News outlets might try to shock people into a few clicks 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 life in them. We believe that this life will prosper – not with a complete overhaul to all aspects of the process and industry – but instead, with continual revolutions of select elements of the shopping experience.
The perpetual advances in technology that we’ve seen for years, and will see for years, will provide these advances. One horse the revolution will ride in on is the tablet, and if you own a business – or just want to know everything about business – then we’ve done the research to show you why 2019 could and should be the year of the tablet.
Tablets can encourage sign-ups
Reward programs and sign-ups can – and should – be a very important element of your business; a proven tactic for turning bounce customers into return customers and keeping some real estate in the customers mind space. Billboards in front of streets with five figure footfall have considerable potential, but the direct line of communication to the customer (email, text, mail, etc) is incredibly valuable.
This form of B2C (Business to Consumer) interaction has now become a norm, which means customers are already comfortable interacting with businesses throughout mobile technology and we believe this is why people are more likely to sign up using tablets in-store than with any other format. Whether this is pushed on them at the payment stage of the transaction, or passively in the store with a static and interactive tablet display – “Sign up with your email for exclusive deals before anyone else” – they can provide an excellent line of communication between you and the customers.
They can free up physical store space
Having a mobile device like a tablet as opposed to a static device like a typical PC means staff can leave the confines of the counter and approach customers to help them. Using this device, they can help customers check stock, research topics, buy or order products and much more.
This can also cut down on queues as you can intervene and ask if anyone needs help; if you can help them with the tablet and avoid extended waits, then the queue will be cut down and everyone’s customer experience will be improved.
Tablets can work as rotating displays
Physical one-sheet posters advertising the latest deals have been a staple of in-store experiences for years – and will likely be for many years to come – but using tablets as a display provides a wealth of benefits that static and physical posters cannot compete with.
In tablets, you have a display that can be modified on the fly and highly personalised to suit the specific time of day, customer base, stock levels, etc. If someone is running a stationary store and they have a poster advertising a brand new pencil case, 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, the images can be constantly changed with complete ease to represent actual stock.
Maybe a supermarket has several posters broadcasting a brand new sale on umbrellas – but you’re two weeks deep into a heat wave that’s scared any trace of a cloud away. With a few taps, a tablet could be reprogrammed to show more attractive 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 customer disappointment when reading out orders to the waiter, only to be told that they are out of stock.
Quote from an expert: 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 line, 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 can minimise necessary staff
Most supermarkets use tablet-style interfaces as self service checkouts, which can cut down on staff necessary at any one moment. Other examples of them alleviating staff work can be found in hospital or doctor waiting rooms, where you can sign in for the appointment without having to take up the time of a staff member.
Restaurants like McDonalds also use the device rooted with a tablet stand to act as a Point of Sale (POS) to speed up the order process, meaning customers can dart straight to a tablet instead of waiting in line to see one of the team members, which could drastically decrease walk-aways (although these tablets can still develop lines, in the interest of fairness).
Technology has been steadily spreading throughout the fast food industry and improving it for the customer; one look at applications like Uber Eats and Deliveroo demonstrate how non-committal fast food has become. Tablets are just another shape of this evolution, changing the in-store experience as opposed to the home experience like those apps.
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There will always be companies that don’t embrace the changes that technology offers, some afraid to break away from the ‘old way’ of doing things or some simply not aware of the benefits that devices like tablets can provide. The truth is that these are the people that lost money because they took too long to install card machines, or lost out on brand recognition because they thought social media was just a fad – and this trepidation is why this article is titled “Why Tablets in 2019 Will Revolutionise the Retail Experience” and not “How Tablets Have Already Revolutionised the Retail Experience”.
Whether your business is booming or a little down in the dumps, tablets could be just what the doctor ordered.
If you’re interested in using a tablet for business, we provide protection for all sorts of devices – from Apple iPad’s to Samsung’s and Dell’s – in the form of both stands and cases that can help prolong the life of your device by years.