabilities of associate devices with information provided by customers’ mobile devices.
Wouldn’t it be great if associate devices notified them when a curbside-pickup customer is on the way, and when that customer is expected to arrive? How much better would the customer experience be if the app notified the restaurant as the customer approaches so the order can be sequenced into the kitchen at just the right time, and the customer can be directed to a specific curbside spot?
Even better, let’s layer in capabilities in and around the store to direct customers to the best option for order fulfillment. If drive-through is busy, divert entering customers to a curbside spot for ordering and delivery. If a customer has placed an order for in-store pickup but things are slow, offer to deliver curbside. These real-time capabilities are key to making better decisions and improving experiences for both customers and associates.
Take advantage of these capabilities now. Improve customer experiences and associate efficiency today. Make sure your stores have the network support to enable the experiences you want to deliver
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