Providing Mobile Solutions to Consumers

Phil Jarvis, VP, IT, Thirty-One Gifts

We know that consumers want solutions that work within the context of how they live their personal lives. They want solutions that are as mobile as they are, with information that is available to them anywhere, when they want it, and consumable on any device they are using, like smart phones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers. Mobile, cloud and social networking are extremely important to consumers.

All of this is true within retail organizations as well. Additionally, bring your own device (BYOD) and business intelligence (analytics) are important within the organization to give us a competitive edge.

Overcoming challenges to make job easier

Our business is providing opportunities for women in direct sales, and we use a home-party model to sell Thirty-One Gifts’ products. We have more than 120,000 independent sales consultants throughout the U.S. and Ontario. Large software vendors with consultant-facing solutions for the direct sales industry, and party plan-specific company needs such as ours, do not exist.

There are various solutions and very good partners. However, when a company reaches a certain size, these solutions need to be customized for a variety of reasons. Most of the larger companies have either created their own system from scratch or have purchased a solution which they customized significantly. A few of these areas include unique requirements for a particular company, scalable solutions for extremely large volumes or flash sales, mobile, multi-company and international solutions. A few vendors have solutions for some of these issues, but most do not have a good solution for all of these.

Technology trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment and Retail Industry

Mobile, cloud, business intelligence and social networking are all key technologies for Thirty-One. However, two technologies that are starting to emerge are 3D printing and augmented reality. 3D printing helps with product design, prototyping and sizing. Augmented reality is used to bring electronic or print catalogs to life, and for training, informational kiosks to help our consultants in a party environment.

Thoughts on how technology is revolutionizing some of the following segments essential for a Retailers' success

We are passionate about our consultants. Our parties are extremely important since we’re a relationship business. We need to find ways through technology to improve our consultants’ experience, weaving it into the fabric of her everyday life and party experience.

Effective solutions require mobility, interaction with a variety of social sites and being able to access data anywhere, anytime from any device.

E-commerce, B2C and B2B have been around for quite some time. However, only recently have mobile, social networking, big data and the cloud become significant technologies. Social network integration weaves solutions into her everyday life. Cloud computing provides access anywhere at any time.

Business intelligence is the outcome of analyzing significant amounts of consultant and customer data, including product, demographics and party trends to provide a better experience.

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