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Jones Group equips store associates with iPods to enhance customer service

With an iPod touch in hand, The Jones Group store associates are no longer tied to cash registers, meaning they can get out from behind a register to assist shoppers. Customers can also pay via a credit card and check-out by an associate using an iPod touch device.

“For any retailer looking to connect with today’s consumer, they know the engagement must be an inspiring and friction-less experience,” said Diane Cerulli, director of retail product marketing at Epicor Software Corp., New York. “A huge component of that connection is real-time personalized service, which is what mobile devices provide from the sales floor.

“Associates are able to answer any product question, locate inventory, leverage CRM data and complete the full purchase without ever having to leave their customer,” she said.

“Retailers migrating to mobile devices currently are on – no longer ahead of – the curve and will find customer ties and loyalty strengthen simply by offering a mobile interaction in-store. We anticipate mobile will soon be an everyday expectation from today’s shopper.”

Operational efficiencies
The Jones Group, which represents more than 35 brands including Nine West, Jones New York, Anne Klein and Easy Spirit, is working with Epicor Software Corp. on the iPod touch deployment.

Customers in The Jones Group retail locations who are paying via iPod touch devices can pick up their receipt from a centralized printer in the store.

Epicor’s Mobile Store offering also lets retailers create and complete transactions from anywhere. Associates can also access on-hand inventory and quickly find out-of-stock items to be delivered or picked up without having to leave the customer.

The system is designed to drive operational efficiencies with store personnel able to perform day-to-day inventory management functions such as receiving, shipping and physical inventory processing.

The Mobile Store system can be used on Apple iPad and iPod devices as well Windows mobile devices.

Customer-centric retailing
The mobile POS deployment by The Jones Group is an example of how retailers are using mobility strategically to gain a competitive edge by enhancing their in-store shopping experience to meet the needs and expectation of connected consumers.

The Jones Group is just the latest retailer to leverage mobile POS to enhance store operations and customer service. Other examples include Sephora, Finish Line, Sears and Kmart.

“Today’s multichannel shoppers are always connected and have high expectations, and as customer-centric retailing continues to explode it becomes imperative for retailers to keep their brick-and-mortars in the mix,” Ms. Cerulli said.

“Consumers rely on their mobile devices more and more while considering in-store purchases, and retailers must therefore provide in-store inventory availability as well as offer same promotions and loyalty rewards across channels,” she said.

“All of these will drive traffic to stores, save what could have been a lost sale and nurture brand affinity.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York