How iPads Are Taking Over Small Business Retail
When Apple announced the iPad Pro, its largest and most powerful tablet yet, it started the next chapter of tablets used for entertainment, creativity and gaming. There are millions of iPads in living rooms across America, and that number continues to rise.
But behind the scenes (and right in front of our faces), iPads are being used to drive billions of dollars in business every year. While some retailers use Android and Microsoft tablets, most use the iPad Air 2. Small businesses coast to coast are finding new uses for iPads in their companies and replacing expensive and dated hardware with this mobile device.
Point of Sale
The most common use for an iPad in retail stores is as a point of sale. Not only does this give employees the freedom to ring up a purchase anywhere in the store, but it also frees you from expensive merchant accounts that require more traditional, pricier systems.
Traditional POS systems range from $3,000 all the way to $50,000, according to the U.S. Small Business Association. That’s why business owners are flocking to the monumentally cheaper option of using iPads andlow-cost services like Square that charge only 2.75 percent per credit card swipe.
Some retailers, especially ones dealing in electronics or repairs, need to manage customers for service appointments. The days of grabbing a number and waiting your turn like it’s the DMV are over thanks to iPads. These devices can be used to check customers in from anywhere in the store.
Take the Apple Store as an example. When you bring in a computer or mobile device for service, an employee greets you at the front of the store and checks you in for an appointment. That same employee also uses the iPad to manage the appointments to make sure everyone is helped on time. Apple’s software is proprietary, but apps like SetMore let you book and track thousands of appointments for your business and create customer profiles, so you can see their service history before each appointment.
If a customer isn’t interested in making a purchase, but could possibly return in the future, lead capture is essential to turn that maybe into a yes. Mere seconds feel like hours when a customer is ready to leave the store, and most won’t take the time to write down a phone number or email address.
Paper and pencil send customers running, but the iPad makes it effortless to grab a customer’s information. Software like iCapture records names, emails and zip codes and organizes them into a database that’s easy to access. The best part is that customers can rest easy that all information is voluntary and protected locally to avoid identity theft.
If your retail environment consists of personal shopping appointments or one-on-one interactions, you can use iPads to give interactive demonstrations to customers. The advantage may be nothing more than the aesthetics of an iPad over printed materials. Or you can use videos or motion graphics to complement a demonstration. No matter the why, an iPad is a useful tool on the floor when showing off your merchandise.
Finally, Apple’s native Keynote app, which is similar to PowerPoint on PCs, is a great tool for creating slick slide shows and graphics that look professional.
Photo Credit: Square