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Mobile Mobile.. and more Mobile!

OK… is it me, or is the whole world buzzing about mobility these days (when they’re not being depressed about the economy). I’ve been an enthusiast for years, but I think the work we’ve done over the past few years on the store architecture is now seeing fruit, and lots of it! Yes there are POS transactions, now with wireless printing, price checking, inventory etc, and (as Product Manager), I’m getting all this on a mobile FOR FREE (I use the term loosely) when designed for POS, by leveraging the architecture…. but in addition to that is all the new cool devices that are out there, whether it’s the iPhone, iPod Touch (which I’ve just got as a gift, and I love it!), Blackberry Storm, Samsung Instinct or extra capabilities that providers are coming up with now to help consumers and retailers do more in this space.

So now I’m thinking of our own devices in the store, and linking it to my iPod experience, and wanting to have a collection of small apps that ‘do stuff’ . Ideas such as…..

  1. Store planning (a cool application shown to me by Global Bay) where you see a photo of how the shelf fixture should look, and you take a photo of your own and upload it to corporate when you’ve finished your work. Instant compliance and some healthy inter store competition built into one!
  2. KPI data for a manager to see without having to disappear off the sales floor, or even go to a register.
  3. Product data, availability, links to vendors, competitor pricing….
  4. Staffing scheduling, info and availability

On the competitor pricing front, take a look at this link. This is a consumer application, currently on Google’s Android mobile platform, enabling customers to be in your store, scanning your products, and having ‘Shopsavvy’ tell them where the best prices are, whether local stores, or online. We’ll have to vote as to whether this is cool or scary for retailers, I’d say BOTH!

In my future consumer mobile world, I would LOVE to have an app that my favorite stores have written for me, helping me find stuff, know about what I’m buying, order when it’s not in stock etc. Sure, I can do some of this online today, but an app that is something a bit more slick than a browser would be excellent. (alongside Shopsavvy of course. Got to keep the retailer on their toes)

Lastly (and how can I blog without golf or sci-fi?)  I’ve found an excuse to be allowed to use my Blackberry on the golf course! A mobile website, where I can record my golf scores as I go around the course. Now no one will know if I’m working or recording my score! Now if only it would link to a web service that took the stats and integrated it to a site that sold me stuff to cure my slice…

OK… VERY lastly, I clicked ‘Subscribe’ on this blog, selected Google as the method (as I use iGoogle as my home page). Now I’ve got my own blog updates appearing on my own home screen. Is that vanity or cool? OK.. I know the answer… It’s both (again)

Posted by Duncan Taylor, Director of Product Management, Epicor

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