MOBILITY

Shoes for customers on the run

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vancouver – Customers on the run have a new option for purchasing shoes.

In an effort to enhance its mobile capabilities, OnlineShoes.com, a sister brand of Shoes.com, is launching a refreshed mobile responsive website.

The retailer also plans to launch an OnlineShoes.com mobile app for both iOS and Android platforms in the coming weeks. The updated site and app will provide customers with a rich and consistent shopping experience from any device, including high-resolution photos, customizable features and seamless checkout options.

“Smartphones and tablets have changed the way consumers shop, making it easier than ever to not only discover new products, but purchase them whenever, wherever,” said Roger Hardy, CEO of Shoes.com and OnlineShoes.com. “Knowing that our customers are mobile-savvy, we wanted to ensure that we make the shopping experience on the OnlineShoes.com website easy and as accessible as possible for our on-the-go customers.”

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News

Tech Guest Viewpoint: Integrating Retail Mobile Apps With Core Business Processes

BY Jason Peck

When building and deploying mobile apps, retail and distribution firms have employed a variety of approaches, including custom app builds, cloud-based DIY app builder tools, and in some cases, building their own enterprise app stores. No matter what path is chosen, businesses involved in all aspects of retail are turning their attention to applications that can improve the productivity and efficiency of an increasingly mobile workforce.

In fact, 44% of retail businesses used more than five mobile business applications in 2014, while 23% of organizations used 10 or more+ mobile business apps in 2014, according to Canvas’ 2nd Annual Mobile Business Application survey of business and IT decision makers.

Retailers create employee-facing mobile apps to transform work processes. Whether your business is in clothing and accessories or wholesale distribution, you need to collect and share information such as order forms, inventories, and merchandise inspections. Collecting this on paper allows errors to enter your database, and can take days to get into your database.

However, for mobile apps to truly move the needle when it comes to cost savings, productivity and efficiency, retailers must ensure seamless integration with core business applications for cloud storage, credit card processing, sales enablement, accounting systems, and even smart watches.

Retailers are demanding this integration: Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed by Canvas indicate that they see value in integrating core business applications with mobile devices and tools.

Mobile workers, particularly those who spend considerable time in the field at various retail sites or other locations, are collecting a massive volume of information. Employees need full freedom and flexibility to not only collect data in real-time and share it throughout their organization, but to also automatically store this data in the cloud.

Integrating mobility with cloud storage places a premium on effective data collection that can then be easily stored and shared across the organization. Business users are not limited to capturing important project, customer, partner and internal data in text formats, but can also collect an expanded set of information on smartphones and tablets through image capture, barcode scanning, e-signatures and GPS.

In fact, the 2015 Canvas survey tracked which mobile app features retail and distribution firms used in the past 12 months. Image capture (53%) and signature capture (37%) were most popular.

Advanced integration capabilities could allow employees to set rules for each mobile app they create. For example, if a retailer is conducting in-store audits and checks, that data collected with that app can be automatically sent to their cloud service of choice and stored in a specific folder based on the site location, date or other criteria.

Emerging solutions are integrating payment services with mobile apps – providing retailers with a mobile credit card processing solution to instantly accept payment for goods and services, analyze mobile transaction data, and generate custom-branded e-receipts for these transactions that can include coupons, social media calls-to-action, website URLs, logos, etc.

By linking mobile payments to business apps, informative customer information can be stored and leveraged to change the way retailers interact with customers – not just at the point-of-transaction but also through the full customer lifecycle.

While not a conventional business “application,” smart watches are poised to become a factor for mobile businesses – particularly those that rely on teams in the field who need access to fast-changing information from any location.

Smart watch notifications can be pushed to workers en route to a retail site that there is a schedule change or that individuals the employee needs to meet with will no longer be there. Other promising applications include smart watches for disaster response, so a fireman or paramedic could get instant alerts before entering a burning house or dangerous area. While these are early-stage applications for smart watch integration, they are compelling ones.

As retailers devote more dollars to mobile apps, the need to rapidly quantify tangible, enterprise-wide ROI rises considerably. Integrating mobile apps with core business processes can help organizations experience the full benefit of employee-facing apps.


Jason Peck is director of marketing at Canvas.

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DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

CSA to select ‘Top Redevelopers’ for 11th-annual listing

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New YorkChain Store Age magazine is accepting nominations for its 11th annual “Top Redevelopers” listing, which recognizes shopping center owners and developers’ retail redevelopment efforts over the last 12 months. Selections will be based on square footage redeveloped between June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015, financial investment, and project significance.

A listing of “Top Redevelopers”, selected by CSA from the pool of entrants, will appear in the October 2015 issue of Chain Store Age and on ChainStoreAge.com.

Survey completion deadline is August 17, 2015.

Click here for the survey.

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