I am reproducing snippets from an article that appeared in NPR’s All Tech Considered.
No More ‘Clunky’ Cash Registers
The women’s shoe department at Nordstrom’s flagship store in Seattle is bustling. Shoppers are trying on everything from stilettos to rain boots — and when they’re ready to buy, they can pay up right where they are.
The sales associate simply whips out a modified iPod Touch and scans the shoe box’s bar code. The handheld device contains a credit card reader, too, so the customer can just hand over the plastic and sign with a fingertip. There’s no trek to the cash register and no line to wait in.
At department stores like Nordstrom and at other traditional retailers, mobile devices are slowly beginning to supplement, and even replace, other methods of payment. In many cases, buying something is becoming more efficient and more personal.
Yet another change under way relates to something you see all the time: the practice known as “showrooming.” Increasingly, customers with smartphones are checking out products and competitors’ prices online as they roam the aisles of brick-and-mortar stores. And by 2016, Deloitte projects, roughly one in five consumers will be using their smartphones in precisely that way.
My Personal Take – What About Training?
I had a ring side view of how these devices are being used in stores like Nordstrom. The biggest challenge that stores are facing is reliable WiFi. It’s quite frustrating when the transaction goes on a “wait” mode as the app waits for connection. While the marketing and merchandising departments are taking the lead in pushing enterprise content to mobile devices, the training departments in retail chains are still confined to the classrooms and the back-rooms. There are unresolved questions pertaining to making mobile devices available for training, BYOD model, creating training content for mobile devices, tracking content usage, and ROI.