Where do people get their information from these days?
We ask ourselves that a lot when we talk to retailers about mobility plans. Over the years we’ve heard some wild assumptions about what is required in order to successfully implement Mobile POS, line busting and other mobile workflows. Over the next few weeks, we will share what we call the 7 Myths of Implementing Mobile Retail Workflows.
Myth #1 – Going Mobile Requires New Retail Software
Many retailers are resigned that they will need to evaluate, purchase and deploy new retail software in order to implement mobile workflows . If it were true that the only path to mobility in retail involved consumer devices, like iOS and Android, then you would need new software and all of the issues this would bring. No consumer-grade mobile devices support most POS Software running on countertop systems, since most retailers run Windows-based software.
Luckily there are other options than iOS and Android. If you use Windows-based tablets, with enterprise-grade performance, storage and wireless capabilities, you can run your current retail software, usually as-is. Running your current software for your mobile workflows brings a number of immediate advantages. Everything in your store remains consistent. The mobile workflow is fully integrated into your infrastructure. All changes to inventory, pricing and promotions are immediately available on all of the devices in all of your stores.
So rather than working to make consumer devices work in your store, and then implementing and integrating the workflows, start with tablets that run your current environment. You’ll be ahead of the game.
Myth # 2 – Our Current Retail Accessories Will Not Work with New Mobile Technology
Mobile retail workflows are powerful ways to build a better, more valuable relationship with your shoppers. Assisted selling, Mobile POS and Line Busting are all examples of compelling mobile workflows. These require traditional capabilities, in a mobile format: receipt printer, credit card terminals, and cash drawers to name a few.
If these workflows are delivered on iOS or Android devices, then a retailer’s existing retail accessories are largely unusable. These existing devices require Windows drivers, and often APIs such as OPOS, all of which are unavailable on consumer devices. However, Windows-based mobile devices typically retain access to any device with Windows drivers, therefore retail API standards such as OPOS, UPOS, and JPOS can still be run.
How would these legacy, mostly wired accessories be useful in a mobile workflow? Some retailers will use the tablet at the counter for some portions of the workflows. Another alternative is to make these devices accessible via wireless connections. Any Ethernet device can be connected to a wireless router, and immediately they are available to tablets. Also, many accessory providers offer modules that can be connected to existing devices to add Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capability. Lastly, if you want new wireless devices such as belt-clip printers, there are more available with Windows access than there are for iOS or Android connections.
So a choice of a mobile retail workflow does not require purchases of new retail accessories. There is a lot of opportunity to leverage the installed equipment, if you choose the right tablet.
By Bob Ashenbrenner
Mobile POS Architect