Are you struggling with your mobility strategy? Has something that was once designed to bring you the best ROI turned against you? Is it challenging your ability to stay current with your mobility investments and keep things updated? You've done the research, but you’re not making the move. You are in a waiting game, a holding pattern, a conundrum. You are stuck; you just don’t know how to go about making a change with your mobility strategy that will work for you and not against you.
There are so many decisions to make: Which operating system is best (iOS, Android, Windows)? How will I port my existing applications and make sure they leverage the advantage of new technology? Which new applications will I need to create to improve the ROI and provide competitive advantage in our business? How can I iterate the answers to validate the strategy and objectives along the way? The good news is, you are not alone in these struggles. Statistics are showing that customers are making decisions based on the intuitive ability for mobile software applications to improve their business, not specifically just to the devices. Without all the answers on the software side, you’re not equipped to make a smart device purchase. And, if you are like me, you do not make uninformed purchases.
Mobile applications are triggering a technological shift that enterprises can no longer ignore. If you’re trying to stay competitive, you can’t coordinate, collaborate, sell, and serve customers without mobile apps. Despite the plethora of smart devices in the workplace, only 4 percent of companies have developed mobile apps internally to help them with their business processes, per a report from Burrus Research.
You realize technology is dynamic. User expectations aren't static. And consumer devices and enterprise operating systems are rising and declining and will continue to change going forward. You know your enterprise needs new devices, but the decision may seem so monumental, it can be paralyzing. As technology, users and markets advance forward, you may be wondering which platform and which path to pursue. How do you ready your enterprise for mobility roll-out? Shift your thinking to a strategic mindset that prepares you for mobile software migration?
You cannot go at this alone. Few people buy a house without consulting a Realtor or buy stocks without consulting a stock broker. The same is true for purchasing devices without consulting on your mobile software strategy. You need to choose the right partner with the expertise to help you think through these decisions and to make the most informed choice on the best mobile software strategy for your corporation. By working with the right partner and collaborating on a mobile software strategy, you’ll be informed and ready to make the right decisions and move forward with the purchase of your new fleet of devices.
Learn how partnering with the Motorola Professional Services team can help you accelerate your mobility technology ROI to improve your operational efficiency and differentiate your enterprise.
Greg Billings is Vice President of Global Solution Sales and Professional Services at Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about Motorola Professional Services.
Retail today is ripe with opportunities to innovate, differentiate, and set trends. The combination of mobility, sophisticated supply chains, and access to data on everything from what’s in stock to the individual shoppers’ preferences has made it possible for retailers to take their first steps toward providing every shopper with a unique experience, one suited to their specific needs at a particular point in time.
The model for shopper engagement built on real-time data is reasonably well characterized. Investments are being made to put the right technologies in place as well, but there are still areas where the ability to meet service goals can be thwarted. One of those areas is access, specifically access from mobile devices.
Mobile devices are everywhere in today’s shopping environment. Many of us have experienced the benefits of using a smartphone to look up a product, make a comparison, read a review, or solicit a friend’s opinion while shopping. However, there is a strong role being filled by the corporate owned devices that are present in just about every retail store. These are the rugged, Enterprise-level devices that are used for important tasks like inventory counts, in-store communication, and providing mobile point of sale services. In fact, almost six in 10 shoppers have a better shopping experience when store associates use handheld mobile computers to provide pricing and product availability information.
It can be argued that these devices are indispensable to the modern retailer and have become essential elements to delivering the service capability on which today’s differentiated experiences are being built. In fact, more than 65 percent of store associates agreed that they could better serve customers with handheld mobile devices.
As the trend to tightly integrating devices into the retailer’s business process grows, the requirement for ensuring the performance and availability of those devices also changes. Many retailers have considered this a device management issue. But the present level of business integration is highlighting the need for a more sophisticated approach – Mobility Lifecycle Management, which places its focus on all of the connected processes required to establish and maintain an operationally effective mobile device environment.
Three factors distinguish what have been identified as separating mobility lifecycle management from simple device management. They are Utilization, Traceability, and Compliance.
Utilization addresses whether devices are being used to their full potential or not, and if they aren’t, why not?
Traceability –looks at where devices are located at any given time and how procedures can be put in place to ensure that retailers always know where they are.
Compliance examines whether devices are being used in a manner consistent with operational processes and if they are driving the business value envisioned from the use of mobility.
These questions are not always easy to answer. Issues they identify may not always be simple to fix. Addressing issues around utilization, traceability and compliance may require subject matter experts, specialized analysis, data that can only come from integrated systems, consulting expertise, and even process changes. For many retailers, these issues are more than their device management tools can handle, and may require outside expertise.
Retailers focus on trends and trendsetters. One trend worth setting now is to change your approach to dealing with devices, easily among the most essential tools for delivering enhanced engagement and service innovation.
