Integrating Front and Back Retail Performance with Mobile Devices

Meagan Douglas
Mon, Aug 17, 2015
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Sales clerks need inventory data delivered directly from the warehouse.

Online shopping hasn't replaced brick-and-mortar retailers, but it has forced stores to change. To stay relevant in the modern world, all retailers have to offer the same information, convenience and data performance as ecommerce merchants. 

Inbound Logistics indicated modern stores have to give shoppers the advantages of a physical space, an online store and an inventory warehouse. Customers need the ability to browse aisles, compare prices and find the stock they are looking for. Supplying retail employees with mobile technology solutions makes accomplishing this easier.

Point of Sales Devices Don't Give the Whole Picture
ERP software captures, reports and displays data for retail operations. The software has been a common tool for managers and other departments for years, but companies are just beginning to provide mobile solutions for the employees walking the aisles of their stores and warehouses.

Customers are seeing more mobile devices in the hands of store clerks. Many stores have utilized point-of-sale devices to facilitate simple and secure checkouts. The technology is not only convenient for staff and customers, but it also displays data for the rest of the business. Mobile data reporting indicates which items are selling, how much stock is left in store, which products are returned and how quickly sales are proceeding.

This information won't do any good, however, if it's not utilized by the right people. In-Focus, a global services blog, found many companies are dumping their store information into useless "data garages." Retailers needs to make sure data isn't hoarded; instead it should be put to work.

An Integrated Data Solution
Warehouses need the same mobile enterprise applications if they are to perform at the same speed as the rest of the company. Sales clerks and warehouse workers communicating stock movement through mobile devices provides complete end-to-end visibility.

Internet Retailing published an example of an international retailer employing unified mobile in-store strategies. A toy store was expanding quite quickly and new locations and customers were creating huge amounts of data. The family-owned business was also offering products in-store and online.

The retailer implemented mobile data collection solutions for its management teams, sales clerks and warehouse workers. Every department reporting inventory movement provided the stock information needed to keep up with expansion.

Warehouse workers using tablets, smartphones or barcode scanners to count and pick inventory deliver warehouse visibility into the hands of the sales clerk. In-store and online sales are delivered as a single data stream to the warehouse, so products can be ready for both customer groups.

The toy retailer found success by implementing mobile solutions into all departments at the same time. The RFgen white paper titled "The Power of Adopting an Enterprise Mobile Strategy" stated some companies mobilize different departments in different ways and then find difficulty in getting the various systems to work together. Retailers that wish to expand or integrate their mobile solutions can use a software partner to guide performance toward a single mobile enterprise application platform.

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