US-based research by RIS News uncovered that 77 per cent of US retailers were going to increase their spend on mobility, and in that same survey 57 per cent of retailers said they were going to deploy tablets as part of their mobility strategy in the next three to five years.
Commenting on those findings, David Choi, HP retail solutions market development manager, told Current.com.au that given Australia’s retail market is not too dissimilar to the US, there are expectations that Australian retailers will have the same idea.
“Mobility in retail is changing at a fast pace,” he said. “Based on that survey it’s pretty evident that everyone recognises in retail that we have to do something about this.
“It’s not going to be a strategy of wait and see — if they do that, there’s a very great risk of falling behind.”
In response to this, HP has launched its ElitePad Mobile POS Solution to personalise and simplify the shopping experience from both the merchant’s and consumer’s point of view. The Windows-based tablet features a retail sleeve that has a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader for loyalty cards.
According to Choi, a tool such as the mobile POS device is now a critical part in helping retailers remain relevant in a fast-paced environment where customers are more empowered with information than ever before.
“Even though there’s a lot of talk about online retailing growing, it’s still less than 7 per cent of total retail,” he said.
“The matter of fact is that a majority of shopping is still done in traditional bricks and mortar stores. So the key here is ‘how can we be relevant in the retail space?’ For those retailers, it’s about having the right tools of technology to implement a simplified experience for the customer.
“If a smart retailer implements a mobile solution to help consumers then and there it will also empower the sales assistant with the right information because most of the time the consumer has already done a lot of research. The irony here is that customers are carrying more sophisticated hardware in their pockets than the IT present in the store.”
At the same time, a mobile POS can also bring the relationship between a sales staff and customer to a whole new level, particularly when retailers are able to engage in more personalised conversations.
“At one end you have to look at increasing your data collection and with that data you can deliver relevant engaging conversations, which is why it’s important to have a personalised experience with consumers,” Choi said.
“Mobile POS is definitely one aspect that can deliver this.”