Bloomingdales mobile POS enables customer connections

Litchfield Park, AZ—At Bloomingdales (NYSE:M), mobile POS devices are freeing sales associates from being tethered to a register and enabling closer connections with customers.

In addition to tablets in fitting rooms there are also mobile devices on the sales floor in select departments, or "major families of business," including handbags, shoes and select home products, said Jessica Karr, manager of mobile enhancements.

"The big push this year has been to merge selling tools with customer expectations," Karr told attendees at the Mobile Shopping Summit.

Store associates are using mobile devices to build profiles and communicate directly with their customers. They are encouraged to reach out to shoppers digitally, via text messages, to let them know when new items have arrived or something of interest is in the store.

SMS helps to create an immediacy and sense of urgency, spurring shoppers to come into the store. Getting shoppers into the store is certainly important in that it grows incremental sales, but it also brings them into a more personal environment. "The associates add value," said Karr. "Making it a two-way conversation on all touch points is important."

One of the challenges—for Bloomingdales and other traditional retailers—also lies with those same sales associates. Some embrace the technology but others are not as quick to adapt, seeing mobile and online as a threat to the existing way of doing business.

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