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The impact of mobile devices on the retail industry is still being debated and a new survey is shedding more light on the practices of Retail Winners when it comes to arming their store associates with more technology. 

Retail Systems Research (RSR) partnered with WorkForce Software to deliver a new benchmark study, “Has the Era of the Empowered Workforce Finally Arrived?”, which finds mobile to be “the underlying theme for technology enablers when it comes to the store workforce.” 

Among the Retail Winners surveyed — those with better than average performance — 67% said mobile phones provide “high value” when used by associates for customer engagement. 

“Consumer-grade mobile technologies and apps are no longer nice-to-haves,” the report states. “Consumers have them in their pockets and purses; those that serve consumers must have the same capabilities.” 

In other areas, 48% of winners gave mobile devices a “high value” rating for how they free up store managers’ time. Mobile devices were also rated highly around communication, including peer-peer messaging/collaboration, employee “micro” training content and “in context” communications (messaging embedded into workflows). 

However, the largest retailers were found to be driving mobile device adoption (70% compared to 41% overall).