The Mobile Retailing Blueprint classifies Mobile Retailing Applications into 3 well defined categories:
- Mobile Commerce
- Mobile Operations
- Mobile Marketing
These categories are augmented with very elaborate views of the Mobile Retailing ecosystem which is a must for Retailers to understand.
Mobile Payment Applications are classified under Mobile Commerce, and a good portion of The Blueprint has been devoted to m-Commerce. About 50 pages out of a total of 176 have been used to cover this section, and I feel that it is by far the most comprehensive resource available online for m-Commerce. Readers should definitely have a look at the NFC and electronic receipts sections here.
Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) solutions are covered in the Mobile Operations section based on 3 distinct approaches:
- Extend the POS to employee-operated mobile devices
- Allow self-service on the consumer’s mobile device
- Move the POS entirely to the mobile device
Since Retailers consider their POS to be the most mission critical system for their business, I feel that there is often a great degree of hesitation to replace existing (often, highly customized) systems or make major modifications to their POS. Therefore, extending the POS to employee-operated mobile devices is often looked at with skepticism due to the effort and rigorous testing involved in making sometimes elaborate functionality available on devices. The high proliferation of Tablets and advances in Application Virtualization technologies such as Citrix XenApp, VMWare ThinApp, Novell ZENworks, GraphOn GO-Global and Microsoft App-V which provide clients for tablet devices should be explored by Retailers as a quick and safe passage for their existing touch-capable POS systems to be ported on mobile devices.
My next section shall cover in great depth, the 3rd category of Mobile Marketing, which I believe has progressed the most in the past 6 months.
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