Did you know mobile devices have become the primary way that customers interact with retailers? For instance, during Black Friday 2016, more than half of visits to retail websites took place on mobile devices. More and more retail customers begin the shopping journey on a mobile device before they complete their in-store purchase.
In the same way mobile devices are transforming the shopping experience for customers, they can also transform your retail store’s operations. Here are seven ways mobile devices can help you build and run a better, more successful store:
1. Create more knowledgeable salespeople
Shoppers say smart recommendations are among the factors they value most when visiting a physical store. But given the high employee turnover typical in the retail industry, it can be a challenge to maintain a well-informed staff—especially during busy seasons when you may have temporary workers on your team. Providing salespeople with mobile devices such as the Surface Pro 4 levels the playing field by giving even the newest salesperson immediate access to detailed product information.
2. Make your team more efficient
When your salespeople are armed with mobile devices and you use Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail, your sales team can quickly check inventory and stock levels without leaving the customer’s side. Less time running back and forth to the stockroom means more time on the floor helping customers.
3. Provide customized service
When you combine the Surface Pro 4 with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail, your sales associates have both customer information and merchandise information at their fingertips. They can instantly see a customer’s purchasing history and make relevant recommendations for products based on the customer’s preferences and available options. For example, appliance, decorative plumbing, and outdoor brands retailer Pirch uses Surface in its showrooms to show customers various options and to customize orders on the sales floor.
4. Maximize your budget
Small retailers need to keep an eye on their bottom line to stay profitable. The Surface Pro 4 combines the flexibility of a tablet with the power of a laptop so that you get more for your money. Use it on the sales floor to look up information or display products. When you head to the back office to work on spreadsheets or handle administrative tasks, simply snap on the Type Cover to use the Surface Pro 4 as a laptop.
5. Minimize the learning curve
All Surface devices run the latest version of Microsoft Office. That means you and your team don’t have to learn a whole new way of working—you can just use the familiar Microsoft apps you already know and love.
6. Simplify scheduling and reduce tardiness and absenteeism
When your employees don’t have a desk or computer of their own, you have to rely on old-fashioned scheduling techniques such as printing out paper schedules or posting information on whiteboards. Requiring workers to physically come into the store or call in to confirm their shifts is a waste of time. Microsoft StaffHub makes it easy for managers to create, update, and manage shift schedules. Better yet, salespeople can use their smartphones to see all their shift information, which is updated in real time so it’s always accurate. They can even trade shifts with other employees using the Microsoft StaffHub mobile app.
7. Improve communication with your team
Beyond scheduling, Microsoft StaffHub lets store managers instantly share important information, such as news or policy changes, with employees through the mobile app. You and your employees can also communicate directly through the mobile app so you can alert employees to urgent situations on the store floor.
This article originally appeared on allBusiness.