Specialty Retailers turn Customer Centric and Profitable with Mobility

Specialty Retail

The hype-to-reality transition of mobility in retail has been the fastest in the recent times. Ever since Apple started using mobile devices in their stores, which was not too long ago, retailers started taking notice. Today retailers expect the same level of customer experience that one would experience in an Apple store.iVend Mobile POS

Retail Applications like iVend Retail along with retail hardware providers have come a long way in providing complete solutions on mobile devices of different sizes and operating systems.

One of the Forbes reports pegs mobile in retail today to be US $5.7 Billion business and it is the single fastest growing trend.

Mobile POS has a pertinent significance in the context of Specialty Retailers having niche retail businesses like footwear, bookstores, wine & liquor stores, electronic stores, etc.

Retail Real-Estate Optimization, Customer Experience and Faster Business Expansion are some of the critical business drivers for Specialty Retailers. Mobile POS extends to these retailers unprecedented flexibility to effectively address these critical business needs.

Take for example the need for a retailer to open another retail store in an upmarket mall. With mobile POS directly connected to the head office servers, the retailer does not require to setup expensive IT infrastructure in his new retail store. All that is required is a mobile POS, which can also double up as a communication device.

Similarly, flexibility to increase checkout points on the fly is another feature that merits deployment of mobile POS by Specialty Retailers. Customer Experience, Special Attention and Preferential Treatment are some of the cornerstones of a Specialty Retailer And one of the ways a retailer can extend these to the customer is by eliminating the check out time. Mobile POS, given its ‘mobility’ ensures that there is never a queue at the check out point; infact there need not be any check out point – why should a customer walk to a designated area for checking out?

Any retailer would like to pamper his customer and what better way to do so by letting him know through notifications about his gift card status, coupon status and loyalty status by sending out a sophisticated, non-interfering, personal digital pass. All this when the customer is in the vicinity of the retail store.Digital Passes

Seamless integration of iVend Mobile POS with iVend Loyalty and iVend Passes, allows the retailer to extend the most sophisticated end customer experience to his customers.

As a result, specialty retailers are deploying about 45% of all tablets shipped to retail for POS. They are most popular in small independent retailers of all types and large mall-based specialty chains.

To know more about iVend Retail Management Suite and especially iVend Mobile POS, please visit our Knowledge Portal. You may also like to get in touch with our Channel Sales Manager to get more information about iVend Retail.

Mobility enhancing Retail Customer centricity

Mobile device multiplication among store associates, floor managers, back office and supply chain workers — and, perhaps most importantly, customers — has accelerated rapidly. For forward looking retailers who are focused on customer centricity, mobile tech integration has become the propelling force. Extension of enterprise applications to mobile devices is helping retailers achieve timely data access, break down channel-specific silos of information, facilitate tailor made sales and service, and enable true one-to-one CRM (customer relationship management) with consumers on their path to customer centricity.

The tidal wave of enterprise and consumer-mobility  is here and this new age technology really puts the customer at the center of the business.

 Customer-Centricity Trends and Tech Enablers

Mobility is about more than devices and wireless networks — it’s about data. Data is being gathered, processed, and pushed to applications faster than it ever has, allowing retailers to make better, faster decisions — from the storefront to the supply chain — and align those decisions with near real-time consumer preferences.

Retail Analytics enables customer centricity by giving retailers insight into data, which improves productivity and increases the depth of customer engagement. Forward looking retailers rely heavily on measurements and key performance indicators via dashboards and scorecards and relying on predictive modeling to make big decisions.

Omnichannel Retailing

“Cross-channel” retailing was the topic of discussion last year or the year before but the mobile Internet that 50% of shoppers are taking with them on their smartphones everywhere they go has blurred any distinguishable lines between retail channels. Consumer mobility has crossed a considerable number throughout the world and looking at the way it is embraced globally, it has become the primary retail touch point.

Most retailers have some serious “channel integration catch-up” to do before they can respectfully call themselves “cross-channel” enterprises. Much less omnichannel retailers are deploying an integrated retail solution which is agile, innovative and scalable. Such a solution is their primary concern

Mobile technology is forcing change from a channel mentality to a brand mentality, and as it relates to the brand, there’s nothing so important as the consumiVend Mobileer. Generating a user experience that is channel agnostic is the perspective so that the consumers are associated with brand, not a specific channel.

 Store-Level Device Mobility

Mobile technology beholds in the context of enhanced in-store shopping experience. Implementation of this technology in store increases business opportunities for retailers and engages their customers. More and more retailers today are turning to mobile technology at checkout to enhance customer engagement and repeat buyers.

