Are SME Retailers ready for mobile?

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First things first, I’ve had the privilege of working in the Retail sector for a number of years now and I absolutely love it, however, it does have its challenges! One of them being that the technological landscape is constantly changing making it a huge challenge for many retailers to keep abreast of it all, especially the smaller ones who often don’t have the finances or resources like many of the Tier 1’s and 2’s do.
One of those many challenges retailers face is the capability to offer a true ‘Mobile’ solution within their bricks and mortar stores. Many retailers have thought about a Mobile strategy but very few have actually put one in place, even more so within the SME retail space. I personally believe that this is down to either a) they believe it might be a passing fad (it won’t!), b) concerns about the possible upheaval and complications of implementing such a solution, c) costs associated to such a project, and d) how they can successfully utilise a mobile solution once implemented.
My responses to these concerns would be as follows:
a) In my opinion Mobile is definitely not a passing fad and I believe that it’s the future of Retail where bricks and mortar is concerned, in fact, I’d go as far as to say that the retailers that don’t seriously consider a Mobile solution could eventually be left by the wayside to the ones that do invest in this area! We’ve already started to see some of the bigger Retailers fall over recent times due to their lack of investment in their stores and not having an Omnichannel approach to their business.
b) For the SME retailers that don’t have a true software based POS solution at the moment, implementing a Mobile POS solution now shouldn’t even be a consideration as it would be quick and easy and you would start to see the benefits straight away. For the many SME retailers out there that already have some kind of POS system in place, moving over to a true Cloud based Mobile software and hardware solution shouldn’t be as daunting as you first fear, in fact, many can be moved over and fully running in a matter of day(s) with no business downtime at all.
c) The cost to implement a Cloud based POS SaaS solution into your Retail environment these days is a lot less than many traditional ‘On Premise’ solutions out there, in fact, you can have a fully supported, enterprise functionality solution for as little as £29.00 per month, a small price to pay to future proof your business. Of course there’s no hiding from the initial up front cost of new hardware implementing a new Mobile solution will bring, but again, a complete solution including scanner, printer and tablet can be purchased for less than £1000 a lane, when you compare this to many traditional integrated and modular EPOS hardware systems out there it’s considerably less.
d) There is an argument for certain retailers that a Mobile solution is not required, and I’d agree with that, the arguments for a Convenience store for example are slim. However, if you’re a Fashion Retailer, Department Store or sell Electrical Goods etc then implementing a Mobile solution can quickly reap benefits. One of the main areas where Mobile has been successfully implemented is for queue busting during busy periods. Don’t let disgruntled customers leave your store, use your tablet to cut down customers waiting times by taking their payment or dealing with their enquiry while they’re waiting. Where I believe Mobile can produce the most gains though, both in terms of customer experience as well as added revenue for the Retailer, is by using the tablet as a concierge device enabling the attendant to check stock levels, make alternative or added suggestions to the customers choices as well as using the device as a CRM system to take the customers details in order to offer them future discounts/customised suggestions/incentives.
At the end of the day we believe implementing a Mobile solution is all about future proofing your business, retaining existing and new customers by offering a better in-store shopping experience as well as the added benefit of possible upsells through using it as a Concierge device. It really should be at the forefront of any SME Retailers minds, these types of solutions are affordable, offer a ROI and certainly aren’t just for ‘big boys’ out there!
Should you want to know more about what kind of mobile solution Store Retail Solutions can offer you please do get in touch, we’d be more than happy to help you.