Global players get mobile to `bust queues’ in SA for 2010

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While media commentary abounds that the worst of the recession seems to be over, this festive season is unlikely to be a bumper one for local shops. The accumulated slow-down in spending is clearly reflected in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) data for the second quarter of 2009, which reveals that the retail trade is among the main contributors to the decrease in economic activity.

Ensuring customer satisfaction is more important now than it’s ever been. With consumers turning every penny, retailers really need to offer the best possible service in order to garner customer loyalty and in the process ensure these customers keep coming back. A global trend that is making huge waves in the retail trade in the UK and US is mobility, where retailers are using enterprise mobility solutions to improve the customer experience and simply do things better.

Whether it’s giving on-demand access to product or store information as customers shop or providing express check-out systems to customers regardless of basket size, retailers need to find ways of pleasing their customers. From an operational perspective, empowering store managers to work on the go instead of behind their desks or controlling inventory by preventing shrinkage before it happens are all processes that use mobility to do business in a significantly more productive manner.

Three leading mobility specialists – IBM, Motorola and Zebra – have joined forces to form a pioneering mobile enterprise tri-alliance. Tri-Alliance spokesperson and Mobile Specialist for IBM, Caroline Scofield explains, “The facts surrounding mobility and business are quite simple. Businesses wanting to achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace and be business smart need to put in place successful enterprise mobility strategies.

“More and more retail brands in the US and in Europe have implemented integrated mobility and the results speak for themselves. Significant time savings, increased productivity, enhanced accuracy levels and satisfied customers – mobility is the answer to most operational challenges faced by retailers.” 

There will come a time in the not too distant future, when South African customers will be able to obtain recipe and wine suggestions from in-store digital kiosks, scan and bag their own items and then pay and leave the store without having to stand in a queue. Sound like retail heaven? Welcome to the future of shopping.

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