Unlike earlier retail industry disruptors, like the 1970s debut of UPC codes and e-Commerce's growth in the 1990s, the mobile revolution was spearheaded not by retailers but by consumer technology advances. Perhaps that's why customer-facing mobile initiatives continue to soak up so much of the industry's attention.
But for retailers, mobile use cases for their internal staff — store associates, managers and executives higher up in the organization — may ultimately have an even greater impact on these organizations' operations, and their ability to provide a superior customer experience.
Take the often-heard complaint that customers enter brick-and-mortar stores better-informed about products, prices and promotions than the associates themselves. Equipping staff members with mobile devices linked to key internal applications and databases gives retailers the opportunity to do more than just "level the playing field." They can make personalization scalable, move clienteling beyond the precincts of luxury retailers and perform "save the sale" rescues on a regular basis.