One of the many benefits of modernizing store operations with new mobile technology is an influx of data to help retailers make smarter decisions about their business. With smart technology integrated into nearly every facet of their business, retailers are improving IT operations and customer experiences. This data primarily resides on and through mobile devices and can be managed through an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution.
“Data has seeped into every nook and cranny of the retail process, thanks to everything from mobile devices and Wi-Fi to beacons, sensors, cookies and POS terminals. The result? A nearly total data takeover of the retail landscape.”
—CIO.com’s “6 Ways Data Is Taking Over Retail”
Supply Chain and Deliveries
On the backend of the operations, like supply chain and deliveries, retailers are integrating RFID, barcodes, wireless devices, automation software and voice-directed technology to have end-to-end knowledge of their demand and inventory. Customers expect what they want, when they want and where they want it, and data from these technologies can ensure the right inventory is getting to the right stores at the right time.
Traceability is also a critical component to supply chains as it is directly tied to risk. Traceability and recalls are inherently data-driven and intensive. Data can provide better traceability performance, reducing the labor-intensive and time-consuming administrative tasks of managing and interpreting databases that capture products that have quality issues and need to be recalled.
In the Store
At the store, there are several opportunities to use data to improve operations. Retailers are using beacon technology within the store to give shoppers access to relevant information based on where they are in the store. That data can then be analyzed to show what customers are engaging with and what content isn’t working. They can use that information to improve the customer experience throughout the store.
Providing interactive mobile devices throughout a store can not only help engage a customer in the shopping process but can also provide data about what a shopper is looking for in a certain area of the store. In turn this helps the retailer make smarter decisions about what products to place where. Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) and kiosks can also improve transactions by allowing the customer to check out from any point within the store.
Data from mobile devices can also improve brand loyalty and customer experience. For instance, retailers can pull data from a customer’s previous transaction to suggest new products they might like. This customer satisfaction and brand loyalty is key to success on the selling floor.
At a macro level, retailers can use the data across a mass number of consumers that shop at their store and those like it. An anonymous aggregate of data can give retailers information about specific shopping habits, likes, dislikes and more.
Customer Spotlight: Belk
Customers at Belk, a private southern department store with more than 300 locations, deployed device kiosks for customers to help themselves seeking self-service pricing, registry and online shopping information directly. Customers can still talk to an associate or access registries online, but many now choose the mobile option as it is quick, easy, and they know what they want. Customers can also scan inventory to check and compare prices throughout the store or options that may reside online, helping customers save time and money and avoiding endless product searches.
“With VMware AirWatch, we are striving to deliver the digital experience within our stores. Our customers are more engaged. Our associates and managers feel empowered with access to information that once was only available in the back office on manager tablets and mobile points of sale. Together with VMware AirWatch, we are working to transform the traditional retail experience and deliver the customer engagement needed in today’s digital world.”
—James Morse, omnichannel technology lead, Belk
Technology for the Data-Driven Retailer
At VMware, we work with thousands of retailers that want to deliver new solutions, analyze data and overall modernize and mobilize their retail environment. This is what led us to create VMware’s Secure Digital Workspace for Retail. Powered by VMware Workspace ONE, this solution enables all retail employees—exempt, non-exempt, seasonal, contractors, etc.—to securely access retail resources, data and applications anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Unlike legacy environments, the Secure Digital Workspace for Retail addresses the speed at which retail employees and customers are adopting mobility. The Secure Digital Workspace for Retail transforms service delivery by integrating identity, application, enterprise mobility and content management to deliver a secure, unified workspace available across any computing environment.
Retailers can take this information and data right from the IT console and use it to improve their store operations. Let us take a look at Coca-Cola and how they are using AirWatch EMM, part of the Secure Digital Workspace for Retail, to modernize their operations and data workflows.
Customer Spotlight: Coca-Cola
The Coca-Cola Company worked with AirWatch to transform the beverage experience, improving guest perceptions and, in the process, driving tremendous sales growth. The iconic brand serves products in more than 200 countries worldwide. In 2009, Coca-Cola introduced Coca-Cola Freestyle, a touch-screen soda fountain featuring more than 100 different Coca-Cola beverages. Users select from mixtures of flavors, which are then individually dispensed—a major departure from traditional fountain machines which restrict choice. Because Coca-Cola Freestyle required a tool to manage the more than 33,000 dispensers used around the world, the company invested in AirWatch EMM.
Rather than deploy very large files for time-consuming software updates, AirWatch EMM only required a small executable file be sent. The solution also improved Coca-Cola’s visibility into how the dispensers were performing in real time, and when they might need maintenance and product refills.
With accurate purchasing data, the company has been able to develop new products such as Cherry Vanilla Coke—a mixture of top performing flavors. In addition, the company integrated SAP and Salesforce with AirWatch EMM technology to create unique profiles for each dispenser personalizing experiences, promotions and orders. The AirWatch EMM solution together with Coca-Cola Freestyle has enabled the company and operators to achieve the following business results:
- Double-digit beverage sales growth – Coca-Cola has experienced over 20% volume for same store sales where Coca-Cola Freestyle is installed
- Delighted customers – The company has improved guest perceptions of the beverage experience and the operator brand +15%
- Increased consumer price value perception of >50%
- Doubled the impact on restaurant choice
- Streamlined operations