Inside the store, mobile technology has removed physical location as an obstacle to customer centricity. Consider the store-level associate who, using an ipad, can check inventory on a shoe style and size, at her store or any other in the chain, without leaving the customer’s side. That same associate can use that same device to access the customer’s purchase history, their loyalty status, and, in truly omnichannel environments, their site-browsing history and Web shopping cart. In this way, the associate can assist the customer with the completion of a transaction that started in a different channel. With mobile POS, the customer centric guest experience culminates at an entirely higher level.

Beyond enabling personalized service and transactions, mobility fuels customer centricity by creating on-the floor access to back office and managerial applications such as availability, scheduling, and inventory lookup . Because so many of a store manager’s tasks can be executed with the aid of a tablet or smartphone — as opposed to yesterday’s fixed PC — both the customer and the retailer realize the benefit of new found sales floor access to the retailer’s best salesperson and brand advocate.

Mobile enables customer centricity, whether it’s leveraged in stores for communication (email, voice, planning), productivity (access to managerial reports and task management applications), or customer service (access to customer, product, and inventory data).

iVend Retail Summit – 2013


iVend Retail Summit, 2013 was a resounding success. The partner event which spanned for 3 days had a good mix of sessions covering growth drivers by Kamal Karmakar, CEO CitiXsys Group of Companies and interesting sessions on the new innovations, product trainings, product roadmap for iVend Retail Management Suite and informative sessions on Marketing and Joint Marketing with partners.

iVend Retail Management Suite from CitiXsys has matured from an application to a Retail Platform where the constituent complementary applications of the suite are now available in their individual capacities to be integrated into standard ERP and Accounting applications.

The recent innovations make iVend Retail Management Suite firmly substantiate the organization’s goal of bringing technology innovations to make profitable retailers and happy customers. This was emphatically reflected when CitiXsys announced iVend Passes and iVend Mobile.

iVend Passes is a platform for retailers to deploy Digital Passes on Apple Passbook and Android devices helping retailers stay connected with their customers and enhancing customer experience.

iVend Mobile is a POS on an iOS device or an Android tablet, equally suited for small format retail chains and large format retailers and is used for faster expansion or as a queue buster.

The cornerstone of the sessions was the announcement of CitiXsys Knowledge Portal, which will serve as the central repository of knowledge for all partners, customers and CitiXsys employees to collaborate better. The CitiXsys Knowledge Portal, which immediately got the name CKP was very well appreciated by the partners as the portal aims to provide a single window to address all queries of partners through its comprehensive forums section, knowledge base repository, wikis, marketing collateral, etc.

Breakout sessions on Sales and Consulting were held in parallel. All the sessions whether related to sales or consulting & implementation were extremely interactive and iVend Passeshelped partners not only understand the applications and their positioning better, but also gave them an opportunity to clarify their queries related to consulting.

The consulting & implementation track covered detailed sessions on implementation methodology, product trainings and how can partners effectively utilize the CitiXsys Support Infrastructure to better serve their customers.

The partners also got to understand how CitiXsys can help them better market iVend Retail Management Suite in their respective markets by leveraging the Joint Marketing initiatives of the Marketing Division at CitiXsys.

The session concluded on a “high”, with a commitment to host a similar session early coming year.

Mobile POS – The New Point of Service

Mobile POS - The New Point of Service

iVend Mobile POS, is one of the latest innovations from CitiXsys and forms an important part of the iVend Retail Management Suite. Built to operate on iOS devices and Andriod tablets, iVend Mobile POS suites the retail strategy of retail leaders who adopt innovative retail technologies to make their customers happy.

As an application, iVend Mobile is as relevant to mid-sized retailers who want to expand their retail footprint much faster, as it is to large format retailers who utilize iVend Mobile as a queue buster and also as a tool to optimize expensive real estate space.

The application allows small format retail chains to expand faster and open new outlets by significantly reducing time required to setup an IT infrastructure. This is achieved by iVend Mobile’s ability to directly connect to iVend HO Server. On the other hand, iVend Mobile allows a large format retail chains where a retailer would like to increase the checkout points without compromising on expensive real estate space. In this case iVend Mobile connects to the store server.

This one feature of iVend Mobile gives all retailers an unprecedented leverage for a faster expansion without any compromises.

iVend Mobile will be made available at Apple App Store and Google Play in July 2013 and will get installed on the mobile device like any other App.

The configuration settings which include setup of the peripherals, preferred language, printers, etc. are done on the handheld device.

User can either specify a fixed time during the day when the synchronization is to be executed OR the user can specify the synchronization frequency at which the transactional data from iVend Mobile will get synchronized to the iVend Server.

The transactional data gets synchronized in real time whereas the updates from iVend HO server get synchronized at the defined frequency.

iVend Mobile not only works when the device is connected to the store or the HO server over a WiFi or 3G connection (on line mode) but is also designed to work even when there is no network connectivity (offline mode)Mobile POS

With little to no investments in IT Infrastructure, iVend Mobile turns out to be an extremely affordable solution. The costs associated with procuring and maintaining retail peripherals for terminal POS are far more than those of running mobile POS.

