Guest post by Neil Jones
If there’s one word that best describes the 21st century, it’s definitely the word mobile. Today, people on the go don’t have to stop moving if they want to get things done at home or in the office. Wherever they may be, busy yuppies and seasoned globetrotters alike can go shopping, pay their bills, and buy food with handheld devices—all without ever leaving their seat.
Mobile stuff abound everywhere: portable gaming devices, laptops, music and video players, smartphones, e-book readers, ultra-mobile personal computers and tablets are just some of the more popular and visible devices that people use on a daily basis.
These small, incredibly smart mobile devices pack a punch, allowing people who are constantly on the move to bring multi-tasking to a whole new level. In the past, these technological wonders were only applied to doing tasks for professional work, such as checking email, creating presentations, and reviewing documents on the go.
Mobile phones have practically become a permanent accessory of the 21st century professional, what with people bringing and using their phones wherever they may be. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at home or abroad, because you can always rely on your mobile phone to keep you busy with its many features such as GPS tracking, games, applications, video camera and a lot more. That is, if you’re already done with most of the things you have to do for the office and you still want to play around with your mobile device.
Now, however, mobile technology has enabled people to do so much more than simply attend to their office chores and recreational activities. The astounding growth of the mobile sector has paved the way for our cellular phones, Palm Pilots and iPhones to be the new best friend of the retail industry.
Mobile retailing involves more than just the everyday devices mentioned above—there are also other technologies at work that make the busy life so much easier to handle, such as Bluetooth connectivity and radio frequency identification or RFID chips.
The earliest beginnings of mobile retailing can be traced to the emergence of first-generation applications or special software that support retail function, giving consumers a whole new shopping experience. With Internet connection available almost everywhere via wireless broadband or WiFi, shoppers can look up merchandise online and compare prices, capabilities and features.
On the marketing side of things, manufacturers can offer their products and services in a way that is more tailored to the needs and requirements of their buyers. They can cater to customer complaints in real-time and send online product brochures straight to the individual email inboxes of their customers. The advent of e-commerce has also helped retailers to know their shopping public more intimately, studying everything from brand choices to shopping schedules to store preferences.
Bringing all these technology into the store while the customer is actually doing his shopping, was the next logical step in the development of mobile technology. Customers can now be specifically identified through their mobile network operators and provided with the most up-to-minute and detailed comparisons, customer reviews and information on just about any product within the store. All these are downloadable and viewable on their mobile phones, providing shoppers with maximum convenience and gratification.
And mobile technology follows the customer even after he’s already chosen which merchandise to buy. He can also take the products home without having to pay in cash and with no receipt printout to tuck into his wallet. E-commerce applications are being developed further to enable digital payments and paperless receipt systems to be available in the retail store of the future. In fact, the possibilities of mobile retailing are looking to be rather robust as more and more people are let in on the mobile revolution.
Neil is head of Marketing for eMobileScan, Who are on their way to becoming Europe’s Largest Provider of handheld computers and Symbol Barcode Scanners. If you wish to talk further about the prospects of mobile retail, just leave a comment and Neil will try his best to get back to you. You can also share your tips by writing a guest article on TechPP