As far as digital store initiatives go, iron-clad success stories are notoriously hard to come by. Mobile point-of-service (mPOS) is one of the few digital store technologies that has garnered the attention and investment dollars of retail executives—but the return on investment has been nonetheless elusive. Despite large-scale deployments by a number of leading players (including Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and Bloomingdales, among others), key questions such as “will this drive incremental revenue?” and “which use cases deliver the most customer and retailer value?” remain. Our newly published report “The Business Case For mPOS Is Associate Enablement” answers these questions and addresses common opportunities and challenges for eBusiness leaders rolling out an mPOS program. In the report, we find that:
- Consumers expect digitally-enabled associates to facilitate in-store engagement. Retailers must change their thinking and start to view mPOS as more than just a “mobile cash register.” When shoppers see a store associate armed with a mobile device, they expect to receive contextualized assistance when and where they want it. In addition to ringing up sales in aisle, your associates should be prepared to use their devices to access enterprise inventory, provide product information, and give personalized product recommendations.
- Associate enablement remains the biggest mPOS opportunity. Beyond basic use cases such as line busting, a much larger opportunity exists when associates use mPOS to access endless aisle capabilities. Compared to kiosk-based endless aisle tools, associates that use mobile devices to actively engage with customers can significantly improve the ability of a retail store to sell inventory that exists in another store or in an eCommerce distribution center.
- mPOS requires retailers to overhaul legacy store analytics. mPOS-enabled associates can transform the in-store experience, but retailers we interviewed for this report documented a number of common operational roadblocks. Misaligned success metrics is one of these barriers. Prior to embarking on an mPOS initiative, retailers should define success metrics that measure associate engagement rather than simply total sales or transactions. These metrics include the number of associate/customer interactions and the length of these interactions.
If this topic is of interest to you, please reach out to me and we can discuss the details of my research. I’d be happy to continue the conversation in the comments below; clients should also feel free to schedule an inquiry.