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The Role of the iPad as a Retail Tool
Provide associates with technology and training to meet consumers' changing expectations.
Posted Jun 27, 2014
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In recent years, there has been a major shift in the way consumers shop, led by the tremendous growth of and access to mobile devices. Digitally savvy consumers are entering stores already well-informed about products' features and prices, and expect store employees to know more than they do. As many as 75 percent of consumers recently surveyed said they would walk out of a store if they didn't have access to knowledgeable associates.

What Is the Solution?

Retailers who invest in a digitally savvy and well-trained sales staff will excel at educating, converting, and upselling, creating loyal customers and pre-empting competitors' online sales.

Finding technology to both provide associates with information on the products they are offering and recognize and reward customers for their business has taken time. But clearly, tablets and iPads have become the solution. According to IHL Group, by 2015, tablets and smartphones will be a $5 billion market per year, with 2.7 million tablets in North America being used for retail and hospitality.

Customized retail apps that work in tandem with existing software and hardware can be created quickly, and retailers can work with a service provider to develop fully customized apps that provide associates with the exact training they need.

Additionally, using iPads for retail:

  • Helps takes associates out of the back room, allowing them to remain on the selling floor, where the consumer is the priority;
  • Maximizes training dollars, as associates can be trained while on the sales floor, not during additional allocated time in the back room;
  • Correlates business to results and provides accountability;
  • Uses low bandwidth/high-quality video and audio; and
  • Is extremely cost effective.

Bite-Sized Learning

The best learning apps are based on very short segments that keep associates' interest while allowing them to click on or off as needed, and then quickly pick up the module in the exact same spot. Particularly for Millennial associates who have grown up with computers, iPads, cell phones, and video consoles, learning on mobile devices and apps is where they are most familiar and comfortable, and providing that opportunity creates a more satisfying work environment. App-based learning programs can 

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