Richard Orgias is Senior Manager, Enterprise Services Marketing at Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Read additional blogs by Richard Orgias.
In the near future, brick-and-mortar retailers will become as connected as their online counterparts. Everything in the store and everyone in it will be connected in real-time to create a personalized environment for shoppers as well as store associates and managers. With the internet of things, stores will become intelligent. By using sensors, video, RFID, precise location data and analytic technologies, store managers will have visibility to everyone and everything within the store. This will enable the detection and capture of various “events” and the transformation of these static and real-time events into actions that are mobilized – something we call “capture, transform and mobilize.”
The connected environment is a platform that will take the complexity out of disparate technologies, allowing multiple systems to be leveraged together to exchange and aggregate only the relevant data that is needed to make intelligent, real-time decisions. This connectivity will provide new levels of visibility of inventory and assets, and the opportunity to gain valuable insights from the movement and actions of store assets, associates, products and millions of shoppers.
For example, a low inventory detection system will automatically trigger a workforce management task system to dispatch the right associate to begin replenishment before an item is actually out of stock. If the stock room is low or out of the item, inventory can be diverted from other local stores based upon their real-time inventory levels. The imminent arrival of a delivery truck will kick-off a sequence of activities to support the most efficient unloading process, and a shopper’s request for help via a kiosk or her smartphone will quickly and automatically dispatch the nearest available and knowledgeable sales associate.
Shoppers and store employees will be equipped with contextually-aware applications on their mobile devices that will leverage the connected store and provide them with the right information when they need it. By connecting associates with real-time visibility to what is happening in the store, they can more easily provide information to shoppers based on their personal needs. To successfully achieve this, associates need to be connected to the store and its content with the right tools – such as a “smart badge” that can scan and lookup inventory, accept incoming tasks from managers and collaborate with colleagues.
Real-time connections for everything and everyone in the store will deliver multiple benefits:
The future of retail is an increasingly connected world. Shoppers and store associates will have access to information like they’ve never had it before. The experience is everything!
Paul Steinberg is senior vice president and chief technology officer, Motorola Solutions
Read additional blogs by Paul.
We’ve all had shopping trips that were terrible. Black Friday sales come to mind. Anytime you experience overcrowded aisles staffed by store associates that don’t have the answers to your questions or even the time to listen to you makes for a less than enjoyable shopping trip. Now imagine calling a department store to ask about strollers and within seconds an associate specializing in products for toddlers answers your call. Or, imagine walking from the toys section into clothing, where a store associate greets you with your toddler’s needs on her mind. Better still, imagine simply pushing a button on your mobile device to instantly talk to a store associate knowledgeable about books for growing children. All of this would certainly make shopping a lot more enjoyable, but is it fantasy?
Not anymore. Enter the world of VoWLAN – Voice over Wireless LAN. All of the above, and more, are made possible by enabling reliable voice communications over the store’s wireless infrastructure. VoWLAN uses Push-to-Talk (PTT) or VoIP (SIP/Skinny) technology over the store’s Wi-Fi network (IEEE 802.11), and empowers associates with mobile devices capable of running PTT or VoIP client software. A VoWLAN solution offers numerous benefits over wired and cellular services that directly impact a store’s revenue.
Mobilizing associates with voice-capable mobile devices ensures they are not tied to a wired station and are always available no matter their location in the store. VoWLAN is a means for immediate communication between store associates and managers. Quick responses and availability increase productivity help manage workflows better, and ensure that tasks are assigned as priorities are always changing on the dynamic retail floor.
By bringing customers directly in contact with knowledgeable store associates, retailers have the opportunity to personalize a customer’s experience, and to cross and up-sell new products. Moreover, by answering customer calls quickly, retailers can safeguard against potential losses due to call drop-offs. These enhancements to customer experience not only increase sales but also help build store loyalty.
With advances in technology, WLAN deployments have become more robust, secure and scalable. Support for roaming and multi-media Quality of Service (QoS) are now built into access points and Wireless Controllers. As a result, a converged deployment that provides data and voice traffic with toll quality audio is now a practical reality. Compared to wired or cellular technology, VoWLAN provides better in-store coverage to support services such as call park, transfer and conferencing that are necessary in a retail environment.
Retailers are now increasingly embracing VoWLAN to make the most of its benefits. To further optimize store operations, multi-functional mobile devices that run voice and data applications are being deployed on the store floor. The combination of voice with data applications such as product look-up, mobile point of sale, and task management on the same platform creates a powerful tool for enhancing the customer experience and optimizing in-store operations.
VoWLAN is therefore a must-have technology for retailers seeking to increase in-store productivity and sales while lowering communication costs. And of course, to provide a differentiated and enjoyable shopping experience for their customers.
