- Wireless POS terminals
- Wireless devices to perform on-the-spot
markdowns and inventory counts
- Wireless credit card authorization
- Service vehicles with ruggedized
notebooks w/printers for real-time work-order and repair receipt
printing and the uploading of data
- Inventory price verification
- Returned goods processing
- Real-time access to customer
- Quick-Erect check-out facilities
The following are
examples of mobile computing applications in the retail-industry:
As sales trends change, retailers
reconfigure sales departments and move POS terminals without rewiring or
During high-volume sales, seasonal periods,
or special sales events, retailers increase check-stands using wireless POS
terminals connected to store controllers.
Sales staff use wireless devices to perform
on-the-spot markdowns and inventory counts.
In large home-improvement stores, wireless
terminals are used to improve customer service by answering questions
anywhere on the floor.
A number of retailers are considering
implementation of wireless POS terminals and wireless LANs. However,
the price of these specialized devices is still relatively high and
margin-conscious retail industry is hoping that these prices will come down.
The Food Fair supermarket chain in
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was one of the first chains to use a wireless
credit card authorization service. The system, based on the RAM Mobile Data
Network, offers customers faster service and the option of paying for
groceries with credit or debit card. Food Fair started accepting credit
cards without the trouble and expense of installing telephone lines.
According to market researchers, customers prefer stores that accept credit
cards and spend almost 30 percent more per visit than they do if they have
to pay by cash or write a check. The faster checkouts that have resulted
from the system have also improved customer service. The RAM solution
consists of a credit card processing terminal and printer, a protocol
converter and an Ericsson Mobidem M6090 radio modem. Food Fair interfaces
with Master Card’s Automated POS Program called MAPP. This application
shows that a wireless-network-based credit card authorization system can be
justified even in a fixed location if it is more convenient to install than
a wired solution.
Large retail store chains such as Sears are
equipping their service vehicles with ruggedized notebooks with printers for
real-time work-order and repair receipt printing and the uploading of data.
Vending Machines Becoming
Wireless Electronic Merchandisers
- Wireless modems, microprocessors and
connections to sensory logic for credit card authorization.
- Wireless electronic merchandiser
There is a huge market for mobile computing
developing as the cost of outfitting automated vending machines with
wireless modems, microprocessors and connections to sensory logic for credit
card authorization capability decrease to levels where a business case can
As reported in Ericsson’s Mobile Data News,
Data Wave, a company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
pioneered a wireless electronic merchandiser using the Mobitex network
during late 1996.
Based on an Ericsson Mobidem M2090 radio modem, DataWave’s electronic merchandiser
built for Kodak dispenses single-use cameras, sunglasses, CDs and films and
accepts credit cards for payment . It registers and verifies each credit
card transaction, while supporting real-time supervision and maintenance.
Regular sales and inventory information can be retrieved by a central
computer for replenishment of the stock. Equipment malfunctions are reported
to the central site. Kodak is planning to install 700 units.
Encouraged by the success of the Kodak
electronic merchandiser, DataWave has developed the DTM 2001 wireless
electronic merchandiser for dispensing telephone calling cards that are
activated at the time of sale. One major U.S. reseller had ordered of 5,000
Greatly increased implementation of this
application will doubtless occur as more and more retailers turn to the
automated concept for a host of merchandising items.
Recently (1999), network management software
from Computer Associates can control these devices from a central management
2001 Update - Wireless ending Machines Becoming
Vehicles for M-Commerce
As wireless Internet takes form and substance with
m-commerce applications, sophisticated vending machines become
self-operated kiosks for selling a variety of merchandise. Interface
with smartphones and bank-managed payment systems allow retailers to
reduce the cost of selling these items. Wirca
Inc,. was beta testing soft drink vending machines during late
2001. Wirca was partnering with PepsiCo and several bottlers. The
test started in Kansas City, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and in the
Bay area of California.