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Perry Ellis enlists mobile to streamline in-store shopping

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January 11, 2013

Perry Ellis is rolling out mobile point-of-sale systems to its stores to not only help with long lines, but also become a digital tool for clienteling.

The Perry Ellis mobile POS solution is powered by Starmount. Perry Ellis began piloting mobile POS at 17 stores during the holiday season.

“Perry Ellis’ strategy is to provide the customer with a 360-degree shopping experience,” said Mark Colbert, director of retail systems at Perry Ellis International, Miami, FL.

“This includes allowing the customer to get product recommendations and reviews, to find the product they want when they want it, and to participate in a more complete customer experience,” he said.

Perry Ellis sells high-quality men’s, women’s and children’s apparel in addition to accessories and fragrances.

Mobile convenience
The pilot is part of a bigger chain wide role out of mobile POS services that will be completed in the first quarter of this year, according to the company.

Perry Ellis is using Starmount’s Engage service, which is a mobile application that equips store associates with information to help in-store shoppers.

Using the app, Perry Ellis employees can scan products for additional information and reviews. Store associates can also pull up side-by-side comparisons to help consumers view the differences between products.

Besides driving sales, the other main goal behind the mobile POS technology is to streamline the check-out process and cut queues.

For example, store associates can manage transactions via the app. Furthermore, if an item is out of stock, Perry Ellis associates are able to track down and order the item from another channel or store.

“Now that they have POS capabilities, our goal is to give store associates the rest of what is needed to deliver a great customer experience,” Mr. Colbert said.

“This includes the ability to see inventory in other stores and channels throughout the company,” he said. “We would like for them to be able to sell customers merchandise regardless of the item’s location within the company and the ability to easily fill orders cross-store and cross-channel. “

“Clienteling will also become a big part of our direction with the use of iPads in each store.”

Mobile in-store help
Mobile POS played a big role for several retailers this holiday season for line-busting.

For example, in November lifestyle retailer Alex and Ani used mobile POS to let store associates swipe credit cards, make transactions and print receipts right from the sales floor (see story).

Additionally, Finish Line rolled out iPod touch devices to 638 stores in September to prep for an increase in foot traffic during the holidays (see story).

Specifically for a higher-end retailer such as Perry Ellis, the technology offers bricks-and-mortar retailers a solution to showrooming by fostering a one-on-one relationship with shoppers.

“We see broad acceptance of mobile POS in 2013 – customers seem to like the technology and the store associate adoption to the device is second nature,” Mr. Colbert said.

“As we move into the future, the realm of mobile POS possibilities includes an integrated shopping experience using the customers’ own devices, near-field communications, RFID and other technology to streamline the in-store buying experience,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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