03 August 2015

Big Data: Mobility Solutions for the Retail Industry

Big Data: Mobility Solutions for the Retail Industry
#Big Data: Mobility Solutions for the Retail Industry:
When it comes to retail solutions, mobility has multiple dimensions. Depending on the type of services and the beneficiaries, mobility in the retail industry can be grouped into the following two categories:

Mobility solutions for retailers (enterprise solutions)

Store inventory management solutions- Each retail chain or store is unique in its operations. Depending on the type of the products sold or services offered (apparel retailer, footwear retailer, grocery retailer, electronic goods retailer, pharmacy retailer, general merchandise retailer, etc.) and the general demand of a product, the retailers may stock a large volume or a limited quantity of products, and it is essential to keep track of the inventory details for each product for on-time reordering of the products to avoid any possible product out-of-stock situations. AIDC technologies such as barcode labels and RFID tags can be easily combined with mobility solutions to implement efficient and cost-effective store inventory management solutions. 

RFID tags or barcode labels can be utilized as product identifiers (e.g., unique product code [UPC] for identifying a particular category of product and unique item identifier codes for identifying individual products among a particular product category). All information related to a product can be associated with a UPC in the store back-end database, and the details can be easily retrieved by a simple scanning of products' RFID tag or barcode label.

Price check and Smart Shopping: Personalized shopping experience is an important factor in building a loyal customer base in the retail industry. Most of the consumers today are looking for a better personalized shopping experience in terms of getting assistance in selecting the right product that meets their requirements at an affordable price. Retailers can deliver a wide range of mobility solutions and tools for an interactive and personalized shopping experience.The price check mobility solution helps customers to find out the price of a product by a simple scanning or photo capture of the product tag. It eliminates the need for bringing the items to the final checkout station to find out the price.

Marked down and product management: Retailers can effectively utilize mobility solutions to manage price mark-downs and product returns. The product mark-down details can be delivered to the respective store associate's mobile device, and the store associate can scan the marked-down product to be moved to another location or a clearance section. Also, the store associate can generate mark-down price labels with the help of the mobile client solution.Easy checkout solutions-The long-wait queues at the retailer checkout terminal make in-store holiday shopping a nightmare for most of the customers. Thankfully, mobility has the right solution to address this issue. The mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solution simplifies the checkout process. Consumers can utilize the mPOS-enabled handheld devices of the store for shopping and can perform a self-checkout at the end or can transfer the shopping cart list to a real point-of-sale (POS) terminal for fulfillment. Product scanning on the go by consumers during shopping saves the scan time at checkout counters and simplifies the checkout operation.


Mobility solutions for consumers
In-store retail mobility solutions help consumers in the decision-making process to select the right product that meets their needs and also deliver a personalized shopping experience. The following are examples of typical in-store mobility services for consumers:

Price check: Helps the customers to find the price and promotional details of a product.
Product finder: Helps the customers to check the availability and the location (combination of floor number, aisle number, row number, and column number) of a product in the store.
Smart shopping assistant: The smart shopping assistant tool helps the customers in the decision-making process of which product to buy. This tool provides information about the alternative products, reviews of the product, pricing comparison, and a virtual model illustrating the look and feel, if applicable (e.g., the virtual look and feel of an apparel).

Location Based Service: Most consumer mobile devices today are "smart" devices, and they incorporate multiple sensors and chips to implement features such as global positioning system or assisted-GPS (GPS/A-GPS), which can accurately sense the current location of the user. Retailers can leverage this feature to deliver location-specific services to consumers. The following gives a snapshot of the location-based retail services.
Store locator: The store-locator service can provide the details about the nearest store (distance to the store from the current location, store address, driving directions to the store, the products and services offered by the store, etc.) with respect to the current location of the user.
Store advertisements or promotions: This service can deliver details about the current store advertisements and promotional offers of the nearest store.

Product alerts: The product alerts mobility solution can deliver notifications about new products and in-stock availability of products. Consumers can register to this service and can receive notifications about the product of their choice.

Price alerts: The price alerts service provides notification about price drops and the current promotions of a product. Consumers can register to this service and can receive notifications about the product of their choice.

Promotion alerts: Retailers may run online or in-store promotions and discount sales, and the promotion alerts or advertisements can be delivered to the customers through promotion alert services.

Product recall alerts: Product manufacturers may recall certain products due to safety, security, and regulatory compliance requirements. It is likely that the customer may not get any notification about the product recall unless the customer registers the product with the manufacturer. Retailers can provide recall alerts of the products purchased from them to the consumers, through the product recall alert mobility solution.

Loyalty programs and Social e-commerce can be implemented using mobility.

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