Amit Arora is Offer Manager, Staff Communications and Management Solutions, Motorola Solutions
Please visit our website for information on VoWLAN from Motorola Solutions.
We are so consumed by the hyperconnected world we live in today, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago when things were very different. Just over five years ago the iPhone shipped – an event which ultimately led to mass adoption of smartphones and the transformation of our lives. At that time, no one understood how revolutionary this would prove to be for our personal and business lives. One industry in particular that has continued to see interesting and unpredictable change: Retail.
Mobile and eCommerce have changed the retail landscape, with new opportunities that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers can use to take advantage of the valuable (and expensive) real estate and human capital they employ. The new opportunities are a direct result of changes in shopper behavior and expectations in a physical retail store.
Today’s consumer enters the retail store equipped with access to nearly unlimited information, new and innovative shopping tools and eCommerce websites, all enabled by smartphones and tablets with internet access. Today’s consumer is also far more demanding, with an ever-growing number of players vying for a share of her wallet. A positive and differentiated in-store retail experience becomes ever more important to ensure that you can maximize the total lifetime value of the shopper.
Consider the retail opportunities in these common scenarios, which you may have experienced recently during this busy holiday shopping season:
These four opportunities have one thing in common – a mobile-enabled workforce. The information and systems, although still evolving, are already in place, ready to be taken advantage of. The in-store staff is eager to help shoppers. The missing piece is enabling the store associates to access the information or communicate from anywhere in the store.
Motorola Solutions provides an extensive portfolio of enterprise-grade mobile devices that allow retailers to equip the store associate with the right device to fit these needs and transform the retail experience.
Nathan Rowe is the Director of Enterprise Solutions in the Global Services and Solutions group at Motorola Solutions.
Read additional blogs by Nathan Rowe here.
Technology that tracks shopper location in a store can benefit both shoppers and retailers. Shoppers get information and promotions they care about at the moment when it is most valuable to them. Retailers get valuable information about shopper behavior in the store and can deliver information and promotions to shoppers when and where appropriate. Used together, Location-Based Services (LBS) and Context Aware Services can enhance the shopping experience further, offering features like in-store navigation to find services or products, and access to special promotions.
Location-based services use data from devices to track the location of people or objects. While Wi-Fi has been used for years to track assets indoors, and now helps in tracking people, new innovations like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) can provide much better location accuracy. This promises a more targeted and engaging experience, because instead of just knowing the general department the shopper is in, retailers can now see which aisle they’re in, or even what products sit nearby. As a result of these advancements in Wi-Fi and BLE technology that are incorporated in today’s smartphones, LBS has become viable for tracking individual people with greater accuracy. The combination of these factors has made indoor location tracking more beneficial to retailers.
While Location-Based Services can be used to improve marketing and the shopping experience, and in turn help increase sales, they cannot execute on all these objectives alone. Most modern LBS systems also incorporate Context Aware Services (CAS) in some form. CAS takes the location of a device and provides more relevant information or services. Here are some examples of CAS alerts:
Information like this can be very useful for retailers in gathering current status and historical analytics about general shopper behavior, measuring effectiveness of a store layout, or helping with staffing needs and procedures.
Context Aware Services can provide great information and provide the ability to do some target marketing. The really interesting features for retailers come from the combination of LBS and CAS with systems that can provide shopper engagement. Shopper engagement systems take information from LBS, CAS, and other sources to create a hyper-targeted engagement for the individual shopper. It establishes the tie between a shopper and their devices, shopper history, and creates the channels to communicate with the shopper. Now instead of “a device has entered the store” you know that “Sara Williams has entered the store,” and you can welcome her to the store. You now know that Sara has passed the cereal aisle and can push her a notification that there is a sale on her favorite brand. The retailer now has information about customer behavior in the store and can act on it.
This brings up one of the major concerns with shoppers when it comes to solutions that integrate location tracking: Are retailers tracking their customers’ locations without permission?
A good shopper engagement system should provide the ability for the shopper to control their privacy. The shopper should be able to make their own choices, like:
Location tracking opens up all kinds of possibilities, but probably the biggest factor in its success is in its usefulness to the shopper. If a retailer wants the shopper to load a mobile app and allow it to enable their Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, they must provide incentive for them to do so. As a shopper, what will I get out of taking the time to install this mobile app and agreeing to be tracked by the retailer? Promotions and information I care about when it is most relevant to me and tools that are easy to use and save me time.
There is value in using location tracking to gather anonymous summarized information, but to get that high-value detailed, data the shopper must see the benefit to using the services and giving permission to track them.
Eric Maxwell is Offer Manager – Global Services and Solutions, Motorola Solutions.
Watch now to see how location-based marketing turns a trip to “the store” into a visit to “my store”: Know What Your Shoppers Want Before They Do. Or watch as an artist maps out Sophie’s Shopping Trip: Tomorrow’s Shopping, Today.