Posts tagged MBS Mobility Suite
Sidewalk sales were a staple of retail in the 1970s and ’80s. Seemingly each Saturday, merchants would strategically place select merchandise on tables outside their doors to catch the eye of passing consumers and grab some extra sales. The sidewalk was about enhancing the buying experience for customers and making it convenient for them to buy.
Sidewalk sales also saw merchants lugging bulky point-of-sale systems and cash registers outside, or going back into the store to complete sales. Sidewalk sales may never quite return to their heyday — but if they do, the on-rushing mobile retail revolution will make them a snap.
“Mobility lets retailers work more intimately with customers through the buying experience and respond more quickly to either service issues or sales opportunities,” says Michael English, executive director of product development for Heartland Payment Systems, which offers a solution enabling merchants to swipe and accept card payments through their smartphones.
Mobile technology, in effect, allows the customer to be better served because store personnel “literally become a walking point-of-sale system,” English says.
The development of portable, encrypted point-of-sale readers creates the opportunity for store associates to improve the buying experience by serving customers anywhere in the store.
“During busy times, people will put merchandise down and leave the store when they have to stand around to get waited on,” English says. “The merchant misses a revenue opportunity, and that can leave a negative impression for the consumer.”
Take Advantage of Mobile Technology
College stores can easily offer this option through our suite of mobility products. For instance, the MBS iTouch POS, which combines the transaction speed of the Electronic Payment System application with the intuitive interface of Apple’s iPod Touch, serves as a great line buster during peak selling periods. Allowing employees to open checkout lines wherever space permits, this innovative product ensures you can get students in and out quickly, offering the utmost in convenience.
Similarly, the MBS Event POS allows you to go even further beyond the confines of your store by running a full MBS Point of Service terminal and server wherever you need. That means you can sell merchandise at your football stadium or even a local event with ease, creating an easy and efficient way to increase revenue!
To learn more about either of these exciting products, talk with your MBS Representative!
Ozzie Osbourne and Justin Bieber may have played out the scenario best this past February during their critically-acclaimed Super Bowl commercial: these days, technology changes constantly. From what retailers are observing, the hottest, fastest-moving technology right now is tablet devices.
Though not a phone by standard definition, tablets, like smartphones, have changed the way people across the world access news, shop for services and merchandise, and entertain themselves. Tablets have become so popular, Nielsen reports that 35 percent of surveyed tablet owners who also own a desktop computer admit to using their desktop less often or not at all, and 32 percent of those who also owned laptops used the laptop less often or never since acquiring a tablet. According to a recent LA Times article citing research about the sales of personal computers, PC sales dropped 11 percent in the first quarter of 2011, the largest drop in nearly a decade.
NRF’s digital division, Shop.org, recently released industry research regarding retailers’ use of tablets and how important they are to their business. According to the State of Retailing Online report, tablets account for 21 percent of a retailer’s total mobile traffic. Knowing this, it’s fair to assume retailers are moving at lightning speed to capture the attention of the millions of tablet owners around the world. When it comes to inserting tablets into their daily operations, the survey also found 30 percent of respondents said a main objective for their mobile platform will be to provide store associates with tablets to improve selling. In fact, Nordstrom just announced plans to put 5,000 mobile checkout devices into workers’ hands at 116 full-line clothing stores by the start of its Anniversary Sale in July.
What lies ahead for tablets is anyone’s guess. Just a few years ago, the thought that small retailers would be utilizing tablets to process credit card payments was inconceivable. Or that Disney Stores and Urban Outfitters would be using iPod Touch devices, like Apple stores do, to ring up customers’ purchases and email them their receipts upon request.
With the popularity of tablets spreading like wildfire, NRF research partner BIGresearch recently dug into the type of people who own them, what they do for a living, how they spend their time, what influences their online purchases most and what on earth they do while using their tablet. The research, conducted for Shop.org and released to member companies, compares tablet owners to smartphone owners and the average adult over 18+. A few astounding highlights are below. View the special report here.
- Nearly one in 10 (9.4%) tablet owners say sponsored links/results greatly influence their purchases when searching online for a product or service. That’s compared to only 4.5 percent of smartphone owners and 3.1 percent of other adults.
- When asked how often they watch the video commercials that companies play before the actual video content, 29.5 percent of tablet owners say they regularly watch the commercial, compared to just 16.9 percent of smartphone owners and 12.3 percent of others.
- After searching online, more than one in five (22.3%) say they blog about it – just 10.9 percent of smartphone owners and 6.3 percent of other adults use blogs to spread the word. Tablet owners are also much more likely to send an email and post it on Facebook or Twitter.
So who are these tablet owners?
- The average age of a tablet owner is 36.8, younger than smartphone owners (39.2) and the average adult (45.3).
- Mostly male (61%)
- Have an average salary of $86,516 – much more than the average $77,570 smartphone owners bring home and $63,696 the average American over 18 makes
- Three in 10 (30.0%) play team sports (compared to 21.2% of smartphone owners and 13.5% of other adults).
Tablets aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Nine in 10 online retailers now have a mobile strategy in place, and 87 percent said they will use tablets to drive revenue and sales to their websites. There’s no doubt tablets will be a standard part of the customer shopping experience in years to come.
Looking to bring the latest technology to your store? Look no further. MBS has several mobile solutions in place to keep you on the cutting-edge.
Our tablet solution, the MBS Mobility Suite, was created as a direct response to the needs and feedback from our customers, providing an ideal option for stores that are constantly on the go.
Combining the powerful MBS POS and Electronic Payment System application used by countless collegiate retailers with the sleek, intuitive interface of Apple’s iPod Touch, the MBS iTouch POS provides another mobile computing solution.
