Physical store success increasingly depends on IoT technologies. This new reality applies as much to traditional brick-and-mortar as well as hybrid stores. More and more store owners are adopting IoT technologies that enable real-time access to inventory data, as well as product location, information, and reviews. Some retailers take it even further, installing proximity beacons that can provide moment-by-moment data on where customers are in the store, plus transmit offers and other promotions to in-store customers’ smartphones and tablets.
In this dynamic new environment, sales associates need to be more than simply available on the floor to help. To convert shoppers into buyers and encourage additional purchases, they need to be knowledge workers. They need a mobile device in their hand.
An increasing number of retailers are recognizing the value of this new kind of sales associate. According to one study, 70 percent of retailers plan to train staff on mobile devices in the 2016/2017 time frame and nearly two-thirds have deployed mobile app features that are useful in the store.
Use Cases for Mobile Devices in Retail
Mobile devices, particularly tablets, are used many ways in a store (Figure 1):
- Mobile point-of-sale (POS) solutions free sales associates from fixed checkout counters to personally serve customers on the floor, eliminate check-out lines, and create more floor space for promos and merchandise.
- Inventory lookup and fulfillment solutions enable store associates anywhere in the store, to look up product information, check inventory at other locations, and arrange shipping when a product is not available locally.
- Clienteling solutions track customers by their smartphone, recognizing frequent shoppers. Sales staff can access information on customer preferences and past purchases to provide a more informed, personalized experience.
- Waitlisting solutions save customers valuable time by enabling notifications when a product is ready for pick up, when a customer service representative is available to help, or when a table at a restaurant is open.
- Sales assist solutions give sales associates access to the information they need to be an expert on products and customers. This ready access to data can be particularly effective in customer interactions in which associates share their screen, letting customers view additional product information and reviews.
- Dashboards provide immediate access to critical information on how many customers in store, how many in queue, number of sales associates on the floor, hot spots, promotion items, inventory levels, and more.
- Concierge services help employees deliver a better brand experiences. Staff can use these solutions to direct customers to outside services customers may need or want in addition to what a retailer, hospitality business, or other entity offers.
Figure 1. Physical stores can use tablets in many ways to help sales associates improve the customer experience.
Advantages of Intel® Processor-based Tablets
Choosing tablets based on Intel® processors opens up a rich and growing ecosystem of IoT hardware and software solutions for increasing store efficiencies, enhancing sales associate productivity, and providing more personalized customer service. These tablets integrate wirelessly with the Intel® Retail Sensor Platform, a vertical solution based on the Intel® IoT Platform.
The Intel Retail Sensor Platform guides the use of RFID tags and sensors in brick-and-mortar stores. It gives these stores the ability to better track inventory to improve customer experiences, convert more sales, and reduce losses from overstocked, out-of-stock, or misplaced items.
Using tablets with the Intel Retail Sensor Platform enables retailers to easily implement many of the use cases described earlier, keeping sales staff informed on inventory, stocking, customer traffic, and local demand (Figure 2). Tablets enable sales associates to access this information in real time while the opportunity to make a sale is at its highest.
Figure 2. The Intel® Retail Sensor Platform enables retail systems and analytics that keep sales staff informed on inventory, stocking, customer traffic, and local demand.
Expanding IoT Product Lines with Tablets
OEMs and system integrators who want to add tablets to their IoT retail solutions don’t have to design their own. Members of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance offer a wealth of Intel processor-based retail-oriented tablets. Here we show you four of the many available.
Figure 3. Aava Mobile Inari.
Aava Mobile Inari (Figure 3)
Figure 4. AAEON 700B.
Figure 5. AAEON 900B.
Figure 6. Flytech POS 260.
Figure 7. HP MX10.
Get the Right Tablet for Sales Associate Empowerment
No comprehensive IoT solution for brick-and-mortar stores is complete without tablets or another form of intelligent mobile device in the hands of each sales associate. For a complete list of retail tablets available from the Alliance, see the Solutions Directory.
Contact featured members:
Solutions in this blog:
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance
Editor-in-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine