14 / M-BANKING RETAIL 15
VERTICAL / 01
transactions is higher and managing cash flows assumes MOBILE IS HERE FOR KEEPS
higher priority than the retail segment. Bank of Montreal With the evolution of mobile devices and explosion of
has just announced the expansion of desk top video wide variety of smart phones and tablets, banks are
conferencing facility from 16 to 51 of its branches across realizing the need for the aligning of mobile banking
US and Canada to provide remote advisory services services in line with the changing consumer demographics.
to its customers in retail, commercial, small business The retail, corporate, small business or the wealth
and wealth management segments. BMO could have management customers are expecting the same level of
achieved nirvana in innovation by offering remote advisory convenience and service from the bank independently of
services leveraging mobile video conferencing on the go the end device being used to contact the bank. To address
and addressed the convenience aspect by removing the the customer needs, banks will need to have a holistic
need of the advisor coming to a branch for advisory services. mobile vision with a concrete list of innovative products
and services. The vision will have to be supported by
ECOMMERCE a cohesive multichannel strategy which addresses the
Mobile payments & transfers have been long viewed as a question of offering the right product to customer on the
clear path for banks to monetize the mobile channel. As right channel. Mobile governance will also play a pivotal
per industry research, the winners and losers in this space role in determining the success of the mobile vision of a
are yet to emerge and hence banks can reap benefits by financial institution to ensure end to end efficiency and
taking a leading position in transforming this landscape. coordination in organization and processes.
Mobile payments can hugely help enhance consumer’s
shopping experiences with dynamic and location based
couponing, discounts, rebates and other incentives.
TO ADDRESS THE CUSTOMER NEEDS,
WIRELESS INCREASES SHOPPERS’
According to research banks are also currently incubating
the idea of leveraging mobile to generate leads for request
for purchase financing based on the geo location capability.
BANKS WILL NEED TO HAVE A HOLISTIC HAPPINESS INDEX
MOBILE VISION WITH A CONCRETE
DISRUPTING NEW MARKETS LIST OF INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS AND
Mobile will be an obvious choice in driving financial
SERVICES. THE VISION WILL HAVE
inclusion programs as the key objective of the program is
to be cost effective without compromising the customer TO BE SUPPORTED BY A COHESIVE Retail organizations are uniquely positioned to benefit from an aggressive
experience in developing economies. This can help banks
increase the size of the banking market with a proposition
MULTICHANNEL STR ATEGY WHICH wireless strategy; a service-provider partner can help make it happen.
to serve the un and under banked segment with an access ADDRESSES THE QUESTION OF
to transaction banking, and savings and credit products.
OFFERING THE RIGHT PRODUCT TO
M-Pesa in Kenya has the led the way, making possible for
the first time person-to person transfers and facilitating CUSTOMER ON THE RIGHT CHANNEL.
international remittances. According to research a striking BY SRINI PALLIA,
51 % of Kenyan adults use this system, making it the most SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & GLOBAL HEAD – RETAIL, CPG, TRANSPORTATION & GOVERNMENT
successful mobile money deployment worldwide.
An upcoming holiday season means the retail experience That means retailers have to be able to adapt quickly, to
is on everyone’s minds—especially retailers. Margins change at a moment’s notice based on market conditions
are razor thin, and customers are fickle. The difference or shopper behavior. They have to provide service in the
between the right products in the right places, prompt ways their customers want services provided. Yet retailers
service, quick checkout and a poor shopping experience also have to plan for the future in terms of expansion or
may mean the difference between reaping holiday relocation to address a global marketplace.
goodwill and winding up with a lump of coal in your
16 / RETAIL RETAIL / 17
There is one rapidly developing technology that can early-adopting consumers plan to use smartphones may be a regrettable afterthought. On the other hand, LOOK FOR WIRELESS EXPERTISE
support those goals: wireless. Wireless technology can for their Cyber Monday and holiday shopping, and 12% a comprehensive wireless strategy that supports all So, while retailers should be looking to leverage the
be used to address specific retail business problems, intend to use tablet devices. So wireless technology aspects of the retail organization, from mobile shopping, advantages of mobile technology to match customers’
such as long lines or quick price changes. Increasingly, is already an integral part of many consumers’ retail to in-store customer experience, to store operations, to expectations, they should adopt a strategic approach to
the wireless paradigm is the way customers view the experience. Mobile commerce, multi-channel shopping, warehouse or distribution centers, to corporate offices, this technology
shopping experience. Also, mobile technology has the and online coupons are familiar features of today’s tech- can provide advantages for and across all those areas.
ability to enable the entire retail organization enhance driven retail environment. Wireless technology is increasing in sophistication,
Wireless technology addresses buyer’s frustrations business application, and security requirements. A retailer’s
engagement with customers and improve efficiency and That wireless tech-savvy experience includes in-store through reduced wait times for sales, service, and
effectiveness. And wireless infrastructure makes for a in-house IT department may not have the experience and
shopping as well as online. checkout. It also enables retailers to market products expertise needed to execute in this evolving area. That’s
more agile, flexible—and therefore future-oriented— and prices directly to consumers wherever they are in the
retail organization. The consumerization of IT represented by smartphones why a practical approach for retailers in launching a
and tablets has empowered consumers with the ability to store, including in-store displays and kiosks. wireless initiative is to partner with a service provider that
While most retail organizations have experience with compare prices, inventory, and retail service in detail and Also, wireless technology increases worker productivity, can support a wireless strategy from beginning to end—
wireless technology in some portion or capacity, most do on the fly. Retailers need to acknowledge these powerful in the store, in the warehouse, and in the office. And a from architecture to security to centralized managed
not have the overall expertise and experience needed to trends and seek to maximize the advantages they offer. wireless strategy provides retailers with flexibility in terms services to end-user implementations.
embrace and exploit it. Retailers should look to a service of location and infrastructure and enables a reduction in
partner to paint the big picture and lock down the details Wipro’s WirelessPlace is just such an initiative.
