The Crucial Wireless PDAs

By Evan Schuman  |  Posted 2004-10-26 Print this article Print

Those wireless LAN-connected PDAs are a crucial part of the puzzle. Given the tiny amount of time reps will have to review the information the PDAs gather, McKinney wanted to make sure the data was severely triaged.
Are some retail managers revolting against IT-controlled CRM? To read more, click here.
"Customer service is such a big issue for our particular customer segment," he said. Therefore, once the rep has the customer, "we dont want them to have to scroll through lots of screens. Once theyve identified [the customer], theyll have just a few key screens to look at." The company hasnt settled on a PDA vendor yet, but McKinney said a large part of the audition will be "coming up with the design of the application." To make it easy, McKinney said Casual Male wants to start the PDA project slowly. "In the initial implementation, it will not be a transaction terminal," he said, adding that this will temporarily sidestep the security and privacy issues of credit-card data being transmitted through the store and saved onto an easy-to-steal PDA. To read more about how PDAs and cell phones are being used as check-out devices, click here. The PDAs will also initially be one-way: Data will come into the PDA, but the PDA will not wirelessly update the server with new info. That will be done—at least initially—the old-fashioned way.Casual Males customers today are overwhelmingly (95 percent) not buying their products from the Casual Male Web site, and the company doesnt anticipate that to change, Hernreich said. But he does want the 5 percent number to grow substantially, with a target of a tripling to 15 percent.Retail Center Editor Evan Schuman can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms Retail Center for the latest news, views and analysis of this vital industry.

Evan Schuman is the editor of's Retail industry center. He has covered retail technology issues since 1988 for Ziff-Davis, CMP Media, IDG, Penton, Lebhar-Friedman, VNU, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0 and United Press International, among others. He can be reached by e-mail at

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