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How to Test the Efficacy of Your Omni-Channel – BlueFletch Uses Optiko to Power Retail’s Buy Online, Pickup In-Store

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The “Buy Online Pickup In Store” offering has become a popular addition to most retailer’s omni-channel strategy over the last few years. Flexible fulfillment programs that integrate all three sales channels – online, in-store and mobile apps – can reduce shipping costs for customers and increase overall sales by drawing more shoppers into the store. BOPIS improves customer satisfaction and allows traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to more effectively compete with major online stores.

In an age of Amazon Now/Echo, Alibaba, Mobile Payments and other disruptive retail technologies, customers are demanding and expecting more from brick-and-mortar retailers. Retailers must acknowledge these expectations or risk losing out to the competition. Today’s savvy and busy shoppers want to save two things: time and money. BOPIS as part of a bigger omni-channel strategy can deliver on both.

Strategic advantage of well implementing BOPIS include:

  • More unplanned purchases when shoppers visit the store (40% vs only 25%).
  • Faster delivery.
  • Connecting customer data from online to offline for insights down the road.
  • Larger basket sizes.
  • Higher conversion rates.
  • Sometimes it’s more convenient than waiting for the item to be delivered.
  • Save on shipping costs.
  • Shorter overall time to receipt of an order compared to ordering online.
  • Price matching now ensures the most competitive price.
               Source: Lineapple.com

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A Decade of Experience Yields Designs for the Future, Now

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With over a decade of experience in enterprise mobility, we know what it takes to perform a successful deployment; whether it’s rolling out new applications, installing devices or migrating from the legacy WinCE devices. We’ve worked with most devices, OSs, MDMs and application analytics software out there and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. In the process, we’ve come to know the pains of performing such deployments. We used this hands-on experience and knowledge gained to shape the direction for Optiko, our solution for resolving typical issues in enterprise mobility.

How We Know What We Know

Back in the early 2000s when BlueFletch was just a twinkle in the founding partners’ eye, we all worked at Accenture on a project with the United States Postal Service. They were rolling out their first ever mobile devices — 320,000+ new devices along with custom software, to which we owned the development, rollout and support.  We found that the devices in those early days were slow and WIFI connectivity was unreliable, among other issues.  Despite being successful in that project, we often asked ourselves how we could gain more visibility into the devices in the field.

That one project was the first in over a decade of enterprise mobile experience where gaining visibility into what was happening on the devices, both individually and as a group, would have given our clients tremendous value by way of operational and process efficiency.   Over the next ten years we continued working with clients to realize their mobile enterprise strategies.  Among such clients were several major big box retailers, including The Home Depot, Haverty’s and Floor and Decor. We were brought in to upgrade in-store and warehouse rugged devices on projects ranging from choosing the best device to migrating legacy systems to a new MDM, validating MDM releases, validating hardware and developing and rolling out new applications.  In connection with these rollouts, we were tasked to perform reporting and analytics through tools like Splunk and big data software stacks such as Hadoop Cassandra, SOLR, Elasticsearch among others, both to help operations as well as validate business value for these projects.  

One thing became clear across all projects – insight into what was happening on an actual device and a history of the device behavior, would have saved time, money and headaches — especially in those war rooms where having no visibility into the device history meant finger pointing between the development, support and network infrastructure teams.

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Mobile Devices in Retail Optimize Business Practices and Decrease Costs

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This is part 2 of a 2 part series. We’re looking at how the use of ruggedized devices and mobile technology in retail can increase sales and optimize business processes such as inventory and logistics while decreasing labor costs. In Part 1 of this series we explored how the use of mobile devices in a retail environment increases sales, improves customer service and optimizes customer relationship management (CRM).

It is widely accepted that acquiring a new customer is two to five times more expensive than  retaining an existing one. Delivering a superior customer experience is the key to attracting and retaining customer spending and growing revenue. When customers are serviced swiftly and in a friendly manner, they are more likely to return, thus increasing profits.

mPOS and payment via mobile phones delivers faster service, reducing the amount of time customers spend in checkout lines, resulting in many more happy customers. Associates with mobile devices not only help customers find what they are looking for, but can also provide product and pricing information, encourage add-on sales and manage loyalty programs.

But increased sales and happier customers are only part of what mobile technology can do for retailers. Mobile devices also help execute basic industry functions  such as inventory control, accurate buying, pick up and delivery options and employee management. Retailers must look for a mPOS and retail software solution with apps that integrates with payments, connects in-store and online inventory and provides the ability to manage staff. Read More

How Mobile Devices Increase Retail Sales and Optimize CRM

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This is part 1 of a 2 part series. We’re looking at how the use of ruggedized devices in retail can increase sales and optimize business processes such as inventory and logistics while decreasing equipment expenses.

“Clicks-to-bricks” is a trend that is not going away.

In the early 2000s, many e-commerce sites started to explore the traditional retail experience by opening up pop up shops. This was an excellent way to test a product, location or market without signing onto a long term lease. As an added bonus, they were used as a cool marketing experience that could spark engagement and sometimes go viral.

Pop ups became so popular they were sometimes used as a tool for economic development and art installations.

rack In the past few years, traditional e-commerce operations like Warby Parker, Bonobos and Rent the Runway have gone one step further and opened brick-and-mortar stores. They realized there is still a desire for customers to see, touch and try on goods before committing to a purchase. Harvard Business Review reports brick and mortar retailers still control between 94 percent and 97 percent of total retail sales. And while there’s no denying e-commerce and mobile commerce are here to stay, omni-channel retailing has become the best way for companies to serve their clients.
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Fixing Comcast: Using data to combat shoddy internet

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We used to not have very good internet at our office. But our internet should have been good. Because our company pays Comcast for good internet. Yet, the service we were receiving on a daily basis would oft not allow us to even view emails.

This is the story of how we used data to prove to ourselves, and the world, that the provided internet was indeed… not very good. Not to ruin the ending, but it seems Comcast did something about it… though a new set of problems have creeped up, which are totally their fault.

optiko, business intelligence, data analytics

Developer’s Guide To The Enterprise: Mobile App Support at the End of The Universe

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Mobile enterprise has climbed the summit, literally and figuratively, and can now be found in your local retail store, school or ski resort. I have personally been to Copper Mountain several times, and it is easily my favorite ski resort in the Summit County area. So when I recently stumbled upon an article about how Copper Mountain utilized rugged to empower staff, I was very interested. I was most impressed by the challenges the developers had to face for this mobile deployment: extreme temperatures, extreme elevation, rugged terrain and a sheer volume of 10,000 scans per day. In the world of software development, releasing is only half of the journey, and supporting apps in the enterprise realm presents its own unique challenges and opportunities.

Today we are going to discuss how you can make supporting enterprise applications as a developer less frustrating and more productive.

The Humble Crash Log

As any developer knows, a crash log and its accompanying stack trace are one of your best allies. Reviews, user comments, etc are nice, but they are not always very informative sources. A crash, however, gives it to you straight. While crashes can be frustrating when they show up unannounced—especially from an app in production—the crash log’s honesty is what sets it apart from the aforementioned less empirical sources. Being able to log into iTunes Connect, Google Play Store or The Windows Store and fetch these logs is crucial to tracking down and fixing bugs for apps that are deployed to their respective store. However, in the enterprise world, most apps are not deployed to the store which removes the easy access to the crash information that developers need.

itunesconnectgraph

iTunes Connect even provides fancy graphs on your crashes.

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