There are many, many benefits of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Knowing about these advantages, many types of industries have allowed BYOD and have adopted appropriate policies. Major players in the retail industry have allowed employees to bring their own devices.
Declining Sales in Retail Stores and Benefits of Mobile Devices and BYOD
With the advent of eCommerce and the comfort of online shopping, the retail industry is suffering from a drastic decrease in sales. Consumers have to be persistently induced and tempted to make them visit retail stores physically in person. Unless there is some really compelling reason, why would anybody spend precious time to visit a retail store when the same purchase/ shopping could be done from the comfort of home or office environment. Further, it saves plenty of time, which has become more precious. The competition in eCommerce and the savings gained in not having to physically maintain showrooms or sales outlets has made online product offerings cheaper than that offered in retail stores.
In order to survive, the retail industry has to make consumers visit their showrooms, sales outlets. However, being internet savvy, consumers are rather skeptical about information provided by store sales associates. They rather rely more on product data that can be accessed from the product websites. To make sales associates better at their jobs, increase their efficiency and productivity, they could be provided mobile devices – laptops, tablets, phablets, smartphones – which would enable them to better explain about a product to customers. Employees could also be allowed to Bring Their Own Devices (BYOD). If the mobile device is networked to the company’s server, then the sales associates would be able to access product information and deliver accurate information to consumers. Further, it would prevent sales associates from providing wrong information due to confusion which could arise due to products with similar features.
When BYOD Comes Into Play
Picturize the scenario. A consumer walks into store and seems interested in certain electronic products – say smartphones. The sales associate approaches the consumer and volunteers information. And we know that there are so many, so many smartphone models having numerous specifications and features. And there are many variants of each model. Remembering all of the features, advantages, price, product comparisons, price comparisons, special offers, etc…, is a daunting task. Now, with the mobile device networked to the server, the sales associate will be able to easily provide accurate information and details as demanded by the consumer. And when the sales conclude, the billing could also be initiated from the same mobile device. Furthermore, if inventory management has been integrated into the retail system, the sales associate will immediately know about the stock availability and know what product to sell, or share the availability details with the consumer.
Benefits of BYOD Policy
In the scenario discussed above, the devices used by the sales associates could have been provided by the retail industry or it could have been employee-owned – (BYOD). BYOD has both advantages and disadvantages.
Company provided devices – the applications, and security of the device have to be better monitored. However, this means more investment in the purchase and maintenance of the devices by the retail industry. BYOD devices – It has been observed that employees use smartphones to stay connected and be informed. And they are not happy when they are not allowed to access their mobile devices. Allowing employees to bring and access their mobile devices (BYOD) during working hours keeps them happy. This can be turned into an advantage by retail organizations. When work requirements are made through email or other communication method, employees have been found to respond to work demands faster. BYOD hence helps work get done faster.
Security for BYOD
An app that allows the mobile device to link to the organization server can be installed, which would allow the employee to access product information, explain to consumers and then complete sales. This app can be securely containerized so that it does not get influenced or infected by any malware lurking outside the container, but exists in the employee’s BYOD mobile device. The employee would have the freedom to download and install any apps of his choice, and even if they possibly contained malware they would not infect the retail industry’s IT systems. Allowing BYOD has this big risk. Additionally, the IT department would have to manage different types of devices regarding OS updates, antivirus security updates, etc… This could be stressful which could be effectively managed through Mobile Device Management. In conclusion, Application Containerization would provide effective security in implementing a useful BYOD policy.