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Alex and Ani cut in-store queues via mobile POS

This is Alex and Ani’s first endeavor into mobile. Alex and Ani is working with Mobiquity on the initiative.

“The strategy is to create a streamlined, secure, efficient checkout process for our customers,” said Joe Lezon, chief technology officer at Alex and Ani, Cranston, RI.

“This translates to a much better customer experience as the customers deal with a single Bangle Bartender for the entire transaction life cycle,” he said. “Also, the mobile device will eventually lead to the elimination of the laptop-based POS system currently in our retail locations.”

Alex and Ani makes eco-friendly products such as bracelets, necklaces and earrings. The company has both its own stores and retail partners.

Streamlined service
The technology is being rolled out at 18 Alex and Ani stores in the United States with 150 iPod touch devices.

The mobile POS is designed to arm store associates with tools to create a closer one-on-one relationship with shoppers.

The mobile payment option lets associates swipe credit cards and scan bar codes. Additionally, the devices allow associates to print receipts and send content via email to shoppers.

With the holiday season in full swing, retailers are increasingly using mobile POS this year to both line bust and build a one-on-one relationship with shoppers in-store.

For instance, retailers can use mobile POS to check in-store inventory, recommend additional products and place online orders while the brand is top-of-mind for consumers in-store.

“Mobile POS has multiple benefits for retailers, including checkout efficiencies, greater customer engagement and improved service and flexible store design,” said Eugene Signorini, vice president of mobile insights at Mobiquity, Wellesley, MA.

“For many retailers, mobile POS is a complement to traditional POS, and currently you’ll see associates equipped with mobile devices along with staffed registers,” he said. “However, over time retailers can become increasingly or completely reliant on mobile POS, which allows them to re-think store design and the overall customer experience in the retail environment. It can allow greater flexibility, particularly to change store layouts when needed.”

Gearing up
For smaller retailers such as Alex and Ani, mobile POS can be a great way to create a competitive advantage for holiday sales at this time of year.

Based on strong results so far this year, consumers are using their mobile devices more this holiday season.

For example, PayPal claims that mobile payment volume nearly tripled on Cyber Monday. Additionally, mobile transactions increased 193 percent year-over-year this holiday season on Black Friday (see story).

From researching, buying and rating products, mobile devices have become a consumer’s most-prized tool for shopping.

Therefore, consumers are increasingly expecting via mobile inside their favorite stores.

“Mobile POS will only continue to grow, with advances in both mobile device technology and mobile payment options,” Mr. Signorini said.

“Mobile POS can evolve from where it is today, which is largely swiping credit cards, to incorporating mobile payment methods such as QR codes,” he said. “Expect mobile POS solutions and applications to incorporate greater analytics capabilities for retailers and associates, and integrate with customer loyalty programs and marketing campaigns.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York