Amid the continuing battles of bricks-and-mortar stores against their online competitors, business strategists are always looking for new ways to increase competitiveness and productivity.

Retailers are now collecting more information about their customers and their purchasing preferences in order to personalise the shopping experience and improve profitability. Mobile devices such as RFID scanners, mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) terminals and information kiosks are being used to augment the consumer experience, lower costs and increase efficiencies across the store.

But as stores increasingly look to ever-evolving technology in the quest to stem the tide of consumers flocking to online,  they are unexpectedly finding themselves facing a data tsunami of epic proportions.

While this may sound dire, this unprecedented torrent of data is a good thing. And instead of scrambling for higher ground, this raw data should be leveraged in traditional retailing’s fight for survival.

We live in an age where anything and everything can be labelled, tagged and recorded in digital form.  But while in the past such information had limited competitive value, today this same information can be turned into sales gold.

And therein lies where the processing and understanding of analytics can have its greatest impact.

Depending on what you sell, the data generated by shopfloor technology – such as mPOS terminals and RFID scanners – can be used to compare current stock levels to stock levels at a sister store, move old stock, or even increase margins on stock in greater demand. For the consumer looking for very specific items – especially big-ticket items like a 3D TV or Blu-Ray player, for example – shopfloor technology can better inform them of potential savings, levels of stock and even present them with facilities to order out-of-stock items to the most convenient location for them without requiring the personal assistance of shop staff.

These tools – rather than being a pipe dream – are already in widespread use.  By creating useable and real-time information from the data collected by these tools, bricks-and-mortar retailers can better predict and cater to shopper demand, increase sales and margins, and drive customer loyalty. The latter, in particular, is a value often forgotten as customers and retailers move to online, but it’s the key differentiator for stores in the battle of bricks versus clicks – a differentiator the bricks-and-mortar brigade would be wise to protect.

Today’s data deluge is but a leaky tap compared to what it will be in the near future.

As retail becomes increasingly refined, more mobile and savvier, so too will the tools designed to make it more efficient and profitable. But ignoring the data that’s right in front of you, begging to be crunched, and risk losing the battle before it’s even become a war.

Visit to find out how Motorola Solutions is helping retailers connect with shoppers like never before. To view a copy of the Motorola Application Brief: Mobility in Retail, activate the QR Code.