If you’re ever having a bad day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is participate in a little “schadenfreude,” a German word meaning to get satisfaction or pleasure from the misfortune of others. Take this YouTube video, for example, where a woman is texting as she walks in the mall. Her lack of attention at what’s in front of her results in her falling into the mall fountain. If you’re really having a bad day, you should watch the remix, which pokes fun at her explanation and anger over being laughed at.

While funny YouTube videos are always a nice way to spruce up your day, in all seriousness, the mall fountain video does encourage some discussion on how prevalent our cell phone usage is these days and how we’re increasingly using them more as we shop. In one study where global consumers were asked questions about their mobile communications habits, 82 percent said they embraced connected digital services. The next time you go to a store, take a look around to see how many people are on their phones.

Shopping and mobile usage go hand-in-hand, and shoppers are using their phones for a wide variety of things: to take pictures of things they bought to put on Pinterest, air complaints on a company’s Facebook page, or look around to see whether or not they can get a particular item cheaper somewhere else. It really has become an age where the consumer has all of the power. Therefore, with that in mind, the question must be asked of how a supply chain can thrive in such an environment. Here are several things that come to mind.

A good warehouse is the key to customer satisfaction: If your warehouse is out of sorts, you’ll lose money and customers too. Your warehouse is the backbone of your supply chain and will determine inventory and order fulfillment, so treat it as such and ensure that good practices are being followed. For example, if you’re noticing more inefficiency in labor than usual, why not consider using a labor management system?  This will allow you to put the right amount of people on when they’re needed and avoid overstaffing or understaffing.

Your call center is the voice behind your business:There is nothing more frustrating than calling a call center about an issue and knowing right off the bat that the person on the other end of the line really doesn’t care about your situation at all. Prevent angry customers with proper training and an established protocol to ensure customer success. A growing number of people are taking their cases to Twitter or Facebook as well, so this is an area where good customer service can be achieved too. If customers leave comments, make sure to have someone ready to answer them in a timely matter.

Visibility is pertinent in online retail:Most brick and mortar stores have online storefronts as more customers become comfortable with e-commerce. When a customer hits checkout and submit, they expect to be aware of the order’s status throughout the process until the item reaches their door. If you aren’t able to provide tracking information and status updates, they probably won’t shop with you again.

Although mobile phones and digital communications are changing the way retail is defined, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. By adapting, you can embrace this new type of consumer and enjoy new avenues for revenue.

Featured images:

Ashely is always on her phone like everyone else in the world. To see more, check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.

English: drawing of a Windows Phone 7 device, ...

Weave News Reader

This app comes pre-loaded with almost 200 news sources. You can customize it to concentrate on the subjects you like the best by choosing from a menu with interests such as gossip, art, world news, local news, movies, travel, the best restaurants and many more. Price – free. Download here.

The New York Times App

This app gives you the New York Times on your mobile phone. You’ll find the app divided into sections just like the newspaper. It has some convenient features such as saving articles to the cloud for later reading and viewing from other devices. Price – free, although for some content, you must be a NYT subscriber. Download here.

SkyMap Pro

This app lets you pick out the constellations over your head at night. Simply point the phone at the sky. SkyMap will read the stars and render them on the screen with the constellations added as classical drawings. If you wish, SkyMap will show the constellations in red so you won’t lose your night vision. Price $99.00 Download here.


This app gives you a Twitter client on your mobile phone. It has features such as auto-name completion, multiple account support, photo uploads and the ability to send articles to Pocket, Instapaper and Readability. Price – free. Download here.


Every mobile phone should have an app for reading ebooks. Freda is free and supports EPUB, HTML, FB2 and TXT formats. It doesn’t support MOBI from Amazon; but, if you have Calibre on your home computer, you can change the format of anything you download. You can download on your mobile phone from internet sites such as Feedbooks, Project Gutenberg and Smashwords. Price – free. Download here.

Office Mobile

Need to have your cubicle wherever you go? Office Mobile gives you the ability to examine and edit your Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents from the beach. The documents are true to the originals and the format remains intact after you make comments or edits. Price – free. Download here.

Nokia Smart Camera

Use your phone to shoot a sequence of photos in which several pictures are taken one after the other and combined against the same background. You can also add effects to your pictures like adding a blurring effect to individual objects to indicate motion, removing distracting background objects and changing the faces in group shots. Price – free. Download here.


This app lets you record and share short six second videos which loop. 6Sec is a full Vine client app which includes an upload feature. Price – free. Download here.


No more getting lost going from Aberdeen South Dakota to Thedford, Nebraska. MapQuest gives you complete directions with complete explanations and distances. Simply enter the beginning and end point and read the screen or listen to verbal instructions and get where you want to go. Price – free. Download here.

Simple Calendar

Everybody needs one. This app brings up your calendar with all of the meetings and appointments you have to get to. It’s easy to use and quick. Perfect for the busy professional or online college students in need of some time- management help. Price – free. Download here.

Alex Faubel enjoys writing about topics related to the intersection of business and technology in career-focused education programs.