Mobility Now: Mobile Disruption in Retail

Mobile’s Role in Retail

Retailers today know all too well how mobile has empowered consumers. With the ability to provide instantaneous price checks and comparisons, search reviews, check deals and even consult with peers for instant feedback, customers are leveraging their phones as a key component in their decision-making.

Yet for as often as shoppers utilize mobile technology, retailers still haven’t truly incorporated mobility into their overall operational strategy. They’re losing out because of this lack of proactive action.

Mobile technology offers retailers an opportunity to provide unparalleled levels of service. A store can offer tablets in kiosk setups for customers to search for products in-store or online. Sales associates can be empowered with access to real-time inventory on their devices or even consumer info to add an element of personalization to the shopping experience. Mobile devices can also be deployed for busting long lines or utilized as mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) operations.

The benefits aren’t just consumer-facing; they can pay dividends for the bottom line, as well. Introducing mobility can reduce time and costs, boost productivity of employees and increase efficiency.

Benefits of In-Store Mobile Usage

Studies and surveys have shown that 76 percent of customers find staff use of mobile devices in-store appealing, while 58 percent who’ve experienced mobile-equipped retail staffers said the practice enhanced their in-store experience. Additionally, in those unfortunate circumstances when a desired product was not available at the physical location, mobile-enabled stores found themselves able to convert 68 percent of out-of-stock incidents into home-delivery sales.

Retail opportunities like these can be seamless, enjoyable and pain-free shopping experiences with the help of mobile devices. These situations can even improve customer satisfaction, boost consumer loyalty and drive positive word of mouth.

The benefits of utilizing mobility to transform retail operations into more agile businesses are obvious, but before you create a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace or deploy devices on the floor, it’s imperative mobile security is addressed.

Clean Up, Security Aisle

Cybercriminals are actively searching for new ways to infiltrate retail organizations, and they’ve set their sights on an often overlooked and vulnerable endpoint: mobile devices.

Thanks to a wealth of valuable corporate and customer data stored and accessed by retailers, businesses operating within this industry often find themselves key targets for cybercriminals. Some major retailers already know firsthand how devastating losses from successful data breaches can be.

Data breaches are incredibly costly in today’s world, and those costs are rising quickly. In fact, the cost of retail data breaches skyrocketed from $105 per record in 2014 to $165 per record in 2015, according to the “2015 Cost of Data Breach Study.”

A breach doesn’t just affect the bottom line with immediate monetary loss; it also causes significant damage to a brand’s reputation. In fact, 15 percent of customers said they would stop shopping at companies whose data was breached, CNBC reported.

While this fear may be an impediment to mobile adoption in the retail setting, it doesn’t have to be. There are secure, cloud-based mobility solutions that can be deployed in just minutes to ensure retail operations can best leverage mobility with the utmost security: enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions.

Mobility and Security Are the Keys to Success

IBM MaaS360 is one such EMM solution that provides IT managers with the ability to monitor and manage the myriad of devices, docs, apps and data within a retail operation’s mobile work environment. This is done with maximum scalability thanks to the cloud.

IT has the tools and controls necessary to institute mobile device usage policies with compliance checks, passcode enforcement, restrictions and more — all while ensuring the strongest security to keep data PCI-compliant.

With a secure, encrypted, dual-persona container featuring data leak prevention (DLP), retail employees are empowered to communicate, collaborate and operate with separation of corporate and personal data on a device. Retail operations considering mPOS or kiosks can leverage app management capabilities to ensure secure apps are deployed to the necessary associates and their accompanying devices to operate more effectively in-store.

Remember those dangerous cyberattacks mentioned earlier? Mobile threat management helps identify, analyze and remediate mobile threats and malware before they scratch the surface of your company.

Go Mobile in 2016

Mobile is a force of change that all retailers must proactively incorporate in their overall strategies. See how mobility can help make your retail operation more secure and agile while enabling a better overall customer experience when you try IBM MaaS360 free for 30 days.

Kevin Olivieri

Online Community and Social Media Manager

Kevin is the Online Community and Social Media Manager at Fiberlink, an IBM Company. He currently manages and writes...