Retail customers are known for using their smartphones in-store to get product information and compare prices. But new research shows employees of retail stores are increasingly using mobile devices on the job, sometimes for the same reasons.
In a survey conducted in September, publishing network Retail TouchPoints found that more than half (56%) of US retailers gave their employees some type of mobile device. Another 17% said they planned to arm staff with such devices in the near future.
Store employees are using the devices for a variety of tasks, the survey found. Over two-thirds (67%) of retailers said personnel used mobile devices to look up product information, while 54% had their workforce turn to gadgets to see if a product was available or gauge inventory levels.
Surprisingly, less than one-third (28%) of retailers are using mobile device-laden employees to process payments. This suggests that many retail stores may want to reconsider their in-store checkout procedures. Companies like Apple and Warby Parker have made waiting in line at a checkout aisle feel like an anachronism by letting wandering sales consultants use a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system to ease the purchase process.
These sorts of increased efficiencies from in-store mobile device use have led to positive sales outcomes for retailers. Retail TouchPoints found that more than four in 10 retailers polled (42%) reported increased upsells and cross-sells as a result of giving their employees mobile devices, while 58% noted increased customer satisfaction levels.