Three Tips for Multi-site Deployment of Apple Devices

By Brad Fick, president, Direct Source

Suddenly, consumer-grade mobile devices are very common on the retail floor. Whether being used by store associates to provide customer support, to replace legacy POS systems or even as digital signage, iOS-based phones and tablets have found their place in retail.
But this doesn’t mean that you can simply purchase hundreds of devices and parse them out to stores. Devices need to be accurately configured, deployed and maintained to be effective. Retailers considering a large or nationwide deployment should keep these three tips in mind to ensure a flawless roll-out.
Tip 1: Work with your system integrator to enroll your devices in the Apple Device Enrollment Program. The Apple DEP helps retailers deploy and manage iPad, iPhone and Mac products purchased directly from Apple or from Authorized Resellers like Direct Source.
Once your devices are registered with the DEP, retailers can automate mobile device management (MDM) for every device, so that when activated, each device is immediately configured with the correct account settings, apps, and access to corporate services - wirelessly. There’s no need for staging services and it eliminates the need for IT to physically access each device to complete the setup.
By pushing information and updates to groups of devices, retailers can better maintain consistency of configurations, applications and security protocols across each store and every device.
Tip 2: Identify the right depot partner.
Any retailer that has completed a large or nationwide deployment knows that getting devices into stores is just the first step. Over time, devices will fail, break or even disappear. And the last thing your regional IT team wants to do is consumer-grade device maintenance.
But without it, stores end up short on devices which can damage customer service and reduce operational efficiencies.
Outsourcing device maintenance to a certified depot partner helps your IT team stay focused on the technology infrastructure that runs the retail business. By removing tactical maintenance activities IT teams can shift their energies to the technology strategies that build the business – such as big data, e-commerce, workforce management and operations. In fact, choosing a depot partner for maintenance of most in-store devices such as POS systems and peripherals can free up lots of valuable IT team time.
Tip 3: Offer continuous training
Luckily, consumer grade devices are very user friendly so store associates typically need minimal training on how to use the physical device itself. Even most retail apps are fairly intuitive.
But store associates still need application and customer service training, especially if the devices are to be used for customer engagement.
For example, stores are starting to deploy tablets in dressing rooms to help shoppers find and try on more styles without undressing and redressing multiple times. Store associates need training in order to effectively promote shopper use of the tablets. They need to be able to show shoppers how to use the devices, respond to requests made using the devices and complete any low level device support in case of a malfunction. By training store associates to engage the customers with the technology, retailers can create more of the digital experience within the store and strengthen their brand and sales.