Tablets have invaded the homes of consumers–and Apple is the King of this generation of mobile computers. Since the iPad’s initial announcement in 2010, Apple has sold nearly 80 million iPads. The mobile computer’s next ring to dominate? Your local department store or collectibles shop.
According to a survey from RIS News, 28 percent of retailers are currently testing tablets in their stores and 31 percent plan to begin some form of testing in 2012. There are a number of benefits that retailers can realize utilizing a mobile tablet at the point of sale (POS), such as shortening of the checkout line and providing instant product answers for customers’ questions.
Another survey from AisleBuyer found that 64 percent of shoppers thought retailers were more helpful when using a mobile device in the store aisles.
Michael Koploy, Retail Analyst for Software Advice, recently spoke with three retailers that have deployed iPad point of sale solutions in their stores. Koploy asked what they’ve learned throughout the process and what they would suggest to other retailers thinking about using iPads at checkout. Here are their four suggestions:
Don’t purchase too many iPads up-front: One of the strongest selling points of iPads is the ease of their deployment and their scalability. That being said, retailers advised other retailers to purchase iPads modestly at first–making a one-for-one switch of registers for iPads. If more tablets are needed at a later date, the retailer can then purchase more iPads online or at most electronics stores.
Upgrade Internet bandwidth and wireless security: When moving to mobile POS solutions, upgrading the store’s infrastructure is a worthwhile investment, according to the retailers interviewed. Increased bandwidth and improved security are two areas that retailers should research and update in their stores to reduce downtime and improve transaction security. Wireless routers should meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, encrypted with either WPA or WPA2.
Ask for help from resellers and MDM experts: The retailers also suggested reaching out to other technology experts for assistance with device deployment and management. Software resellers can help retailers connect the hardware and software solutions, as well as integrate data from previous or existing technology. Mobile device management (MDM) experts can help lock-down devices and integrate data across stores–an important consideration for retailers that have multiple locations.
Utilize the iPad during checkout: The iPad is a fully-capable piece of hardware to manage the point of sale. At the same time, it offers a number of options for the retailer to improve checkout–and the overall shopping experience, as well. From the aisle, retailers can help customers research products, check inventory levels and process the transaction–without having to ever get in a long checkout line. Additionally, retailers can use the device’s camera, web browser, and social media applications to allow customers to share their experience with their friends and family. This presents a powerful marketing platform for the retailer.
To hear more tips from these retailers, check out: 5 iPad POS Tips For Retailers, From Retailers.