Retailers are no strangers to new waves of technology. As recently as 15 years ago, it was unusual for a small local boutique to have a fully functional e-commerce website. Now, brick-and-mortar retailers are fixated on the next big tech transformation on Main Street: in-store tablets.
Here are eight ways outfitting your establishment with tablets can improve the customer experience and even enhance your bottom line.
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1. Tablets maximize space.
Retailers can eliminate bulky checkout stations and maximize floor space by adopting tablets equipped with point-of-sale (POS) software. By maximizing floor space, you can offer more inventory for customers, and you will have more room to display that inventory.
The fewer times a customer is compelled to ask a sales associate for a different size or inquire about additional colors and styles, the better. It's also easier to rotate seasonal items when there's more breathing room on the floor, which makes for a better shopping experience.
2. Tablets with POS software increase checkout speed.
One of the most obvious benefits of adopting in-store tablets as your POS system is the potential for faster checkout. If you're like most retailers, you've witnessed frustrated customers ditch checkout lines and leave the store (especially during holidays or special sales) without buying anything. When more of your sales associates can complete transactions from anywhere in the store, it greatly improves the checkout experience for guests. [Read related article: How to Choose the Best Retail POS System for Your Business]
- Epos Now: This company offers a variety of POS hardware, including mobile POS options like the Epos Pocket, as well as iPad and Samsung Galaxy tablet compatibility. It is best for those working in the hospitality and retail industries. Learn more in our Epos Now review.
- Square: Any small business – whether it's retail, food and beverage, or professional services (e.g., beauty, health, repair) – can benefit from Square. In addition to standard registers, the company offers mobile-friendly options like a mobile terminal and a reader that connects to your phone. Square is compatible with iPads.
- TouchBistro: If you are a restaurant owner looking for a tablet-based POS system to speed up service, you'll want to consider TouchBistro, which is compatible with iPads, iPad Pros, and iPad Minis. That could be ideal for tableside and self-serve ordering. Check out our review of TouchBistro to learn more.
- Upserve: Another POS system that's well suited for mobile restaurant ordering is Upserve. While the basic plan comes with a single standard terminal, Upside also offers a tableside ordering feature that lets guests place orders from a mobile device. Learn more in our full review of Upserve.
3. Tablets improve product visualization.
Some products require a demonstration, which can be difficult to provide when there is limited space and limited time to keep each customer's attention. In-store tablets can showcase product demonstrations and improve product visualization.
Besides showing how a product functions, tablets help consumers view all of their options. For example, a furniture store might use a tablet to show a customer all the available upholstery options. Interior or landscape design businesses also use tablets for product or project visualization, especially during the planning process, to make sure they're on the same page as their clients.
4. Tablets offer real-time inventory insights.
In-store tablets give floor sales associates the ability to access real-time inventory information while selling. The customer service (and employee happiness) implications of this one feature are massive. Instead of rushing back and forth to the stockroom to check on items for customers, sales associates can look up the item and tell the customer whether it's available.
5. Tablets can gather customer information.
Tablets are an efficient way to gather customer feedback. You might want to offer a discount in exchange for customers filling out a short survey. This insight on what your customers want and expect makes it easier to adjust to their changing needs.
Additionally, most POS systems that work on tablets can pull reports and gather analytics, making it much easier to see which sales associates are performing the best or how different products are selling. Then you can adapt your strategy accordingly.
Tablets can also better capture customer contact information, as some customers are more likely to enter their email addresses or phone numbers into a tablet than they are to say them out loud to an associate.
There's a lot of great CRM software options on the market to help you gather customer data and view company sales on the go. If you are looking for a CRM, consider the following software.
- Freshworks CRM: This CRM system is great for businesses that want to manage leads with an intuitive user interface and access integrated calling features. You can migrate data with one click, make calls within the app, and sync your email. Check out our Freshworks review to learn more.
- Salesforce CRM: Although Salesforce CRM can accommodate businesses of any size, it is especially helpful for growing businesses that want an all-in-one, cloud-based CRM. You can access lead management features, forecast sales, automate workflows and customize reports.
- Keap: Businesses in need of an easy-to-use CRM should check out our full review of Keap CRM. This intuitive software has built-in sales, marketing and e-commerce tools that are easy to navigate.
6. Tablets bring POS marketing into the real world.
You might associate POS marketing with e-commerce, but bringing tablets into the physical store experience means you can present applicable last-minute offers to customers as they check out in person. This feature makes it easier for your customers to find new related items and simpler for you to push specific inventory.
7. Tablets drive online purchases.
Shopping is one of the most popular uses for consumer tablets, and having in-store tablets is a great way to drive future online purchases. Consumers know they can purchase goods from major brands online, but they might be unaware that their local independent retailer also has an e-commerce site.
Showing customers your online store or catalog while they're already shopping may encourage them to shop online with you in the future. As all brick-and-mortar retailers know, online shopping is increasingly replacing physical stores, so showcasing your online store to your customers is a way of demonstrating that you understand their needs. It's also a way for you to keep pace with other retail establishments, which is a win-win.
8. Tablets offer improved productivity and customer experience.
Putting tablets in the hands of sales associates can increase productivity and sales. Faster checkout and access to inventory on the go also increases productivity, which can improve the customer experience as well.
According to eWeek, over half of sales associates feel that they are understaffed, and nearly half feel overworked. Overall, 42% of retail employees say they don't have enough time to spend with customers because of their other duties.
Retail decision-makers and sales associates overwhelmingly agree that tablet technology improves the customer experience. Eighty-three percent of decision-makers and 74% of sales associates believe that personnel with tablets are better equipped to help customers.