n 1987 Hertz introduced Instant Return, which allowed associates to meet returning customers at their cars, mobile device in hand, without having to visit an office. Instant Return enabled the agent to check-in the car and complete the customer’s transaction on the spot. This was a revolutionary idea in 1987. In 2012, it is a necessity. How did we live without it? How did we bear to record the car’s mileage, drag our luggage to the checkout counter, and dig through our wallet or purse to pay for our rental? But we did it, with wary eyes on clocks and minds on homeward-bound flights.
Instant Return and similar solutions have transformed customer experiences. Mobile technology can do the same for bricks-and-mortar retail. Technological advances in mobile computing have made it economically viable to evolve traditional fixed POS into true mobile point of service at any location in the store. This enables associates to create more meaningful and higher value customer interactions and shopping experiences.
MPOS is traditionally known as mobile point of sale. Today, consumers expect more than a faster way to check out. Just as smart phones are expected to do more than make calls, in-store mobile devices are expected to do more than process transactions. MPOS today must extend past the register, giving store associates multi-application devices they can use to interact with customers on demand. MPOS, in broad strokes, encompasses anything a store associate can do on a mobile device to enhance the customer experience.
A successful project foundation is built with tight integration to the POS system; however, in no way should it be limited to point of sale transactions. To deliver true mobile point of service, retailers need to expand the functionality beyond POS with integration to customer loyalty, promotions, eCommerce, CRM, and other enterprise systems.
The “why” of mobile point of service will likely vary for each retailer. This series of posts will touch on several drivers but its primary focus is “how” to successfully design and deliver a MPOS solution for store associates. This discussion is based on many experiences with numerous MPOS store deployments. In the next few weeks, we will describe:
- The business context for MPOS,
- How to plan, create, deploy, and manage a successful MPOS solution, and
- How to maintain the solution successfully.