EE launches mobile retail assistant to tackle annual £1bn losses

Put the money where your mobile is

Telecommunications provider EE has launched Connected Retail, a mobile in-store retail assistant aimed at addressing losses of over £1 billion in the retail sector every year due to queues.

The new managed service avails of mobile connectivity to offer customers deals depending on their location in a store or their past buying habits. It will give retailers valuable data like when customers typically visit a store, and how long they stay.

EE has inked a deal with Asda to use Connected Retail in its 575 stores across the UK, the latest in a series of moves by Asda to embrace technology. It previously launched in-store Wi-Fi and gave managers tablet computers to help them run their stores.

Connected Retail is the first product in EE's new Total Enterprise Mobility range. Future products will focus on workplace mobility, engaging customers, and the Internet of Things.

"Consumers are always online, always mobile, shopping on the go. By 2016, 80% of consumers will be using mobile to make informed buying decisions. As they find, compare, share and buy, retailers have the opportunity to exploit digital channels and create a far more engaging in-store experience," said Max Taylor, Director of Corporate Business at EE.

Patience is not a virtue

Retailers in the UK may lose £1.04 billion every year due to long queues, according to EE's new survey that accompanied the launch of Connected Retail.

The study shows that 73 per cent of customers will ditch their purchase if they have to wait more than five minutes at the checkout. 59 per cent will only wait four minutes, while 29 per cent won't go beyond two minutes.

The average abandoned product costs £33, so it is not difficult to see how costly the checkout delays are.