The Role of the iPad as a Retail Tool

recognize each associate and his or her role, channel, and language. Employees can see what comes next in their individual learning, keeping them engaged in their own development.

Engaging associates though video is nothing new, but making video instantly available, without buffering and streaming, from an iPad in the the store aisle definitely is. Locally installed apps residing in the iPad software already contain the video content, and can be unleashed instantly with just a few swipes of a fingertip.

Transforming Sales Associates into Brand Ambassadors

The growth of cross-channel retail has transformed the role of the physical store and its associates from salespeople to essential brand ambassadors. A major challenge has been to train associates to deliver a consistent and accurate brand experience across the enterprise.

Custom iPad training apps, particularly those that leverage video, efficiently educate users about factors and updates surrounding the brand promise, ultimately affecting brand success. According to Forrester Research, retailers need to excite with an inspiring brand experience; educate employees on the brand through an engaging platform; and enroll employees in the cause, making the brand tangible.

Measuring the Impact: Mentoring versus Monitoring

In a survey by Aberdeen, 43 percent of organizations indicated they cannot measure the impact of their learning efforts on organizational revenue or profitability. By understanding what drives business, organizations can ensure that training and communications are directly linked to priorities and goals.

Apps are currently available that provide instant measurement and feedback via a Web site where leaders see individual results in real time, accessed by store, district, and/or region. App-based videos also offer the opportunity for parallel watching and learning. Such solutions are more relevant than basic analytics that provide an obscure number of plays that don't correlate to associate understanding and knowledge transfer.

With all this information, what is the balance between monitoring and mentoring? Retailers often struggle with information and data with relation to associates, walking a fine line between accountability and micro-management. Trackable results can serve as an icebreaker for hard conversations, provide valuable mentoring opportunities, and empower associates to be promoted from within by understanding valuable lessons in a positive environment.

Training does not have to be compliance driven, and uses conversation to improve employee retention. Many studies reveal that small positive experiences make longer lasting impressions.

The Future

A disruption within retail has taken place on a global scale. Retailers who are able to arm associates with informative, easy-to-access, and engaging technology are positioned to transform employees into brand ambassadors. IPads and the latest generation of custom apps are revealing themselves as the ultimate solution for providing much needed information to customers, and also as a platform for greater communication and growth from within.

David Harouche is founder and CEO of MultiMedia Plus.

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