Six ways iPads and mobile tablets are used in retail

April 16, 2019

Mobile devices like iPads and tablets are becoming a common fixture in retail as the industry seeks to explore a new world of technology and consumer interaction.

From the Point of Sale to the shop floor and even the change room, here are six ways iPads and mobile tablets are used in retail.

Point of Sale

Whether it’s to replace a legacy point of sale or to offer mobility and complete sales on the shop floor, iPads and mobile tablets cater to both affordability and convenience.

At the static Point of Sale, mobile devices offer a streamlined, easily implemented POS where the tablet stores information in the Cloud yet integrates with hardware like cash drawers, barcode scanners and recept printers.

For the retailer, the system is economical and adaptable, requiring only internet access and minimal hardware. Meanwhile a wealth of software options are available to facilitate mobile POS.

Inventory tracking

Courtesy of technological innovations like RFID, inventory tracking is now easier than ever before, and best of all it’s mobile, with a wealth of apps available for iPads and tablets that allow for more streamlined, simplified and transparent inventory tracking

Customer service

iPads and mobile tablets allow store associates to have information at their fingertips and that serves to improve the customer experience.

Using a simple handheld device, a store associate can quickly check whether the right size or colour of product is available in their retail outlet, whether it’s soon to arrive, or even order it in from another location.

At the same time, they can gather relevant customer data, inputting it into the CRM, and that helps improve marketing, loyalty programs and rewards.

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In the fitting room

Meanwhile, in recent years, numerous cutting-edge retailers have also placed this technology directly in the customer’s hand to improve service.

Trend Hunter explains in 2015 Bloomingdales began installing iPads in fitting rooms.

“The mounted devices are able to enhance a customer’s shopping experience by connecting one directly to Bloomingdale’s staff and the retailer’s inventory-management system,” they note.

“With a simple tap of a touchscreen, Bloomingdale’s shoppers can check stock inventories for size and color or can seek the help of a sales associate that will respond to their request in seconds.”

Product demonstrations and information

In a further bid to enhance the customer experience, retailers can also utilise iPads or mobile tablets to offer product demonstrations, access a more extensive product line-up or offer more detailed information.

McKinsey Research notes Sephora is one retailer embracing this trend, with iPads employed to provide access to “deep product content”, like whether a lotion is suited to a particular skin type.

“Customers can bring products to the iPad for scanning, which allows them to see additional information, read product reviews, or add the item to their shopping list.”

Loyalty and surveys

Surveys are valuable tools to ascertain how retailer can enhance the customer experience, while loyalty schemes allow retailers to gather valuable date and better tailor their offering.

In retail, iPads and mobile tablets are facilitating both these strategies, as Retail Biz Australia explains. They note explain loyalty program provider Qantas Frequent Flyer offers an incentive where members are able to collect reward point at 4000 participating restaurants nationwide.

“Rather than expecting venues to reconfigure their Point of Sale systems to record Qantas points transactions, the airline has issued every establishment with an iPad, dedicated to the purpose,” they state.

Meanwhile, convenience store 7-Eleven and clothing giant H&M have mobile tablets dedicated to surveys.

“Both chains have devices at the check-out which customers can use to rate their shopping experience before they leave the premises,” Retail Biz notes.

The final word

Affordable, easy to implement and user-friendly, iPads and mobile tablets offer retailers the opportunity to bring interactivity and a unique customer experience to the bricks and mortar retail realm. And in doing so, they have the potential to marry offline with digital strengths.

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