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Mobile Tech Terms: Enterprise mobility in retail

  • Scott Solomon By

Whether you’re a business owner, IT administrator or developer, you need to know the lingo — the unique terms that specific industries use to refer to their mobile initiatives. This glossary will help you wade through terms specific to enterprise mobility in retail.


mCommerce, short for mobile commerce, isn’t just about buying stuff online with your phone or tablet. The definition of mCommerce has expanded to include transactions such as in-app purchases, mobile banking transfers and payments, digital wallets and mobile money transfers. By 2017, mCommerce sales are expected to exceed $100 billion.

Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS)

The point of sale, which traditionally involves a clerk and cash register, is where a transaction takes place. Retailers are taking advantage of additional points of sale on mobile devices. mPOS hardware and software enable merchants to transform ordinary smartphones or tablets into point of purchase tools.

Omni-channel Retailing

Omni-channel retailing is an approach in which retailers merge all sales channels for a streamlined customer experience. Rather than experiencing a brand through multiple channels — mobile, desktop and laptop, brick and mortar, TV, radio, direct mail — retailers are leveraging supply chain and consumer behavior tracking software to create a singular brand experience, regardless of channel. Omni-channel retailing leverages big data and bridges customers’ online and in-store experiences.

Tap-and-go Payment

Tap-and-go credit or debit cards use near-field communication (NFC) to send data wirelessly to a nearby terminal where the payment is processed. Tap-and-go card technology has been around for more than a decade, but the few seconds it saves at the cash register hasn’t been enough to sway consumers to make the switch. Tap-and-go payment via mobile is a more recent innovation, where credit card information stored in the SD card or an NFC chip within a consumer’s smartphone can be tapped at the point of sale.

Line Busting

Line Busting is a term commonly associated with mPOS. Retailers that face the challenge of battling long lines are leveraging mPOS solutions to slash wait times and drive revenue by adding additional points of sale. mPOS enables store associates to complete transactions on the spot.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council was founded in 2006 as a result of the rise in plastic payments. The council created the PCI Data Security Standards (DSS), which consists of 12 strict regulations that businesses must adhere to in order to become PCI DSS compliant. PCI DSS compliance allows merchants to handle personal data and complete payment card transactions. The PCI council recently introduced an update to version 3.0 of the PCI DSS in Nov. 2013.


Showrooming takes place when a customer enters a store to preview a product that they will later buy online. In its truest form, showrooming essentially turns traditional brick and mortar stores into a free trial testing ground. Retailers have combated this trend through omni-channel retailing, price matching and mPOS techniques.

Ruggedized Devices

Rugged or ruggedized devices are built to withstand the bruising that may take place when the devices are used in conditions that are less than ideal. Ruggedized Devices are built for long term use and have various uses in different industries. In retail, handheld rugged devices are used in inventory management and, less often, as mobile point of sale systems.

Bricks and Clicks

Bricks and clicks, or brick and click, is a relatively new term used to describe a business plan that uses both traditional brick and mortar stores and online mediums to drive revenue. Retailers are using brick and click strategies to use the two channels together, boost in-store pickups from online orders and reduce or reverse showrooming. The desired result is a consumer that researches products online, then enters the physical store to make purchases.

Endless Aisle

Endless Aisle refers to the concept of offering items for sale that are not physically located in the store. The ‘endless aisle’ experience provides a better customer experience and more sales opportunities, while saving brick and mortar retailers square footage.

Scott Solomon

Scott Solomon

Scott Solomon is an Atlanta native and University of Georgia graduate who has spent the past six years studying technology, though his passion for the subject has been lifelong.

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