What is Retail Mobile Device Management?

As technology continues to advance, the opportunities for businesses to become more efficient, more cost-effective, and more organised multiplies. In the retail industry, one way that businesses can take advantage of these technologies is mobile device management. 

In this blog, we explore what retail Mobile Device Management is, how it works, and what it means for your business. 

What is retail Mobile Device Management (MDM)? 

Simply put, MDM is a solution that allows you to manage your retail devices remotely. In practical terms, this means your IT department can set up devices, identify bugs and issues, troubleshoot, implement updates, install new programmes, set restrictions, and more, without having physical access to the device you’re managing. 

What are retail devices?

Retail devices include customer-facing devices and tech used by staff at all levels of the business. Some examples include:

  • Fixed and mobile point-of-sale systems
  • In-store kiosks, iPads or tablets
  • Stockroom and warehouse computers and tablets 
  • Electronic price labels
  • Interactive digital display windows

The majority of retail devices will consist of equipment used to communicate within the company. For example, mobile phones or tablets where shop floor managers can place an order with the warehouse team. 

The main purpose of retail MDM

The minimum requirement of a remote device management platform is to ensure that users remain productive and motivated while gaining access to their devices at all times. While the number of resources you need depends on the number of devices you have, a good MDM will save significant time and money on deploying new technologies in your retail business. 

Some of the most important, standard requirements for a retail MDM system include device onboarding, start-up configuration, security and backup settings, and diagnostics and maintenance. 

These are the basic actions available with an MDM programme. An efficient programme can achieve a lot more. Some of the more advanced tasks you can complete remotely include:

  • Installing apps and setting permissions 
  • Running operating systems (OS) updates
  • Downloading new system files and documents 
  • Screen mirroring, having a full history overview and GPS tracking 

What are the benefits of retail Mobile Device Management? 

Now that we’ve established what retail MDM is and what’s possible, let’s look at the features that are intrinsic to your retail operation. 

Full overview of all your devices 

Providers like Emteria support MDM on strong network infrastructure. Part of this service includes a central dashboard where your IT department or device fleet manager can enjoy a full overview of all your devices from one place. 

They will remain in the know at all times, with notifications for faulty devices and breaches of preset permissions. They can also view the location, usage status and history of all devices in the fleet. This prevents devices from going missing and provides a full insight into how devices are being used by employees. 

Improved efficiency and minimise disruption

Apps for retail managers, such as the Emteria Device Hub, remove the need for fleet managers to run OTA updates. While over-the-air (OTA) updates are common, they can be extremely disruptive and non-efficient, so are slowly being replaced by MDM-controlled programmes. They can also fail from time to time. 

For businesses, a failed software update can be catastrophic, completely halting trading if multiple devices are involved. A reliable MDM will automatically recognise and roll back failed updates. This means the software will revert to its last stable version and continue functioning as usual. There are also options to update devices in groups to test the efficiency and security of the rollout. 

Final thoughts

MDM allows retailers to test out new devices and software at scale. It opens the door to new and diverse solutions and ways of working, as well as dramatically reducing spend on technology.

Now more than ever, it’s important for businesses to capitalise on their assets and use them as efficiently as possible. MDM for retail makes this possible.

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