The Retail Associate Platform tablet app

Recently I moved office to the same building as some of the Magento Retail Commerce (MRC) team. I have been learning more about the Magento Point-of-Service (MPOS) application (formerly known as the Retail Associate Platform, RAP) recently and thought it would be interesting to share.

Disclaimer: This is my understanding from a few conversations – some of the details may be wrong. Oh, and “these opinions are my own and not that of my employer” yada yada.

In a nutshell, the MPOS is an iPad app (typically in a sled to accept card swipes) designed for associates in the aisle of a retail store. It is configurable, allowing different retailers to streamline it to their needs. The app talks to a middleware layer that is then configured to talk out to various other systems.

RAP Screenshot

Examples of functionality include:

  • Access to your catalog, allowing the associate to search for a product that matches the customers need (either in the same store, out of stock locally, only available online, etc.).
  • Access to previous orders, allowing the associate to check on the status of an order the customer had placed previously (whether ship to store, ship to home, etc).
  • In aisle sales, allowing the associate to close the sale without need for the customer to queue at a payment desk. Swipe a card, email a receipt, and the customer is on their way.
  • If a product is not in stock in the local store, the associate can locate where stock is available – in a nearby store, in a warehouse, or via drop ship. The associate can then get the item shipped to the local store for in person inspection, or make a sale and ship it to the customer’s home address.
  • The platform can also be used to alert associates, such as to inform them of today’s special promotions or offerings.

One of my personal interests of course is to see how hard to hook this technology up to a Magento store. MPOS has been designed to be modular, allowing connection to a range of different systems, so this is looking like it would be a straightforward project.

I find it also possibly interesting for Magento store owners as a customer support tool. Are you a small online store owner? The in aisle access is not important when you don’t have a store! But it could be just as easily a great tool for simplifying customer phone support. A customer calls when you are walking around the warehouse? No problem, just start up the iPad app and check it from there. The app is streamlined for these sorts of interactions, which as a side effect reduces the training required to get you and your support staff being productive more rapidly.

Want to read more? Here are a few other online resources that may be interesting:

Update: This blog was originally posted September 14, but was updated November 5th 2015 to use new product name and new web site link. The rest of this article was untouched and reflects the product at the time of writing.

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