Retailers constantly strive to find the perfect path to purchase for their customers. The conundrum is how to execute that vision in physical stores while operating in a digital world, where marketplaces change every second. The answer is to provide frontline retail associates with secure, preconfigured mobile devices outfitted with custom corporate apps that enable them to meet the customer where they are at in the buyer’s journey.

A retailers’ job has always been to make perfect purchases a reality, earning the trust and repeat business of a happy customer. But today, thanks to digital channels, social media and smartphones, consumers have many ways to research and acquire what they want. To design that deeply satisfying customer purchase experience, retailers must connect their unique brand via associates to the way today’s consumers want to buy in stores.

Smart retailers are leaning in to this next-gen way of shopping and changing what they do to cater to shoppers’ emerging needs. They’re providing free Wi-Fi for the increasing numbers of millennial and Gen Z shoppers that want to share pictures with friends and family, or browse a store’s apps for deals and recommendations, before making a purchase. They’re adding Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS), because shoppers want the convenience of online shopping combined with the confidence and accessibility of a physical location.

Perhaps most dramatically, they’re leveraging new insights about what shoppers do — and don’t — want from store associates. They are making associates into shoppers’ greatest allies by empowering them to deliver the store experience consumers actually want. For example, consumers often say they want to be left alone — at first. But as soon as they have a problem or want something, they expect store associates to be well-prepared to meet that need. Consider these statistics.

Those are big numbers, and smart retailers are jumping on them. IHL found retail leaders are moving 71 percent faster than non-leaders to empower their associates with better tools. Often this means smart devices like phones, tablets and wearables, combined with powerful applications that allow associates to deliver real value to the shopper: extensive product data, real-time inventory, personalized promotions, mobile checkout and more.

Mobile Devices Paying Off in a Big Way

Moving from a handful of mobile devices in managers’ hands to putting a smart device in the hands of every associate sounds like a big undertaking, but three factors can make this investment pay off quickly for retailers.

  1. Impressive return on investment: IHL found retailers who leverage mobile devices in stores are posting sales growth numbers 25 percent to as much as 219 percent higher than competitors.
  2. The ease with which today’s smart devices fit into retailers’ limited budgets. Smartphones and tablets offer far more functionality at a much lower price point than the purpose-built scanners retailers have used for inventory for years.
  3. End-to-end manageability enabled by Samsung’s Knox suite of solutions for device security and support, including Knox Configure, Knox Mobile Enrollment and Knox Manage, which enable IT to provision devices, enroll them remotely and automate software updates.

Samsung’s platform approach means retailers can choose the right devices for each associate, on a common platform. For example, associates who will be using devices for locating inventory and filling click-and-collect orders may do well with Galaxy A series phones. For rugged environments, the Galaxy Tab Active 2 or Enterprise Edition may be the best fit. For selling tasks that involve capturing a signature, the Galaxy Tab S4 and Galaxy Note9 include an S Pen to capture signatures, with the tablet form factor also offering a large screen to share multimedia and other powerful selling tools with customers. And a manager who needs to quickly dock the phone to a monitor to view large documents will want the DeX capabilities that come with those devices and the Galaxy S10. Unlocked phones are an ideal fit when the devices need only Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Many Paths to a Perfect Purchase

Affordable devices like these open the doors to all sorts of new opportunities to deliver that perfect purchase satisfaction. These are just a few of the powerful capabilities that retailers can leverage on associate smart devices to design a great customer experience:

  • Generating personalized product recommendations, so the associate is showing customers only items that are highly relevant to their needs
  • Enabling true omnichannel experiences through access to real-time data, like click and collect, or picking up right where the customer’s digital shopping session left off
  • Delivering discounts and specials personalized to the customer by providing customer identity and loyalty status to the associate’s device
  • Leveraging augmented reality (AR) to visualize products in different environments, such as “trying on” a dress in a different color without a trip back to the dressing room
  • Performing inventory and task management to quickly locate a product in another store or channel and arrange for delivery to the customer’s home
  • Offering video consultations by remote stylists and other experts, so the customer is getting the best advice the retailer can offer
  • Sharing the screen, so customers can see color options or collaborate with the associate on a custom order
  • Getting customers on their way quickly using mobile POS apps that simplify and accelerate payment on the spot

The ability to design the ideal customer experience has never been more within reach. By blending the tactile experience of the store, the human touch that only an associate can bring and the power of custom apps on mobile devices, retailers have everything they need to personalize and enrich the customer experience. Mobile devices make for perfect purchases — for retailers and consumers alike.

Learn how you can improve retail associate performance with data and mobile devices.