Customer Experience Marketing Omnichannel Commerce Retail Technology for Marketing

Who’s making money out of the iPad?

Thinking about the iPad within the retail world.

iPad fever abounds in the world of retail right now.  And it’s easy to see why, with the world cooing over the introduction of Apple’s newest baby.  Best Buy has just announced that they are considering iPads (other devices are available) for their staff to use as sales tools.  We’ve got one client about to roll out something similar. Today, a new client has called to ask for advice on using iPads for CRM activities and for business in general.

When is it the right thing to do and when is it pure gimmickry?  Will it just give them an image makeover in the eyes of their customers or will it actually contribute to the bottom line?

Well, we all know how they’re used in the Apple Store where the customer-focused staff are responsive and well-informed, due in part to the shiny tablet they tote.  Bottom line, it’s great for appointment-driven service businesses such as hairdressers, restaurants etc but how about general retail?

Well, there’s no doubt that it can help if it means that staff on the shop floor can access stock information without disappearing into the dungeons below the shop for 15 minutes as you ask: “Do you have these in brown in a 42?”  There’s also an advantage in being able to access the online store from anywhere on the shop floor, even processing orders and sales.  There is no doubt that a mobile device with a decent screen (OK, I’m only talking about an iPad) can help to explain the pros and cons of complex products and facilitate comparisons.  It can’t turn your staff into product experts, but if they are experts already, it can turbo-charge your service and conversion rates.

One thing is for sure; we are at the start of the curve for iPad retail applications, with iTunes not even having a separate retail category.  I suspect that will change over the coming months as retailers wake up to the potential.

If there are any developers who have something unique for retail on this exciting new platform, I’d love to hear from them.

(Featured Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)


  1. Oh there is really something unique about it thats heading our way soon… 5 years ago I developed a business model for retail, converging technologies together, reducing retail floor space requirements and massively reducing overhead for retailers… but little old me and my lever arch folder of a business plan was, and still is too busy to launch it… but your article reads closer to my business model Johnny than anyone would have ever imagined possible…. find me £1m and we’re up and running and could cut a major high street retailers overheads by as much as 30%… oh and could use iPads if we wanted in the mix. We could become the Coxons if you wanted with amazing customer service and remain massively competitive. Don’t get me excited unless you have the cool million ready to invest lol !!

  2. Although the iPad is great for liberating staff from the archaic technology that still pervades so many stores, I think what is more interesting is the potential of multi-touch to liberate customers in their own experiences, in store.

    One of the greatest impacts of the technological revolution of the last few decades has been the democratization of information. This has meant people are much more used to taking control over the process of finding things out instead of going to the expert, whether this is in a school, or in a retailer.

    However, enter a retail store and technology is still often geared to providing a better workplace experience as opposed to creating a better customer experience aimed at increasing revenue.

    So, two thoughts. Firstly, the iPad is one of numerous multitouch options that may librate consumers in stores in the future. The second is that we should also be aware that many customers will have their own devices, and stores can capitalise on this, too.

    Finally, my favourite example of multitouch blurring the boundaries between physical and virtual space is is a bar – the beautiful Beer Genius by Fresk.

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