How can emerging technologies such as iPads benefit retailers?

Mobile technologies may have become the norm for consumers, but that’s not to say retailers are necessarily making use of these technological developments. One area in which devices such as iPads can benefit retailers is customer service.

Richard Goodall, group sales and marketing director at retail systems and software provider PCMS, says they have the display, functionality and speed to be able to add significant value to the customer experience. “In shoe shops, for example, staff on the floor can use these devices to quickly check stock in front of the customer - rather than having to make a trip to the store room. If they don’t have it, they can look at other stores and their own website to place a reservation or order if required,” he suggests.

Furthermore, mobile devices can help reduce queues and improve transaction times by enabling goods to be processed while customers queue. This can mean all they have to do is pay when they reach the till. “They can make existing processes quicker and simpler and reduce pressure at the till during busy periods,” says Goodall.

They can also act as a management tool to streamline operations, providing store managers with the ability to keep real-time tabs on transactions, inventory and sales figures while being out on the shopfloor or in the warehouse. For regional managers, such devices can collect and view data without needing to carry around bulky laptops - especially important for those operating in city centres where safety and ease of transport is important.

“Emerging technologies can help retailers streamline their sales and service processes and, importantly, keep staff connected with key information when they’re not sitting behind the desk,” says Goodall. Together, these benefits will help deliver improved profitability.