Retailers struggle to manage mobile tech deployments

Posted Jan 17, 2018 by James Walker
Retailers using mobile devices in their digital transformations are experiencing device deployment problems. According to a new report, adoption of in-store tech is growing but employees are unable to take advantage of the opportunities it presents.
Individualised experiences are  table stakes  for retail
Individualised experiences are "table stakes" for retail
Pixabay / Pexels
As reported by Retail Dive, 34 percent of respondents to a survey from IHL Group and Stratix said they are already using mobile point-of-sale solutions. 47 percent of store managers have been given mobile devices to assist their customer experiences. While this suggests in-store adoption is growing, the survey uncovered other statistics that find hardware deployments alone don't help retailers to digitally transform.
Over 75 percent of the respondents said they have struggled to obtain results from mobile devices because they don't have the right set of apps installed. After giving devices to employees, firms are failing to find the apps they need for their business. Stores often demand specialised retail apps that don't currently exist, leaving devices under-used while staff struggle to find suitable alternatives.
Other top issues facing retailers include a lack of IT management and digital helpdesk staff. The use of mobile tech inside stores is still new and most firms are inexperienced in its use. Employees are likely to have questions or concerns which retailers aren't yet able to address. IHL Group and Stratix said the lack of available support staff is a cross-industry problem as demand for IT talent has now far outstripped supply.
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When deployed correctly, mobile technology can help improve customer retail experiences. A store employee could obtain product details from a website or check stock availability while talking to a customer. Mobile tech also provides a gateway to modern payment solutions that reduce overall friction and can encourage customers to return.
"In a market where consumers that once HAD to shop now must WANT to shop in stores, improving the customer experience is paramount to survival for many retailers, let alone success," wrote the survey authors. "The rewards of proper implementation are not only significant but also proven when best practices are adhered to and retailers do the groundwork to properly support the successful deployment."
Retailers still need to consider the best way to deploy the tech in their business though, especially if they don't have previous experience in managing connected devices. As with broader digital transformation strategies, retailers are coming to understand how mobile tech can assist their business. The fine details of deployments are still raising unforeseen issues though, indicating that successful use of devices requires careful research prior to ordering the hardware.