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Back in the old days, retail was different.  Just think about how shopping has radically transformed in the past 20 years due to the introduction and increasing prevalence of the Internet, smartphones and tablets.  For a better picture, I shall present a couple of scenarios that showcase the difference between retail, then and now.

Where You Shop

Then: You only shop in the brick-and-mortar store…because there is only a brick-and-mortar store.

Now:  You shop in the brick-and-mortar store, online store and through the mobile app.  Last week you purchased a hat online, tried it on, hated it and returned it to a nearby store location. Multichannel at its best!

Checkouts

Then: It’s 10 minutes till closing, you have 1 item to purchase but 5 people in front of you until the checkout counter. Maybe you should come back tomorrow.

Now:  A nice sales rep armed with a mobile device or smartphone pulls you out of line and asks, “Is this all you have for purchase today?”  You nod, yes.  She uses her mobile to scan the item, enters your credit card info in the smartphone for payment and off you go!  How’s that for a mobile-enabled employee?

Coupons

Then: Mom gets the Sunday paper every week and proceeds to spend a whole afternoon, clipping and organizing her coupons.  She then hauls her giant coupon folio to the grocery store and spends minutes looking for “the perfect coupon” for each item, while we twiddle our thumbs.

Now: Mom gets highly targeted mobile coupons sent straight to her iPhone. Grocery shopping is a cinch.  No heavy-duty coupon folio necessary!

Returns

Then: Oops! You lost your receipt. Guess you won’t be returning that deluxe Cornish hen roaster after all!

Now: No paper receipt? No problem! Your receipt has been saved to your online profile, accessible through the mobile shopping app.  A PDF version has also been emailed to you after your initial purchase.  Bring either version and you’ll get reimbursed, right away.

Rain Checks

Then: Your favorite face cream is on sale this week, but when you get there, you realize- GASP- it’s sold out!  You hurry over to the customer service counter to grab a rain check.  You return day after day, hoping they’ve restocked, and that you can still purchase the cream at the sale price.

Now: You get a mobile rain check for the face cream. When it becomes back in stock, the store sends you a nice mobile alert.  Your face feels very hydrated.

These are just a couple examples of the differences between shopping in the past versus present.  Think your organization’s retail experience is more like the “then” than the “now”?  Don’t worry—SAP has mobile solutions that can bring the innovations highlighted here to your company.  To learn more about SAP’s mobile offerings, please visit: http://www.sybase.com/mobilize

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