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Rugged Tablet PCs for Mobile Point-of-Sale in Retail Supply Chain

For retailers, mobile computing is quickly becoming the preferred method of enhancing customer interactions at point-of-sale and point-of-service delivery. Using a rugged tablet PC can streamline your entire retail operation, improving efficiency and productivity to save time and money -- on the sales floor and for managing inventory and logistics, too.

rugged tablet pc retail point of sale line bustingA rugged tablet puts the latest mobile technology right in your employees’ hands.

With mobile POS they’re no longer tethered to some artificial – and often inconvenient – location. Salespeople can use their tablet PC to show merchandise to customers. They can  scan barcodes to instantly check inventory, rather than hiking back and forth to the stock room.  

They can use an integrated magnetic strip reader to process purchase transactions right on the spot, reducing dreaded waiting lines during busy times or simply eliminating the need for customers to traverse the store to find a check-out area. Patrons will leave happy, not out of frustration before they even make their purchase.

Going mobile in retail allows you to build better customer relationships by giving your salespeople more time for personal interaction, but you can also improve your back-end processes that customers don’t even see. Using a rugged tablet PC can also support important off-site retail activities such as sales presentations, promotions and merchandising.

But your tablet needs to be rugged.

Consumer-grade equipment just isn’t up to the rigors of a retail environment. You need devices powerful enough to do the computing work and tough enough to withstand the work environment, whether it’s your warehouse, along the supply chain or in your store.

Of course retail transactions can take place indoors or out, so the right tablet might have to stand up to heat or cold, dampness or dust. Even in the most refined environment, tablets can still get bumped or dropped. And you have to clean them frequently, so they look and feel presentable.

The right rugged tablet depends on the job at hand.  

Taking time to contemplate how you work now will help you identify exactly what you need in terms of size, processing power and other performance capabilities, integrated features and battery life. You’ll want to consider:

  • What processes or steps could benefit most from increased automation to make you more efficient.
  • What software applications – and how many – you’ll need to run. This will determine your needs for processing power and data storage.
  • Where and how do your people work. When do they need to use their hands, will their rugged tablet have hands-free capability or a wall-mounted option? Do people work in bright sunlight or low-lighting conditions? Will the tablet get any rest or be used 24/7? If internet access isn’t always reliable, you’ll want a rugged tablet that can cache data, making it accessible as soon as you reconnect.
  • What kind of support or service is required, and will you make do if they’re out of service.
  • Do you need a device management plan that provides physical security for your rugged tablets and also assures privacy and confidentiality of customer or other sensitive data. Consider remote disabling capability to protect data if a tablet is lost or stolen.
Rugged tablets can help you take full advantage of up-to-date mobile computing benefits for every aspect of your retail operation, especially POS and point-of-service interactions, whether you’re managing one small shop or large facilities with multiple POS terminals.

Are you using rugged tablet PC systems in your retail operation? What mobile POS benefits are you achieving? Share your comments with others.

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