For more information on how to bring tablet technology to your store, talk with your MBS Representative or email us at email@example.com.
In a column for the July 2010 issue of STORES, I wrote about a dual challenge facing retailers post-recession: the need to extend their capabilities while improving efficiencies to control costs.
A third and equally important requirement is customer centricity: the proactive alignment of your offering and operations with consumer trends in general and your customers’ preferences and needs in particular.
To achieve the former, you must consider the macro economic, social and technology factors driving change in your markets. Satisfying the latter means gaining and leveraging knowledge of the people you actually do business with to meet their expectations on personalized terms.
Properly executed, customer-centric strategies can transform service into engagement, information into excitement, satisfaction into inspiration and otherwise passive shoppers into ambassadors for your brand. This may sound like a tall order, but four key enablers will help you fulfill it: cross-channel integration, mobile POS, assortment planning and advanced CRM.
Unify channels to boost sales
No matter where or when customers access your business — and no matter how many channels you have — they expect to be dealing with one enterprise. Impediments caused by siloed policies, systems or inventories will no longer be tolerated, especially when your competitors are so close at hand.
Integrated cross-channel solutions meet this challenge by enabling seamless shopping across all channels. They permit products to be researched and purchased online, then picked up in stores; and they can locate and order products quickly from the best possible location, enterprise-wide. This expands customers’ options while preventing frustrations and delays. For the retailer, it prevents stock-outs from becoming walk-outs or click-aways, streamlines order management and strengthens the brand.
In-store mobile solutions deliver comparable benefits. By allowing your associates to deliver inventory and product information, CRM, transaction services and a range of other functionality while the customer is engaged, handhelds increase productivity, efficiency, satisfaction and sales. Fully equipped, they can eliminate second stops at a central POS. The very presence of handhelds in your store — with associates trained to use them — makes a dramatic statement about your commitment to providing an outstanding customer experience.
Make your merchandise make sense
Another expectation common to most shoppers is the ability to find a fresh selection of relevant merchandise, in-store and online. This is where merchandise and assortment planning solutions truly shine by allowing you to establish ideal merchandise profiles for each market and class of store, and to keep pace with ever-shortened seasons, cycles and trends.
This complex process can only be managed through automation, both for merchandise planning at the chain and store levels across all channels of operation, and for assortment planning, which should leverage visual tools linked to your merchandising data to help you build and view offerings in step with your financials.
Few retailers can compete without using CRM tools to better understand and engage their customers as distinctive groups and individuals. By analyzing customer data and transaction histories, marketers can segment the client base in detail for more effective, targeted promotions; associates can engage customers more personally and professionally to enrich the shopping experience; and customers themselves can benefit from compelling incentives and rewards.
The payoffs can be huge. We know of a national specialty retailer that recently undertook deep-dive customer analyses based on dozens of criteria. Using revised segments, they developed a campaign to re-engage inactive customers that tripled their return on investment relative to previous efforts, as well as a new model for reaching top-tier shoppers that generated their highest campaign returns in years.
Fulfill your brand promise
In today’s economy, your customers’ expectations have been elevated to a higher level than ever before, and meeting those expectations is more critical to your success than ever before. To hit the mark, virtually all of your operations must be planned, developed and executed with your customers in mind. In doing so, you will deliver a retail experience that will consistently delight your customers, distinguish you from your competitors and strengthen your foundation for long-term growth.
Held every spring, the Campus Market Expo (CAMEX) is widely known as the college bookstore retailing industry’s largest tradeshow and educational event. And this year proved to be no exception! Continually looking for ways to further develop our operations, we asked our attendees about their favorite experiences at this year’s event.
This year’s highlights included:
Year after year, our customers continue to appreciate The MBS/UPS ad case and free shipping give-away, allowing them to quickly and easily ship their show materials. With so much provided from vendors in a short period of time, it can be overwhelming to choose between digesting it all at once, and struggling to fit it into luggage.
Those attendees that visit MBS at CAMEX always enjoy eliminating this hassle, by packaging their materials with MBS and shipping it directly to their home or office, free of charge, via UPS. Providing packaging and paying for shipping is just one of the ways MBS enhanced their customers’ experience at the 2011 CAMEX.
Combining innovation and incentives, MBS not only provided attendees with free training sessions on industry important topics, but also the opportunity to incorporate the latest technology into their own business. This year’s drawings featured multiple chances to win either an MBS iTouch Mobile or MBS Mobility Suite each day, sparking even more excitement.
Providing portability, these innovative products empower bookstores to bring checkout to their customers with the convenience of the MBS POS system, wherever they go.
In all, MBS gave away 6 free iTouch terminals to customers who attended our education sessions on Friday and Saturday. The winners included Lorain County Community College, Kirkwood Community College, Portland Community College, Belmont University, SSI Bookstore at West Chester University, and UC-Santa Barbara.
•Systems Enhancements in Textbook Rental
Reassuring our clients we are staying ahead of the industry curve, MBS showcased our systems enhancements to the textbook rental applications at the 2011 CAMEX. Attendees were impressed with the next releases, including the ability to offer rental at the POS. These developments will allow books to be flagged for rental in the
MBS system. Then, at checkout, the system will prompt the cashier to ask the customer if they would like to purchase or rent the textbook. MBS POS also will offer the ability to add customer information at the POS, if that student’s information is not already on-file. Attendees were also excited about the enhanced reporting options for textbook rental in this release, which will provide them with even more detailed information to better manage their program.
We look forward to CAMEX 2012 in Salt Lake City!