If you’re in that camp, there’s a fantastic opportunity for you. It’s a chance to provide your customers with a lot of value and help them succeed in their businesses so they stand apart from the majority of other “me too” solution providers. The opportunity? Mobile apps that your customers’ customers can use to have a better, more engaging experience. Here are a few examples.
Mobile apps go mainstream
Today, companies like Panera and Starbucks allow customers to use their smartphones to order, pay and pick up their orders without interacting with an employee. Hotels, such as Marriott, provide apps that let guests check in and pick up a key card at a mobile check-in desk. The app notifies guests when their room is ready. Some hotels even go so far as to let guests use their phone as a room key. Some restaurants are using Wi-Fi and NFC geofencing to automatically queue up takeout orders when the customer enters the store.
Examples such as these are becoming more common, and not just with large organizations. Today, the technology is accessible to even your smallest customers. That said, to put together such solutions, you’re going to have to test your integration chops.
Test your integration skills
To create mobile apps for retail, restaurant and hospitality, you’ll be required to bring together the right hardware and software partners and integrate loyalty components with the POS software and CRM. You’ll have to tie in printers, kiosks, digital signage, beacons and more.
Your biggest challenge will probably be creating the mobile app itself. While you can do this on your own, assuming you have programming expertise, your best bet is to partner with an app developer who specializes in these types of solutions.
Additionally, you’ll need to be, or get, proficient with Wi-Fi access points. Thorough site surveys are required to ensure that signals are strong enough and there’s no interference. You should implement purpose-built wireless technology that makes it easy for guests to join and provides analytics and purpose-built features necessary for in-store app use.
If this sounds complex, it’s because it is. You’ll have a longer sales cycle, and, unlike traditional installs of the past, you can’t just sell the solution and walk away. There will be a lot of testing and beta trials to perform with customers.
Mobile apps pay off
However, all that complexity means higher margin and higher profitability. Testing and beta trials will give you an opportunity to get closer to your customers to understand their business and challenges.
Of course, you can always fill any knowledge gaps by working with Ingram Micro. With a line card that includes all the necessary hardware and software, the necessary connections to app developers, professional services to help you build and install the solution, and on-staff experts such as Tom Jones, you can start selling these solutions tomorrow.