Not using tablets and other mobile devices in your retail outlets yet? You’re probably not reaching the potential you desire in your customer service standards in a world where consumers are becoming more demanding by the day, eagerly negotiating prices and setting their own terms and conditions.  Retailers are quickly learning that unless they can meet these expectations, their business will suffer.

At the same time we’re in a period when Australian consumers are holding back on spending.  However, providing a great customer experience in store this holiday season is one opportunity to put you in a good market position for 2020 and beyond.  The realisation that nobody owns the customer but someone always owns the moment, signals a fundamental change in the way businesses operate.  Retailers that thrive in this environment will be those who focus on knowing what their smartphone savvy customers desire and who innovate to deliver it, even before the customer is aware of the need.

Connected customers

A survey of 100 IT decision makers in the Australian market carried out by Jamf in 2019 found the mobile computing mentality had well and truly taken root Down Under. Almost two-thirds of respondents indicated they had plans to significantly increase their use of mobile technology in their retail outlets in the future.

What’s driving the trend? Overwhelmingly it’s customers, who, in Australia, are a hyper-connected bunch.  They’re using smartphones to connect with family and friends, conduct personal transactions, entertain themselves and work.

Online shopping fits well with the smartphone,  It’s intuitive, seamless and uber-fast. As a result, when they do sally forth to the bricks and mortar shops, Australians want the same slick standard of service they’re accustomed to receiving in the virtual world.

According to Jamf’s survey respondents, they’re looking for a faster, smoother payment experience and they want to give their custom to businesses which offer the sort of personalised in-store experience Amazon et al have conditioned them to expect in spades.

Mobile devices can help retail staff meet these demands where it matters most – out on the sales floor. Smartphones and tablets can be used to access product information, check inventory and prices, record customer preferences and accept payment, from anywhere in the store.

Shoppers know it’s the key to a better experience and they’re putting pressure on retailers to deliver. Three quarters of respondents to Jamf’s survey indicated they’d experienced pressure from their customers to implement more and better mobile infrastructure in their stores.

Making mobile device management easier

Technology should be tested prior to deployment on the retail shop floor.  After all, anyone who’s struggled to complete a transaction using a glitch-prone application can feel the frustration.

Managing platforms and devices in the highly decentralised environment that is retail can pose a significant challenge for small and medium sized retailers and chains which may be  unable to dedicate sufficient in-house resources to the task.

A robust mobile device management provider can eliminate this headache and save retailers time and money in the process. Their remit can include configuring devices for a specific use case, personalising employee devices, installing software updates as they’re released and ensuring employees and customers enjoy the sort of user-friendly mobile experience that will keep them coming back for more.

Time to act

2020 is shaping up as another year for opportunity for Australian retailer to find ways to invest in solutions and programs which can fuel market share.

For many retailers, old methods of operation are no longer sufficient to ensure competitiveness and, given Australians’ ongoing love affair with digital technology, that’s unlikely to change.

Adding an internet shopfront and mobile in-store experience are now imperatives for bricks and mortar businesses that want to prosper in the years ahead.  At the same time, online retailers may want to consider how they can also work with physical stores to provide customers with the ultimate an efficient hopping experience.

This holiday season, it’s all about providing that all important great customer service before, during and after the sale, irrespective of what retail channel the customer interacts with.

Invest in tools and technologies that support innovation, product development and reduce the time to market.  As the customer culture spreads throughout the organisation, constantly look to find ways to more closely engage the customer.

Jamie Davidson is ANZ Regional Sales Manager at JAMF.