News outlets often try to phase the public and draw them in with headlines like “The Death of the High Street!” or “Shopping is Dead!”, but the truth is that brick-and-mortar stores still have a lot of physical life in them.
We believe that such life will only continue to prosper – not with a complete rebuild of all aspects within the process and industry – but instead, with growing revolutions of specific elements during the shopping experience.
The continual advances in technology that we’ve seen for years, and will see for many to come, will embrace new opportunities for the retail industry. One horse the revolution will ride in on is the tablet, and if you’re a business owner – or simply a business enthusiast – the team at Armour Dog have produced some interesting research to show us why 2019 could and should be the year of the tablet.
Tablets encourage sign-ups
Reward programs and sign-ups are now a crucial element for retail business; a proven tactic for turning customers into returning ones, whilst reminding customers of your products and what you have to offer. Billboards in front of streets with five figure footfall do have considerable potential, but the direct line of communication to your customers (email, text, mail, etc) are both personal and invaluable.
This form of B2C (Business to Consumer) interaction has now become the norm, meaning customers are now comfortable interacting with businesses using mobile tech, and we believe this is why people are now more likely to sign up using tablets in-store, compared with other traditional formats.
Whether this is introduced at the payment stage of the transaction, or passively in the store with a static and interactive tablet display – “Sign up with your email and receive exclusive deals before anyone else” – they can provide an excellent line of communication between you and the customers.
They free up physical store space
Having a mobile device like a tablet handy, compared with a typical computer, means staff can leave the confines of the counter and approach customers to help them. Using tablets, they can help customers check stock, buy or order products, research topics and much more.
This also cuts down on waiting times, as you can intervene and ask if anyone requires assistance; if you can help them with the tablet and avoid extended waits, then the queue will be cut down and the customer experience is a positive one.
Tablets offer rotating displays
Physical one-sheet posters are known for advertising the latest deals and have been a staple of the in-store experience for many years – and will likely be for several more – but utilising tablets as a display provides many benefits that both static and physical posters cannot offer.
In tablets, you have a display that can be modified in real-time and can be highly personalised to suit a specific time of day, customer base, stock levels, etc. For example, if you were running a stationery store and you have a new poster advertising an exclusive range of pencil cases, would you agree that the poster would have considerably less value if the item was out of stock? With a modifiable platform like a tablet, images and prices can be constantly changed with ease to represent actual stock and new pricing.
Maybe a retail store has a marketing campaign for a new sale on raincoats – but suddenly you’re two weeks into a heat wave that has affected such an offer. With a few taps, a tablet could be reprogrammed to show a more attractive and relevant set of items to reflect the current climate, such as sun cream or disposable barbeques.
In restaurants, portable tablets can also be used as menus with dynamic price and stock changes to minimise issues with customers when they read out their orders to the waiter, only to be told that they are out of stock.
Expert Quote: Drew Lewis, Head of Product Management & Product Marketing at Leaf
“Mobile POS is a valuable tool for small businesses because it increases operational efficiencies and ushers them into the world of the cloud, moving them away from unreliable, paper-only tracking systems.”
“Mobile POS also provides small businesses with benefits that help improve their bottom lines, such as accurate business reporting, improved projections and the ability to accept nearly any type of customer payment — not to mention that they can manage their employees and access sales data using any mobile device.”
They minimise the necessary staff
Most supermarkets use tablet-style interfaces at their self service checkouts, which cuts down on staff necessary at any given moment. Other examples of alleviating staff work can be found in doctor or hospital waiting rooms, where you can sign in for an appointment without having to queue up to speak with a receptionist.
Restaurants such as McDonalds also use interactivity as a Point of Sale (POS) to speed up the order process, meaning customers can head over to a tablet instead of waiting in line to see one of the team members, which drastically decreases walk-aways.
Technology has been spreading pretty steadily throughout the fast food industry and improving the experience for its customers; one look at applications like Uber Eats and Deliveroo demonstrate how non-committal fast food has become. Tablets are just another shape of our evolution, changing the in-store experience as opposed to our at-home experience.
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There will always be companies that won’t embrace the changes that new technology has to offer, some may be afraid to break away from the “old ways” of doing things or some are simply not aware of the benefits that mobile technology can provide from a business perspective.
Whether your business is booming or a little down in the dumps, tablets could be just what the doctor ordered.