A century ago, local communities in the UK and Europe were built around small towns and villages, with local and independent shops such as butchers, bakers and sweet shops thriving with business. These shops were the pillars of society.
Today, the retail experience is a very different picture.
The obvious developments in technology, and the further recession, has encouraged many shoppers to buy online rather than from traditional stores. According to the Centre for retail research in Newark, UK, internet searching is now comparatively easy and this has made online retailing very attractive for a wide range of products. In 2015, the online spend for Europe topped £156.67bn with sales growing 18.6% over the last year, which in itself is pretty staggering.
Furthermore, retailers like Amazon that have thousands of products on next day delivery all under one roof (and even with Sunday delivery!) it is ultra-convenient to shop using their “one click” buy it now button. In fact, you can even (and some have been known to) do it in your sleep!
For those consumers that don’t want to shop online, the retail experience is often still based on online choices and influences. There are many that are a fan of Showrooming. Showrooming is when consumers visit a store to experience a product hands-on and then buy it cheaper online. This has become common practice, with 20% of consumers admitting to engaging in this practice regularly in order to get the best deal.
It is no surprise therefore that retailers are choosing to spend and invest in technology for their retail environments, and focus on the moving trend of mobile data and the fast paced life. Retail focus on the growing use of mobile technology is an additional factor in making online retailing attractive and convenient.
Tablets can be used in many applications including:
- As a kiosk tool, to imbed digital content into retail environments.
- As a POP marketing tool – to be used at point of purchase, for newsletter signups, special offers or for other marketing initiatives.
- To enhance the customer shopping experience – to check stock in another branch, to order stock in to the store, or to even keep children amused whilst their parents shop! The flagship store of London retailer Karl Lagerfeld has installed iPads in dressing rooms for example to allow shoppers to take selfie photos with their clothing choices to send to friends.
- To save time – tablets can take immediate payments or collect information when a human is not physically available, to save time for example when checking in at a hotel.
- For store promotions – Kate Spade has replaced paper signs throughout their stores with iPads placed strategically to display product information and relevant content. Part of that content will be user-generated images designed to increase dwell time.
A staggering two-thirds of retailers surveyed are currently testing tablets, and 11 percent of respondents have fully deployed them. RIS (Retail Info Systems News) believes this double-digit acceptance is a significant milestone in an industry that moves in a measured, deliberate fashion.
LocknCharge has had major successes with deployment of tablets into retail companies, to charge and store their iPads effectively.
This is because of issues retailers are facing with a number of tablet management issues in-store. These include:
- Security and safety of iPads or other tablets when charging.
- Problems with battery life and charging capability on the shop floor.
- Portability and accessibility of devices.
- Connectivity – will it be constantly connected to a power source or re-charged daily?
- Syncing to data – automatic syncing of devices becomes a problem on a large scale.
The flexibility and choice of mobile device charging and security solutions from LocknCharge means there are solutions for all types of retail environment and that cover a wide range of needs – for example, the CarryOn Charging Station, which can store and charge up to five iPad or tablets whilst still being ultra-portable. This could be suitable for locations that require till or counter units with limited storage space, but quick access to tablets when needed. For larger retail outlets or back-office charging, something like the Carrier 40 Cart could be suitable, which can charge multiple devices with a clever basket system allowing deployment of tablets onto the shop floor when necessary in smaller quantities.
It is clear that tablets are transforming retail experiences by fitting into retailers’ plans to align their stores with how consumers want to shop. The compact nature of a tablet means they are ideal for portable and hand held usage, and can be quickly and easily accessed. However in conclusion, thought needs to be given by stores into how these tablets will be managed by staff and stores on a large scale to make their tablet deployment projects a success.
L2 Intelligence Report 2013
Tablets on the Rise, RIS, March 2013