Can mobile options lead to omnichannel success?

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With online retail continuing to pick up momentum and continual reports on the decline of the high street can retailers use mobile technology to better amalgamate channels for success across the retail estate? Paul Leybourne, head of sales at Vodat, examines the plethora of mobile options available to retailers and highlights how the technology can be used for omnichannel success.

Retailers can use mobile devises in various ways to interact with customers on a personal level, from mobile PoS in store, to sending coupons and gift vouchers and connecting the in store and online experience, all adding value to the customer experience and helping to drive sales.

Mobile gift vouchers and offers are a great way of building customer loyalty and enticing customers back in store. Typically, the best deals are available online, so mobile vouchers play an important part in customers feeling that they can also receive good value for money in store.

Online products are continually upsold, i.e. customers receiving suggestions on garments or an entire outfit when selecting an item of clothing or shoes. In store, it's typically been down to the sales staff to upsell products. Now, mobile can be used for up selling, if retailers can identify specific customer purchases a mobile teaser campaign can be used to promote related products, i.e.  when a dress has been purchased the retailer could send an SMS to the customer suggesting matching accessories.

A step up from this, is using tablets (mobile devices) connected to the internet via WiFi in store, enabling retailers to offer their entire product offering without having to catalogue it, expanding the range of products on offer in store no matter the size. This delivers better variety and availability of products which in turn helps drive sales, as well as removing the barriers between the bricks and mortar and ecommerce sales, with both channels benefiting and working together as appose to against each other.

Fashion retailers Coast, Oasis and Warehouse (formerly known as Aurora Fashions), are just a few of the many retailers starting to introduce iPads in store. They have pushed the boundaries in terms of functionality, using the technology as a mobile PoS, for speed of service and better interaction between shop assistants and customers, as well as a means of delivering better customer information and visual content – with wall mounted iPads in the changing rooms. The implementation has also enabled free WiFi in store to any customers wanting to access online services on their personal mobile devices.

Reiss, the international men and women's fashion brand, is another fashion retailer to introduce iPads across all of its UK and US stores with a new fully managed WiFi network in a bid to complement its multichannel offering and give customers full visibility of its entire product range, with connection to its online channel.

The technology behind the scenes supporting all of this functionality is the retail network and without a robust, highly secure and flexible network capable of managing both the public and private demands of a store environment, retailers would not be able to deliver such services in store.

As captivating consumer facing technology continues to become the norm and more  mobile services are offered in store, retailers need to consider a network that can not only deliver the bandwidth capable of managing customer facing features such as online connection, streaming of content on iPads and screens, push alerts and customer WiFi, but also communications, inventory management and payments behind the scenes. Keeping the public and private sides separate for obvious security reasons.

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