Sterling Targets Smartphone-Carrying Consumers with New Mobile E-Commerce Apps
January 12, 2010 Alex Woodie
In a product announcement that was perhaps more suited to last weeks’ Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas than this week’s National Retail Federation show in New York City, Sterling Commerce yesterday unveiled a pair of new mobile e-commerce applications designed to be used by–you guessed it–consumers.
The transformation of Sterling Commerce, which is best known among OS/400 shops for its Gentran Integration Suite line of EDI translation software, has been going on for some time. Several years ago, the AT&T subsidiary announced plans to branch out of its market niche for EDI and B2B e-commerce enablement tools by developing a full-blown supply chain execution application that would compete against the likes of Oracle, SAP, and Manhattan Associates.
And now, the next customer base on Sterling’s target list is . . . anybody with a smartphone?
“It’s only a matter of time before most people will have some sort of smartphone, similar to the way cell phones eventually became ubiquitous,” says Bob Irwin, president and CEO of Sterling. Irwin goes on to say that “the compelling user interface of the iPhone makes it the perfect venue for us to explore ‘The Art of the Possible’ by showing companies things they might not have even thought of doing or knew they could do with our solutions.”
Before you say that Sterling has lost its way by trying to become a consumer application developer, consider what the powerful new Sterling Store Associate Mobile and Sterling Mobile Store Channel applications can do.
With the Sterling Store Associate Mobile loaded on an iPhone, a store associate will be able to console consumers who are shaken by an out-of-stock situation on the store’s floor, find inventory hidden away in the warehouse, and complete the transaction right there.
The Sterling Mobile Store Channel will allow retailers to build a “mobile store presence” that enables consumers to browse available products, find inventory, select their fulfillment method, order the product, and pay for it–right from their (AT&T) smart phone.
While Sterling says the new applications are designed for consumers, they’re really geared toward the big retail chains that have licensed Sterling’s Order Management execution solutions. And you won’t find that at the iPhone App Store.