Though it’s difficult to remember a time before it, the barcode actually just took off about 30 years ago after some resistance. Since then, barcodes have sped up checkout lines and provided powerful market data across the entire retail industry, reaching 80-90 percent adoption among the Fortune 500 in 2004.
Ed Durbin, director of strategic accounts in retail solutions at VMware AirWatch, believes the retail industry is undergoing another such historic change today. Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) is quickly becoming the new barcode, he says, transforming brick-and-mortar shopping to again keep up with changing consumer behavior.
Retail industry attendance to AirWatch Connect 2015 increased nearly 145 percent in one year alone, and according to Ed, this reflects increasing adoption rates of retail mobility. “Where last year we were talking a lot about what you can do, in the last year retailers are now doing it,” said Ed.” Where before they might have one mobility project, now they have several.”
Top retailers not only use mobility to enhance customer-facing activities but also now to improve operations across the board using the VMware AirWatch multitenant architecture. Today, a retailer can use a complete, integrated platform to enable mobility at every point along the customer experience:
- A corporate retail employee can securely access their company email and assets from a managed device to more productively work on the go, collaborate on projects and make top-level decisions.
- Corporate can push settings and content to mobile devices in a retail store so employees stay PCI-compliant while conducting mPOS transactions and educated on products.
- Retailers can send employees out in the field with mobile devices to securely access customer information for in-home services or product deliveries.
[Related: Top Mobile Retail Trends for 2015]
Ed predicts mobility will increasingly saturate the entire retail organization, from corporate-level devices and shared devices in stores to rugged devices for distribution centers and workers in the field. It’s mPOS, though, that he believes could reach 100-percent adoption within the next several years and become the standard of how products are scanned in store.
“The NRF did a study a few years ago that said consumers have two major complaints,” said Ed. “Number one is ‘Why’s it take so long for me to give you my money?’”
Years ago, the barcode solved that problem, changing checkout from taking stock to simply scanning a product. But now that customers can check out online in a matter of clicks, whenever they want, they expect the in-store checkout experience to rival that speed. mPOS is the next phase of the brick-and-mortar evolution, eliminating long lines and wait times by equipping every in-store employee with a secure, mobile “register.”
Speak one-on-one with a VMware EUC expert at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention, NRF 2016, to learn more about how to use the biggest retail mobility trends to delight customers and increase your in-store sales.