How tablets can enhance the in-store shopping experience

The rise of mobile device sales is showing no signs of slowing down, with global research firm Forrester predicting that 60% of North American online consumers will own a tablet by 2017. Their report also indicates that the tablet may end up becoming a "mainstay device" worldwide, a label that will put it on par with the microwave oven in the kitchen, according to The Guardian.

Such a powerful shift in technology is also driving some interest within the retail industry in a bid to entice a tech savvy and hyper-informed consumer base. You can see a remarkable level of engagement and innovation not only among web-based companies but also in businesses with a more traditional retail presence.

The tablet is an ideal omnichannel tool because it successfully balances computing power with portability and ease of use. Because of this, companies looking to adapt the mobile point of sale (POS) model are turning to tablets to create a bridge between what exists in their e-commerce platform and what they stock in the display shelves.

Customer engagement drives sales

A brick-and-mortar store used to rely on location, advertising, and quite a bit of serendipity in order to get shoppers to walk into their stores. The rise of e-commerce and mobile devices has completely fragmented retail marketing, however, which means your customers are entering your store for completely differing reasons.

Some shoppers, for example, may be driving to your store to look up a specific product that they've already researched online. They may want you to automatically ship their purchase straight to their home so they won't have to transport it themselves. They may also want to order an out-of-stock item and be notified of its availability through their smartphone.

A tablet-based POS setup inside your store anticipates these customer needs by fully integrating inventory, shipping, and sales processes into one tablet. By having a dynamic omnichannel infrastructure, you are giving your customers the freedom to design their own shopping experiences.

In-store shopping still matters

Stores that focus on selling apparel, furniture, cosmetics and more rely on the tactile quality of their products to tempt the consumer into giving them a try. Beyond the look and feel of the product, customers also have more pragmatic considerations, such as product sizing, allergies to certain materials and more. These issues tend to be underserved by a purely online business model.

In a report by IQ Intel, they claim that retailers remain as vital as ever by helping consumers "cut through the clutter by analyzing context and relevance of a shopper’s behavior." A responsive point-of-sale infrastructure allows shoppers to retain the experience of browsing through racks and spending time in a store while still enjoying some of the convenience inherent in online shopping.

Whether the tablet ends up becoming a staple device in stores or merely a trend is a difficult thing to say. The face of retail has changed so drastically in the last decade or so that any sort of predictions can come off as a foolish endeavor. However, the ability to adapt to new technologies like mobile devices lies at the heart of success within the retail industry.

Connected Business designs retail solutions that seamlessly combine the assets of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores into one engaging and dynamic retail experience. Learn more how you can take advantage of our integrated omnichannel approach. Watch this video.

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