The money value of time saved for the customers by busting queues is an important factor in enhanced customer satisfaction. In addition to the time saved at the checkout counter, a mobile POS gives an opportunity to the store executive to upsell items while interacting with the customers on the floor.

The roaming checkout –Why mobility is the new imperative for Retail?

 Today’s tech savvy shoppers are adopting new mobile technologies at a record-setting pace. The use of wireless devices is multiplying exponentially, with countless app stores and applications springing up to meet the demand.

As customers use Internet-enabled technology to accomplish even more of what they do, these applications and devices have become increasingly personal, anticipating customers’ needs and offering goods and services to meet them. Retailers must keep pace with this rising expectation of on-demand service whenever and wherever desired—including inside the retail establishment.

Mobile POS (Point of Sale) is a readily available solution. Mobile commerce has become increasingly familiar, convenient and secure, with consumers feeling more comfortable making purchases using this option. Big retailers have capitalized on the change—boosting sales and gaining repeat business via transactions on mobile devices.

But there is no reason to limit such sales to Smartphones. With the advent of wireless networks, Mobile POS equipment offers an ideal solution to (1) address poor service and missed sales opportunities resulting from insufficient information about features and promotions at product displays; (2) alleviate customer frustration due to long or slow-moving check-out lines; (3) replace outdated and non-scalable immobile software systems; and (4) avoid lost revenue from reduction in valuable floor space when additional hardware is installed to increase sales points.

Typical features include:

  • User authentication / security
  • Equipped for credit card payments
  • Scan and manual entry capability
  • Access to item details such as inventory
  • Recovery, suspension, cancellation or deletion of transactions
  • On-screen stylus signature

As a portable solution for completing sales transactions and processing returns, Mobile POS makes it possible to add to the number of “cash registers” without multiplying the number of stationary machines. Whenever there are long lines at the registers, portable POS devices can be distributed to store personnel so customers can engage them to make purchases.

Associates scan the customers’ items with the attached UPC (Universal Product Code) scanner, after which customers are able to pay by swiping a credit/debit card along a slot in the same machine. The transaction details are transmitted from the mobile POS to the business’s server using a secured wireless network. The server then communicates with third party agencies such as Visa or Master Card to authorize payment.

Once authorized, information is sent back to the business’s server, which then communicates with the mobile POS to produce a receipt for the transaction. The design of the device allows it to be integrated with legacy POS systems so the store’s data and processing will not be disrupted.

When using the mobile device to process transactions, the payment gateway connections should not be disrupted (they should be as effective as broadband) and location specific mobile payment security guidelines should be strictly followed. That said, it is clear mobile POS represents a positive change with a number of benefits and features to help forward-thinking retailers leverage technology to improve business.

Closely related to a reduction in customer wait time are:

  • Interaction with the store personnel to assist in making shopping decisions
  • Retailer can increase the number of POS without adding new cash registers
  • Can be carried to any location in the store, as needed.
  • Helpful in handling additional volume during peak shopping seasons
  • Keypad will feed in customer information with receipts sent to customer’s mail ID

Mobile technology represents an enormous opportunity to improve store operations and consumer interactions, with mobile POS offering another innovative way to win customer loyalty and gain greater market share by addressing the consumers’ never-ending desire for speed and convenience.

Mexico Calling Retail – Expo Antad begins on 14th March

Expo Antad is an annual event conducted at Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico begins on 14th March and lasts for 3 days to finally conclude on 16th March. The event has exhibitors from reputed corporate production houses and suppliers for retail sector. Each year the attendee list adds up and for past year there were approximately 35,000 representatives and owners for retail chains and associated wholesalers, distributors, international buyers, etc. who attended the show. Expo Antad is a perfect platform to showcase new products and ideas for the Retail fraternity across Mexico which is the Retail hub for South America.

CitiXsys Technologies with its proud partner Interlatin shall be present at booth#2070CC, where company shall showcase their innovative IT solutions for Retail. CitiXsys flagship Solution iVend Retail runs in thousands of stores across 20 countries and is a comprehensive retail management solution to manage Head Office, Stores and POS operations along with iVend Loyalty, Web Storefront, Mobility solution and Retail Analytics shall be on display at the event. A leading SAP gold partner worldwide and Pinnacle award winner, CitiXsys strengthens its foothold in Mexico with its esteemed partner Interlatin, which has brilliant work force to carry out swift implementations and can give prompt local support for SAP and CitiXsys products.
Meet CitiXsys at booth#2070CC to choose from exclusive retail solutions like Loyalty Management, Promotions, Inventory Management, Inventory Planning, Business Intelligence, integration with good backend solution apart from having a great Point of Sale and Store Management.

With iVend Retail management suite, retailers get every aspect of IT needs under one umbrella, meet us at the event or mail us at info@citixsys.com for an exclusive demo.