Brick and Mortar Meets Mobile: Combining the Best of Both Worlds

A mobile device management solution enables retailers to maintain the details of every device, schedule out-of-the-box inventory reports and have them delivered to your inbox

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By Achuthan Ramesh

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Retail was one of the first sectors to join the mobile-only/mobile-first bandwagon and it seems to have paid off as today nearly three-fourths of consumers prefer self-service. One of the major advantages of self-service is that it is a one-time setup and requires minimal human intervention. Self-service is also relatively inexpensive and reduces labour costs for retailers.

However, enterprises are still wary of migrating to mobile platforms completely, as self-service and other services like the point of sale (POS) require specialized devices built specifically to suit the challenges of the retail industry. With the advent of mPOS (mobile POS), one can simply transform mobile devices into these specialized devices thereby saving time and money for enterprises in the process.

"With great power comes great responsibility," said Uncle Ben from Spider-Man. Barring the fictional allusion here, the rule holds true even for mobile devices which possess great power, and with that comes a greater responsibility for retailers to ensure hassle-free operations.

Here are a few common scenarios in the retail sector where a mobile management solution can help the enterprise in self-service, POS, and other specialized tasks:

Scenario #1: Mobile Devices for POS and Digital Signage Through App Lock

One of the most common issues is device users accidentally modifying settings, and if given the full control over the device, disrupting the operations.

So, it is important to find a way to lock a device for a single app or set of apps and preconfigure the settings to prevent them from being modified. An app lock can help retailers predefine the app(s) to be locked on the device and prevent users from accessing any other apps. Retailers can also disable physical buttons, such as volume rockers and the home button, ensuring that the device is never muted or locked.

Scenario#2: Helps in Branding Corporate Devices

An enterprise's logo on the device's lock screen and home screen serve as a way of branding. This can be set up easily on the device. However, there are also ways it can be easily modified or removed. Using mobile device management solutions, organizations can configure a wallpaper policy that is set for both the home screen and the lock screen to avoid any modification by the user.

Scenario#3: Easier Access to Web Apps

In most organizations, employees still carry out a major portion of their work on web apps. Web apps require browsers to function, which poses a major complication. With the advent of VPN, proxies, URL redirection, etc., it is virtually impossible to control what employees view using a browser. IT, however, still needs to prevent employees from accessing unapproved sites.

To solve this, enterprises should define their web apps as mobile apps, which can then be opened using a browser. Additionally, they can even enable the owner to restrict browser functionalities, ensuring that only web apps can be accessed using web browsers.

Scenario#4: Asset Tagging Helps in Obtaining Device Information

In many retail shops, the mobile devices used are usually of the same model and even the same colour. What's the problem, you ask? The problem occurs when the company tries to audit the devices to update their inventory data.

Assuming the devices are in a kiosk, there's no way one can access basic device information without pausing kiosk, which impacts productivity. A mobile device management solution enables retailers to maintain the details of every device, schedule out-of-the-box inventory reports and have them delivered to your inbox. For physical inspections of devices, asset tagging enables retailers to display basic information on the device lock screen, simplifying the process further.

Scenario#5: Preventing Devices From Being Lost or Stolen and Avoiding Data Theft

Geo-fencing automatically executes security commands if the device ever leaves a pre-defined virtual geographical range. For example, if you define the office premises as a geofence, any device that leaves the premises can be automatically locked, an IT admin can be notified, and the device's data can be wiped. In the event of a lost device, Lost Mode ensures that the lost devices are rendered inoperable to prevent any unauthorized usage.

Achuthan Ramesh

Marketing Analyst, ManageEngine

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