In-Store Mobile Delivers Service, Efficiency, And Convenience
Associate assistance, associate mobility, and customer self-service are the triumvirate of in-store mobile capabilities that can provide positive customer experiences and efficient operations in the store. Customers demand the flexibility to purchase on their own or with help from associates in the store. The retailer offering associate assistance or self-service throughout each step of the buying journey holds the cards for a differentiated service. Bundling back-office tasks into associate mobile apps gives the associate more time to engage the customer. In-store mobile technology delivers:
- Customer service through associate-assisted mobile scanning and checkout. Today, most mobile checkouts in the store still happen through an associate-assisted device or a mobile point of service (mPOS). Forty-two percent of retailers enable their store associates to take orders and payment in-aisle through a mobile device. Retailers are rethinking how much self-service their customers want: For example, except for its Sam’s Club locations, Walmart is phasing out its Scan & Go self-service program and effectively replacing it with an associate-assisted mobile checkout for its lawn and garden centers. Walmart decided that its customers are more interested in getting help from associates in specific parts of the store (e.g., the garden center) rather than self-service throughout the store.
- Operational efficiency through associate mobility. Improving an associate’s ability to service the customer begins with making it easier to perform their other responsibilities. Store associates are already using mobile tools to manage tasks, notify colleagues, scan for restocks, reset pricing, print labels, confirm deliveries, and more. Store managers also have more visibility into the work their associates are performing, where they need to improve, and how the store team’s performance impacts the business.
- Customer convenience through self-service mobile checkout. “This [Shop and Scan mobile self-service checkout] technology joins our curbside pickup and home delivery programs to provide yet another option for Meijer customers to personalize their shopping experience,” states Meijer CIO Terry Ledbetter. Catering to customers who want it, self-service remains part of the customer engagement model in the store. Kroger and Macy’s, among others, have launched mobile self-checkout options in their stores with the expectation to improve their customers’ in-store experiences. However, mobile self-checkout is no panacea for poor in-store experience. Mobile self-service typically requires added work for the customer, such as downloading an app and diligently scanning items in the store. Retailers must test both functionality and customer experience to ensure that putting the scanning burden on the customer does not reduce the promised convenience.
Learn more in the upcoming report on the state of mobile point of service coming out soon. Also coming soon will be the POS Wave later this year by VP, Principal Analyst George Lawrie. You can reference the mPOS landscape with the Forrester report, “Now Tech: Point Of Service And Mobile Point Of Service Vendors, Q2 2018.”
 Source: “The State Of Retailing Online 2018,” National Retail Federation (https://nrf.com/resources/retail-library/the-state-of-retailing-online-2018). Forty-two percent (41.67%) of respondents identified that their organization allows either complete or partial/limited taking of orders in-aisle via a mobile point of sale.
Also, see the Forrester report: “The State Of Retailing Online 2018: Store Investments, Business Objectives, And Mobile”
 Source: Russell Redman, “Walmart pulls plug on Mobile Express Scan & Go,” Supermarket News, May 16, 2018 (http://www.supermarketnews.com/news/walmart-pulls-plug-mobile-express-scan-go) and Deena M. Amato-McCoy, “Walmart pulls the plug on self-checkout app,” Chain Store Age, May 15, 2018 (https://www.chainstoreage.com/technology/walmart-reportedly-pulling-the-plug-on-self-checkout-app/)
 Source: “Meijer Unveils New Checkout App,” Progressive Grocer, April 16, 2018 (https://progressivegrocer.com/meijer-unveils-new-checkout-app)