Category Archives: Retail

For what purposes can retail delivery companies leverage mobile apps?

Retail delivery: 3 use cases for mobile workflow apps

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The retail industry is currently going through many changes, as stores realize that customers matter more than ever, and delivery and logistics firms recognize that they play a large role in client satisfaction. Add in mobility, and retail sectors are set for a revival – one in which these businesses revolutionize the way they merchandise products, conduct administrative tasks and collect consumer feedback.

However, it all starts with the way that brands use mobile devices. Standard app store tools just won’t deliver the results that these businesses need to truly reinvent processes and structures. So, many retail delivery firms turn to mobile workflow apps that they can personalize and modify based on use case, user and corporate demand.

But for what purposes can these brands leverage mobile apps? Let’s take a look at three specific use cases of mobile workflow solutions in retailing and delivery.

Shop visit

Shop visit apps are for businesses delivering their products and goods to retailers. Specifically, this category of use case breaks down into two solutions: merchandising apps and ordering apps. Employees can quickly and easily switch between both if requirements call for it, but the events of these apps are universal.

“Mobile workflow apps cut administrative and delivery errors.”

Merchandising apps allow managers and supervisors to read product surveys, configure displays and determine placements for products based on guidelines provided by headquarters. Ordering apps are more simple, giving retail delivery staff the ability to order more items directly from the shop floor, sending data back to SAP systems. With these two mobile workflow solutions, brands can reduce order cycle times, sell more items, and cut administrative and delivery errors.

Time sheet and cost administration

Mobile applications for time sheets and administration are critical for businesses with a majority of their employees on the road all day. With a mobile solution for these needs, staff members can clock in and out, as well as detail how far they have driven, how much fuel has been used and how many sales people they interacted with. In addition, Mobilengine’s time sheet and cost administration apps record locations and times, ensuring accuracy.

These mobile workflow solutions cut costs in administration and reduce the amount of work for employees and headquarters. – less manual entry and more automatic accountability.

Score card

With sales representatives on the road, how can a business record its performance? With a mobile score card app. These mobile workflow solutions are perfect for collecting feedback and motivating employees to make more sales. They can record sales statistics and send them back to headquarters, ensuring that everyone is aware of sales representatives’ strengths, weaknesses and developments.

Simply put, score card apps will help managers improve the performance of their salespeople, allowing them to track successes and failures without requiring employees to check back into headquarters.

The three use cases list above are really only a few of the many ways that retail delivery companies can improve their business from the bottom up with mobile workflow apps from Mobilengine. These firms should discover what they need mobile apps for and work with Mobilengine to create the ultimate solution from the ground up.

Adam Dalnoki, Mobilengine’s CEO, brings IT and telecommunications expertise as an ex BCG consultant. He made a previous exit in a mobile payment start up and has held sales executive positions at Provimi and Kraft Foods.

The problem in retail mobility is that designing user experience for business-to-employee apps is much different than creating a consumer mobile app, but merchants don't understand this.

Retail mobility and developing employee-facing mobile apps

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Retailers know that they need to provide consumers with a mobile app in order to improve the customer experience. After all, with everyone armed with a mobile device, it seems foolish to not make brand interactions easier, more intuitive and uniquely engaging. Businesses clearly know how to create a great mobile app and meet end users’ needs with designs geared toward improving the user experience, but when applying these ideals to employee-facing mobile workflow apps, retailers often fall short.

According to an article written by Kyle Hodgson, principal consultant and software developer at ThoughtWorks Canada for Sandhill, the problem in retail mobility is that designing a good user experience for business-to-employee apps is much different than creating a consumer mobile app. The source explained that merchants need to think more long term when creating mobile workflow apps for their staff members. Therefore, retailers should consider mobile app development platforms, as these meet the three demands for long-term app use.

“Retailers need a mobile app development platform that scales over time.”

The need for scale

Instead of merely meeting immediate needs by throwing together mobile apps as department heads and executives demand them, retailers need to be proactive in choosing a mobile app development platform that scales over time. This way, merchants will have a stable environment and workflow framework that enables their IT teams to quickly create a solution for every task.

Mobile development platforms provide those capabilities, and cloud-based offerings will enable retailers to develop mobile workflow apps for every situation without draining financial resources. With a framework for creating a variety of workflow apps and support from the cloud, retailers can ostensibly design and deploy everything from timesheet and worksheet apps to order management and invoice preparation programs to store check apps, warehouse stock data apps and anything in between.

Develop with speed

Retailers cannot simply develop a large collection of apps without investing either time or money into the process. While an MADP helps keep costs low, merchants need to create mobile workflow apps quickly in order to address small problems before they become huge issues. This is where rapid development platforms help.

When developing for a consumer, retailers can take their time to make the app as interactive as possible and feature-rich, but employees don’t need bells and whistles, they need a solution to their problems today, not tomorrow. MADPs ensure that merchants have a mobile workflow app as soon as possible, and from that point, IT teams can quickly address any other issues that appear over time. For example, a retailer might only need order management or merchandising apps at the start, but when they look to ship items or sell products on the road, a mileage recording app will be essential. The company simply won’t have time to create an app that quickly without an MADP such as Mobilengine.

Using a tablet to monitor invoicing and orders will make employees more productive.Using a tablet to monitor invoicing and orders will make employees more productive.

Design for usability

The user experience plays just as large as a role in business-to-employee apps as it does in consumer-facing mobile solutions. The main difference in development, however, comes in designing the mobile app for the workflow. Developer Tech reported that user interfaces and employee mobile app experiences are just as important as functional requirements, so apps need to be built natively with mobile device capabilities in mind.

Furthermore, the source cited a study conducted by Avanade that found 86 percent of companies agree that good user interfaces are “essential to productivity.” By focusing on what data is required and what steps need to be taken, a mobile workflow app’s interface will be easy to manage, ensuring that employees can always get work done. This means having distribution apps with clear organization and the ability to simply discover data, or providing out of stock management apps that allow staff members to record missing inventory quickly and easily.

Whether retailers need timesheet and order management apps or sales teams need customer visit reporting apps, these businesses should always think in the long term. They need a platform that can support a wealth of mobile workflow solutions as well as systems that can handle scalability. Armed with those tools and resources, retailers and sales professionals can solve their mobility problems.

Adam Dalnoki, Mobilengine’s CEO, brings IT and telecommunications expertise as an ex BCG consultant. He made a previous exit in a mobile payment start up and has held sales executive positions at Provimi and Kraft Foods.

Now is a better time than ever to start deploying new and improved mobile workflow apps for your field sales teams.

Do’s and don’ts of field sales mobility

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Some industries are just perfect for enterprise mobility, and field sales is a great example of this. After all, these companies rely on a mobile workforce day in and day out. While some sales professionals travel in local communities, others must traverse borders. Regardless of either situation, these individuals need to remain in contact with headquarters, and in the modern era, phone calls aren’t the only form of interaction. Nowadays, sales professionals need access to customer relationship management software and enterprise resource planning systems, as well as timesheets, task lists and invoicing platforms.

The good news is that organizations with field sales teams have been using smartphones for years. However, these companies merely adopted mobility due to employee demand, when they should be tackling mobility as a challenge to increase sales, revenue and the success of the business as a whole.

Now is a better time than ever to start deploying new and improved mobile workflow apps. So, here are some do’s and don’ts of enterprise mobility in field sales….

Marketer Leah Kinthaert has over ten years of expertise in bringing both overseas-based and early-stage start-up companies to the next level.

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