Innovative Retail Technologies

MAR 2013

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Special Report dantly clear that the technology is ready. Hardware vendors, "Half the motivation for mobile comes from the desire to application developers, and integrators have developed a follow the lead of Apple in the creation of a better shopping myriad of solutions and seemingly limitless form factors that experience. The other half is rooted in the foundational perform securely to meet the needs of early adopters. But truth that retailing is about tendering sales." He says the the technology and integration challenges met by the fits and majority of the time, the C-suite is so enamored by the starts of first generation mobile application deployment have tablet — the new toy — that the payment "plumbing" and been displaced by a new set of challenges that fall squarely process-oriented aspects of mobile POS become secondary on the shoulders of operations and strategic decision makers. to the evaluation, and he calls that a big mistake. The very In addition to examining our own research and that confirst question that should be addressed when evaluating any ducted by leading analysts, we talked with a number of tablet or mobile device for POS usage, says Fick, is how it experts in the mobile retail solutions space to identify four hot will leverage payment acceptance hardware from companies opportunities for mobile deployment in 2013. These are four like VeriFone and Ingenico to accommodate payment. key areas for measurable mobile differentiation, where wellThe good news is that technology and security concerns have managed device and applilargely been addressed. If you cation deployment enhance want to render POS on an With certainty, using mobile devices operational productivity and iPad and accept payment on bridge the customer-associthe floor in a manner that to do little more than extend the ate mobile divide. However, digital platform into stores is the path satisfies PCI (payment card the common consensus is industry) requirements, you of least resistance. But the path of that while the technology to can certainly do that. What enable these opportunities seems to be lost on corpoleast resistance is also often the path is widely available, retailrate decision makers is that to least impact. ers need to wade into their the realization of the enabling deployment more carefully technology doesn't address than they have to date. As we discuss each application for the physical and operational challenges stores are now strugassociate-level mobile deployment, we'll focus on the operagling with as they roll out these devices. "I'm very excited about tional challenges each presents and offer some advice on tablets and PDAs in stores, and there's an incredible opportunity how to avoid the pitfalls that can deep-six a well-intentioned for us there," says Fick. "However, in all the large deals we're mobile initiative. involved in, mobile POS is being engineered at the corporate level and handed to stores without their input. That's a shortfall." Mobile POS: Putting The Pieces Together At issue are the ergonomics of usage, which drive assoWhile mobile POS applications are perhaps the most ciate acceptance and, ultimately, can make or break the well-publicized mobile initiatives in retail, experts agree deployment. Payment processing companies have come to that they're also the most fraught with operational difmarket with a variety of sleds and attachments designed to ficulty. Brad Fick is president at Direct Source, a large enable the integration of payment card readers with a variretail technology integrator with a broad portfolio of ety of tablets and devices. Some of these card readers are solutions in its arsenal. He's got an in-the-weeds vantage attached directly to the tablet or integrated in the case or point from which to monitor the adoption of mobile retail handle; others are pushing detached or "floating" Bluetooth technologies; his company is a go-to technology integracard readers. Some cases and sleds feature handles for tor for several of the world's largest and most powerful secure manipulation of the device during the transaction; retail brands. That puts him at the table with the big boys others include a tether or wrist strap. from the point of early-stage mobile strategy discussion These seemingly inconsequential features have big implicathrough the architecture and deployment phases. From tions on the important physical process you choose to adopt Fick's point of view — and bear in mind it's his job to sell when it comes time to tender payment. Do you want your this stuff — even some of the biggest retailers are moving associates to hand the PIN pad/signature capture device to a little too fast, especially when it comes to the payment the customer at payment, or are you comfortable allowing aspect of mobile POS. associates to literally hand the entire POS station over to the "It's clear from the discussions we're having with many customer for payment information inputs? What combination of the tier-ones that they simply haven't put as much of card reader and harness/strap/handle will best accommothought into mobile payment as they should," he says. date the chosen approach? Fick estimates the motivation for mobile POS is twofold These up-front decisions will also profoundly impact the and equally divided, but not necessarily equally prioritized. TCO (total cost of ownership) and management of the devic13

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