WIRELESS ADVANTAGES costs imposed by traditional wired installations. “WirelessPlace provides end-to-end services for the
of a comprehensive and competitive wireless strategy.
Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that search
THE MODERN RETAIL EXPERIENCE engine giant Google is teaming up with MasterCard and WHAT’S THE HOLD UP?
Citigroup to leverage a wireless technology known as If wireless technology is such a boon to retailers, why
Today, technology and shopping go hand-in-hand. It near-field communication (NFC). 2 NFC enables devices
says a great deal about our tech- savvy culture that the aren’t they more ambitious about it? It’s already been
to exchange information wirelessly over short distances. demonstrated that wireless is used in some form in most
most intense shopping day of the holiday season in the With NFC embedded in Google’s Android operating
United States, the day after Thanksgiving—commonly retail organizations. But reticence about a wider, deeper
system, shoppers will be able to use their smartphones to strategy and investment may have several reasons.
referred to as “Black Friday”—is being eclipsed by complete transactions, foregoing the use of credit cards.
“Cyber Monday,” the Monday after the holiday when First, for a vertical segment that operates on such slim
shoppers are back to work and at their desks. According While examples like this show how wireless technology margins, retailers already invest in technology plenty. And
to a new consumer survey of self-identified “active in the retail environment is expanding and accelerating, legacy systems are often hard to move off, and usually
Internet users” by The Ponemon Institute, 67% say wireless is certainly not new in terms of how to improve hard to open up.
their online purchases on Cyber Monday and during this the customer experience. The use of so-called “line
busting” wireless systems to complete transactions Second, retailers are very concerned about security—
holiday season will either exceed in-store purchases or and rightfully so. Early reports about hackers exploiting
stay at the same level.1 individually on the spot is familiar to anyone who
has rented a car. Self-service kiosks are common wireless transaction systems may have spooked a lot of
Even that emerging trend is already evolving. accoutrements from airports to motor vehicle bureaus. retailers. Similarly, retailers are very concerned about
The Ponemon survey indicates that 37% of those performance. Bad wireless architecture may have led to
This demonstrates that, while wireless technology is customer complaints or worse—blocked transactions.
increasingly essential at all levels of retail operation, most
retailers are experienced with wireless solutions in some Finally, and make no mistake, a comprehensive wireless
37 % OF ACTIVE INTERNET USERS form. For instance, retail employees may use walkie- strategy involves considerable investment. And that is not
talkies to communicate with each other within a store something most businesses necessarily want to consider
PLAN TO USE SMARTPHONES FOR in this challenging economic environment.
or throughout a warehouse. Specific retail chains have
THEIR CYBER MONDAY AND HOLIDAY had great success providing wireless hot spots in their Nevertheless, it is because of rapidly evolving media
stores so customers can access the Internet while consumption and online behavior, and because retail
shopping or relaxing. customers are helping drive that shift through their use
~ Ponemon Institute However, these so-called wireless solutions are often ad of mobile devices, that it is imperative that retailers
hoc and standalone. Security and performance issues embrace mobile technology and realize the multiple
benefits it offers.
1. “Mobile Payments & Shopping: Survey Of U.S. Consumers,” The Ponemon Institute, Executive Sum- Mary, Sept. 2011
2. “Google Sets Role In Mobile Payment,” The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2011
18 / RETAIL
While the holidays may not be the best time to embark
on an organizational overhaul— “Most retailers don’t
want to change anything during holiday season,” Esthuri
WIRELESSPLACE PROVIDES admits—it is a good time to judge for yourself just how
END- TO-END SERVICES FOR THE profoundly wireless technology is changing the way
customers want to shop. And therefore the way retailers
WIRELESS INFR ASTRUCTURE, FROM need to service those customers.
ARCHITECTING TO THE MANAGED
A MOMENTOUS TIME IN THE MARKET
Most retailers are aware of the advantages of wireless
~ Mahesh Esthuri, Wipro technology, and how some com- panies have had success
with wireless in some particular instances. However, the
time for experimenting is over. Tech-savvy consumers
are demanding retail service experiences that are best
accommodated with wireless systems.
wireless infrastructure, from the architecting into the To truly exploit its advantages, wireless technology
managed services,” says Mahesh Esthuri, head of should be an integral part of the entire retail organization,
verticalization for Wipro’s RCTG Unit. stretching from distribution center to warehouse to back
office to retail outlet. The most logical way to jumpstart
By offering in-house expertise and leveraging alliances such an ambitious wireless strategy is to partner with a
with major networking players and product developers, knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy services
WirelessPlace can provide wireless services that integrate provider. Wipro, with its new WirelessPlace initiative
all the elements of a modern retail operation. That means arriving at such a momentous time in the retail market, is
wireless technology can be used to track inventory in real just such a partner.
time, from warehouse to POS system, and between and
among employees in those areas. Because WirelessPlace
is a centralized management service, it allays fears
of security and performance problems. And since
WirelessPlace starts at the beginning—the architecture—
it offers future-oriented wireless strategy that helps
address rapid shifts in markets, customers, geography,
and real estate.
“We have alliances with the major players, for devices,
and for licenses of the tools,” Esthuri points outs. “Also
we have a proof-of-concept center where we test before
we provide these services.”
Esthuri is not hesitant about the investment involved for
retailers when embarking on a comprehensive wireless
strategy. Esthuri recommends that retailers look to align
their technology refresh cycle in concert with adopting
the WirelessPlace initiative. They can also take it one step
at a time. “It can be architected, then implemented, and
managed, all in separate cycles,” he says. “Security works
as a separate service.”