While the mobility revolution has opened up new possibilities for retailers to engage with smartphone-wielding shoppers, it has also disrupted long-standing paradigms of how retailers engage with their workforce. The workforce itself has radically different expectations, both of work and technology. Gone are “traditional” notions of loyalty, training, and ten-key data entry. In their place are younger workers more comfortable and agile texting their friends than reading user manuals and calling help desks. To bring both more power to these workers—and better leverage their “native” skillsets—retailers are looking to join their enterprise systems with devices owned and maintained by their workers.
By adopting a thoughtful and measured approach to the mobile workforce, retailers can benefit from the scaling opportunities smartphones offer, while avoiding the perils of over-rapid movement toward an uncharted new future.