Incorporating Mobile Devices Into Your Operations

By David Mostovoy

This is Part 1 of a 3-Part series about what convenience store, restaurant, and retail operators should start thinking about when planning for the New Year. Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 coming in the next couple of weeks!

A big topic for 2018 will be mobile- and not just utilizing it for consumer-facing applications, but it’s possible implications for the enterprise.

As Carl Elliott, director of Nielsen’s channel segment, points out, convenience is inherently mobile. The convenience store occasion is mobile, as it appeals to traveling or commuting customers, and more retailers are tapping into mobile platforms – from their own branded apps to social media ads, in order to reach on-the-go-customers.

Also, mobile usage is peaking. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last year, more than 80% of American households have at least one smartphone. That’s why the time to tap into mobile couldn’t be better.

But don’t forget about a certain group of people who are at your stores every day. They know all of your new products and promotions, and they all have smartphones. That group, of course, are your own store managers and associates. In their personal use, store employees may be tapping into payroll, scheduling/shift bidding, benefits and training. But mobile is poised to have a larger impact on day-to-day corporate operations as well- anything from task management to audit and compliance, to incident management and training.

Until recently, there was somewhat of a digital divide between consumer-facing, easy-to-use apps and clunky operations software with managerial spreadsheets and charts. Store-level associates, your eyes and ears in the field, were lost in the great void. Thankfully, the evolution of mobile technology is bridging the gap.

The user experience that we have become accustomed to in consumer applications is slowly making its way to the enterprise. Easy-to-use, intuitive mobile applications for the enterprise are starting to pop, and they’re changing the landscape of enterprise operations, convenience stores included.

Zenput helps c-store operators assign, track, and analyze field and store-level work like food safety audits, opening/closing checklists, and forecourt evaluations. Top-level managers can analyze data and pictures gathered by their field and store-level employees on mobile devices, gaining unprecedented insights into their stores. Form submissions are geotagged, and the data is updated in real-time, giving senior managers instant visibility into their stores and allowing them to quickly make key decisions about their operations.

Here’s an example of a Retail Merchandise Planning Form.

As you begin planning for 2018, keep this in mind: mobile is coming to enterprise. Being prepared for this will put you one step ahead of your competition.

Interested to learn how c-store operators are using Zenput’s mobile technology to gain insights into their stores? Learn more by scheduling a demo today.

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