We live at the time of almost universal use of smart phones and tablets - a technology which isn't going to go away any time soon. Retailers from huge department store chains to the corner shop are working to expand their point-of-sale and marketing technologies to accommodate this growing customer base. Mobile devices will continue to change retail operations and the customer experience for the next future, and even beyond that mobile technology changes will continue to transform retail business. Smart devices narrow the differences between physical shop fronts and online shopping. Users can compare prices and sales, check inventory, find offers, and read product reviews right there in the shop, providing all the benefits of online shopping without the drawback of delivery charges and wait time. More retailers are developing their own apps to help their customers facilitate this new approach to shopping. Mobile payment apps let users simply scan items and go, without the need to wait in checkout lines. As smart device technology continues to evolve, competitive retailers keep up with both tech-savvy customers and enterprising rivals who understand that mobile devices play an important role for today's consumer. Even for those who don't carry such devices, sales associates supplied with mobile phones can provide inventory look up and other product information on an enterprise level to further improve customer experience. They could also take payments from anywhere on the floor. The opportunities are there, regardless of whose hands the smart phone is in. Smart technology helps retailers in other ways. Geolocation apps can guide bargain-hunters to a particular store. Email and texting services can notify subscribed users of sales events, new products, membership discounts, and even provide special offers to encourage shoppers. Retail opportunities are also opening up via the Internet of Things (IoT) - Internet-connected devices than can be managed via smartphones. This might be thermostats or lighting, security cameras, or even refrigerators that send a text when we're low on milk. While it might be premature for retailers to invest heavily in such appliances, as demand rises, prices drop and technology improves to the point where communicating with one's washing machine is normal. Like it or not, smart devices are a fact of life, and savvy retailers will look for a way to use this to their advantage in every way possible. And the customer satisfaction it brings is an important part of good business.
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