As tablets continue to have a profound impact on how consumers shop in the digital world, multichannel retailers are realising that they can also be used to enhance the in-store experience.
The upsurge of e-commerce is a clear indicator that customers are craving a more relevant, personalised shopping experience, whenever and wherever it suits them. Hence, the pervasive adoption of smartphones and increasingly, tablets such as Apple’s iPad as well.
We recently reported that worldwide tablet sales were increasing at a rate more rapidly then previously anticipated, almost 10 percent faster. To bring that into a local context, tablet devices are expected to become the ubiquitous device in almost 40 percent of Australian homes by next year, according to Nielsen’s latest Australian Online Consumer Report.
While many retailers are rushing to leverage the tablet as the ultimate device to support online shopping at home, tablets also present a wide range of opportunities for multichannel retailers in-store.
Multichannel retailer, Myer, is the latest company to use tablets both as a sales tool, and to inject its bricks and mortar stores with an enhanced shopping experience.
Last week, Myer opened the doors to its Fountain Gate store, which occupies only 10,000 square metres of selling space. That’s one third of the size of the retailer’s flagship store in Melbourne’s CBD.
As Myer CEO Bernie Brookes recently told the Sydney Morning Herald, the reduced size and structure of the new store was a reflection of digital opportunities.
”You don’t need endless aisles of product when you can come into the store and get it delivered the following day rather than have a monster amount of inventory and the world’s biggest stores,” he said
Unleash the iPads.
Rather than stocking the retailer’s entire product offering at the new premises, staff members at Myer’s Fountain Gate store are now equipped with iPads, which will enable them to share product information with customers, assist with local inventory availability and importantly, facilitate online purchases all from within the store.
Myer joins a host of multichannel retailers that are leveraging similar opportunities by getting creative with the way tablets are used to engage shoppers.
In CBRE’s recent study, The Role of Real Estate in the Multichannel World, it appealed to 50 international retailers – with a combined, global store network of more than 32,000 stores – and discovered that 80 percent were undertaking efforts to enhance their multichannel capabilities by establishing digital kiosks in their stores.
International beauty products retailer, Sephora, recently introduced iPads to the makeup consultation sections of its stores, as a way to give customers another channel to easily find products, read ratings and reviews, learn techniques and interact with the menu of services offered in-store. Additionally, those shoppers that are loyalty program members can use the tablets to sign into their personal accounts and view prior purchases. The iPads are also being utilised at the point-of-sale in Sephora’s stores, so shoppers don’t have to wait in line to buy their products. Instead, they make their purchases online at the counter.
At the recent Shop.org Annual Summit, Darrell Sandefur, Director of Digital Arcitecture at Luxottica Retail offered insights during his session, for those retailers looking to leverage tablets as an in-store application.
He explained that in order order to provide a good user experience, it was important to have a clear plan to drive engagement with customers. While it may seem obvious, this should include optimising content for tablets and other mobile devices, as well as providing clear, simple instructions for those customers unfamiliar with using tablets.