No matter whether it’s retail, hospitality, or government, modern business is all about the customer experience where consumers or patrons effortlessly interact with a brand. And increasingly business is turning to tablets to assist them with the task.
Serving as kiosks, mobile Point of Sale, or just catering to the omnichannel environment, the humble tablet is being employed for a range of applications to accommodate today’s tech savvy consumer.
In fact, commercial adoption of the tablet has seen a resurgence in sales over recent years, with Sky News noting sales in professional tablets have bucked an otherwise slumping trend. Meanwhile the New York Times states nearly half of all iPads are now bought by corporations and governments, equating to service and hardware revenue of $25 billion.
Here are 10 ways these tablets are being utilised to improve the customer experience.
Mobile Point of Sale
Over the next three years Mobile point-of-sale revenue around the world is expected to reach almost $50 billion, rising from just $6.6 billion in 2016. Its rapid expansion will see one in every three point-of-sale terminals accommodating mobile payments and the trend will largely be accommodated by tablets.
Driving its adoption is convenience, versatility and the Cloud, with a lengthy list of big-name software brands catering to mobile POS. The tablet means the once static POS can now go to the consumer, cutting time spent in the queue, allowing speedy ordering and payments, while recording and offering a wealth of information.
From the retail fitting room to the bank lobby, tablets are rolling out as handy little aids that allow customers to access information about the offerings available.
A study by Research and Markets found, globally, the interactive kiosk market is growing at a compound annual growth rate 13.43 per cent as they fill the role of interactive directories in shopping malls, airports, corporations and more.
In many cases kiosks provide an additional level of customer service to that offered by staff, enabling consumers to interact with a brand within the establishment in real time, and then use the services of staff if required.
The virtual assistant
The tablet can also go far beyond offering simplistic information, furnishing business with a very real opportunity to support or replace staff. Engadget cites Macy’s as an example of this technology in use.
In 2015 the retailer commenced trials of tablets in dressing rooms.
“These devices, provided by the company for use in-store, let people request and try on different items without having to go out of the room and get those themselves. Once a customer finds something they like, the delivery arrives via chute.”
Meanwhile, Forbes notes German based liquor store BASF is using tablets combined with RFID tags as a virtual sommelier. Shoppers enter their wine preferences on a tablet connected to a digital shelf. Bottles with the features they prefer then light up, with additional information about the wine on offer.
In addition to providing information, tablets are also used to capture it, offering services that enable consumers to input data on-site. Examples include customer loyalty registrations and gift registries.
In 2015, US retailer Best Buy took advantage of the opportunity, following the unveiling of its gift registry service and app with in-store kiosks at all their stores to help registrants and gift-givers view and print wedding registry lists.
The mobile billboard
Yes, tablets can be interactive, but they can also fill the role of a flexible, accessible and instantly changeable advertising billboard. At the push of a button promotions, deals, offers and new products can flash across their digital screens.
Looking to cut the queue for consumers checking into a hotel, bank or airline? Then tablets may be the tool required.
They’re now being employed for this task across a whole range of sectors including doctor’s waiting rooms, events, and government organisations like councils and motor registries. The benefits include real time data entry, time savings and a seamless brand experience.
As early as 2013 Qantas Airlines replaced over 20kg of paperwork with a single tablet for pilots, utilising over 2000 iPads on Boeing and Airbus flights. It was similar for other airlines with the Wall Street Journal noting American Airlines rolled out 8000 iPads that year, while JetBlue utilised 2500.
Meanwhile, field workers across the globe are using tablets to access and record data in real time as they go about their jobs. It not only cuts paperwork but ensures customer information is immediately recorded and accessible, no matter where they are.
Of course, tablet usage doesn’t just occur within premises, and business has a wealth of opportunity to provide a superior omnichannel environment by focussing on the mobile tablet user.
Now, more than ever consumers expect their online interaction with a brand to cater to their device of choice. This may include purpose-built apps that accommodate the tablet, or websites that are designed with the tablet front of mind.
E-Commerce Illustrated notes catering to tablets is an important strategy where investment exceeds return.
“Though tablets represent a smaller portion of traffic to ecommerce sites, tablet shoppers typically convert higher and spend more per visit than smartphone visitors. According to eMarketer, tablets drove 61% of mobile commerce sales in 2015.”
It’s not just the customer turning to the tablet, this handy mobile device offers a host of benefits to staff wielding them as well.
From the bank manager who can sit down with a customer anywhere/anytime and quickly reference their information, to the sales associate who can photograph, input information and load product listings instantly to social media, the tablet enables staff to do their job more effectively, more swiftly and with more knowledge at their fingertips than ever before.
Kick back, relax and enjoy the in-flight entertainment courtesy of a tablet. That’s been the mantra for leading airlines Qantas for the past few years, with the international carrier first turning to iPads in 2012.
Since then they’ve been rolling them out consistently, with Australian Business Traveller noting this extended beyond international flights to iPad Minis for Australian domestic routes. The devices offers access to movies, TV, audio and more.
These days even the corner café employs the tablet for entertainment, encouraging clientele to check their email, indulge in some idle games or peruse the digital news on tablet kiosks while they sip a morning latte.
Importantly, all these uses of the tablet enable business to glean a wealth of insight about their customer, courtesy of the analytics and big data that they offer.
On a greater level this allows business to better understand their consumer, and better tailor their offerings online and offline in the future.
The benefit of the tablet is this data is stored in the Cloud and available in real time, meaning business can quickly comprehend common queries, problems, conversions and brand touchpoints.
Explore more at Seamless
On March 13 and 14, Seamless Australasia will further explore the consumer experience in a conference and exhibition that spans payments, e-commerce, retail, and banktech.
Vitag will be among the exhibitors, showcasing our range of software and tablet stand solutions for business. For further insight into how tablets can be incorporated in your business, Vitag will be situated at Booth 83.