The on-line world and technology are now central to the success of retailers. On-line sales in the U.S. are expected to hit $399.48 billion in 2016, an almost 15% increase over 2015. Brick and mortar retail is also increasingly using technology in-store to improve the retail experience, offer access to the same wealth of information consumers have become accustomed to on-line, and to integrate their on-line and offline sales and marketing funnels.
Retail customers want both brick and mortar and on-line retail. ‘Anywhere commerce' is the buzzword of proactive, forward-thinking and successful retailers who seamlessly integrate technology into their stores. From the customer’s point of view, there should not be a disparity between the on-line (desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone) and in-store shopping experience.
Tablet Displays: Bridging the Gap
One immensely effective way that retailers can contribute towards synchronizing their brick and mortar retail space and customer base with their on-line sales and marketing efforts is through the use of tablet displays. Tablet displays help a retailer to embed digital content and technology into a physical retail environment, improving sales in-store and opening up new customer retention, marketing, and sales channels between the digital and physical retail spaces.
Giovanni DeMeo, vice president of global marketing and analytics at Interactions, a retail event marketing firm, said of tablets:
"Retailers are starting to leverage tablets in a way that allows for more engagement with the shopper. Stores can give more information about products, product demos, and other details that might be available on-line, but [using tablets] gives a more positive experience within the retail environment."
Here are some of the best ways that tablet displays can be used to help boost a retailer’s sales:
POS Data Capture
The most effective marketing is the most targeted marketing. Tablet displays and kiosks can be used in a variety of ways, such as offering access to special offers, promotions, prize draws etc., to capture valuable client data, specifically email addresses. If you have collected a database of email addresses in-store, you know these people are already your customers and therefore the most receptive audience possible to your marketing initiatives.
The kind of 'gamified' data capture that in-store tablets make possible offers additional opportunities to build the individual profiles of your email marketing database from the get-go, meaning you can be more targeted and more efficient with offers and marketing messages. For example, a discount code can tie the subsequent purchases of an in-store customer to their email address. Most on-line retailers have to wait for their customers to make their first purchases to start building their consumer profile. Use of tablets in-store can give you a valuable head-start.
Forrester Research figures from July 2015 show that while search accounted for 43% of digital marketing spending among U.S. retailers it delivered only 38% of revenue, with email's 17% of spending accounting for 24% of revenue. Predictive marketing platform Custora's retail clients attribute an average of 15% of eCommerce to email marketing. For some of their customers, email is their top channel, providing as much as 40% of their overall revenue. These stats show the importance of the additional channel for increasing a retailer's email marketing database that in-store tablet displays can provide.
As a result of common price discrepancies between the same products in-store and on-line, as well as access to additional information such as P2P product reviews, ‘showrooming’ has become a common aspect to the retail journey of many customers. Various studies have shown up to 20% of consumers admitting to the practice, which is defined as going in-store to see a product ‘in real life’ before subsequently buying it on-line, often not from the same retailer. In-store tablet displays prompt customers to access the information they would otherwise subsequently review on-line on the spot, such as reviews. They can also provide a window to price-match offers preventing the loss of the customer to a competitor selling the same product at a marginally cheaper price.
The Power of Reviews, is a recent survey of over 800 U.S. consumers on how ratings and reviews impact their decision-making, where they look for information and how it affects their purchase behaviour. 24% of respondents said they consult reviews for every purchase, a figure rising to 30% for shoppers in the crucial 18 to 44 demographic. Ratings and reviews scored second only to price as the most important consideration affecting a purchase decision in the survey, illustrating the value tablet displays can have by bringing P2P reviews into the traditional retail space.
Customers can also quickly and conveniently check stock availability. If they don’t find the size or color of a product they are interested in immediately, rather than risk staff not being available to quickly enough address a stock inquiry during busy periods, the customer can check for themselves if what they are looking for is available at that particular moment in-store.
One key advantage of on-line retail is being able to exploit functionality such as video in ‘brand storytelling.’ A tablet allows you to visually display on a product in use an unobtrusive, personally targeted ad. Rather than the ‘spray and hope’ approach of much banner, radio, or television advertising, you serve the ad directly to someone already showing interest in the product. Ads delivered via a tablet display will more directly ‘close’ a sale rather than simply pique initial interest.
Research studies have shown that consumers who stop to watch digital retail screens have decided to purchase the showcased product on the spot with unplanned purchases increasing by 30%. Further support for the value of secure iPad displays is provided by research conducted by Mintel, which found that consumers in retail outlets with in-store video displays spend an average of 10% more money.
As well as being used for data collection, the kinds of gamification that tablet displays can facilitate can also encourage immediate sales. Just one example of an effective use of this kind of sales gamification was employed by a German cosmetics retailer. The company used a tablet display to help clients find the perfect nail polish, eye-liner, or foundation for them based on their hair color, skin tone, and clothes. This was done both by taking a photo of the clients there and then and also by providing the option for them to upload photos from Facebook, providing an additional layer of subsequent social media marketing opportunities.
Tablet displays are immensely flexible and can be utilized in so many ways by creative retailers. As well as providing a bridge between brick and mortar and on-line retailing they can provide a distraction for bored shopping partners who might otherwise provoke a quicker exit, replace bulky sign-age and even cash registers. The potential benefits of tablet displays in retail are only as limited as the creativity and innovation of retailers who take advantage of them.