David Judge, creative director for experience design consultancy JudgeGill has said that iPad technology must be adopted by stores as soon as possible as it looks set to alter consumers' instore experience.
Judge, who has helped develop Kiosk in store touch screen technology for brands including Adidas, Hertz and Virgin for over 14 years, has predicted that the iPad and its associated technology will revolutionise instore interaction for consumers and the retailer’s environment as a whole.
“I’ve seen the highs and lows of touch screen technology in store; but with the many benefits digital interaction in store brings comes numerous logistical problems – i.e. the expense of the devices in the first place, cabling, the need for temperature controlled server rooms and bespoke software that continually needs updating, often on a global scale. Then there’s the maintenance of the terminals, which often end up with a “Not Working” sign on them while stores wait for the repair team to get to them,” explains Judge.
“The iPad, and web services approach, puts an end to all that and offers retailers a cost effective form of wireless, mobile digital interface in store, rather than hard-wired and fixed location, and a reliable product from a brand that adds value in its own right.
“Not only is the cost of each iPad worth the investment, it comes with the reliability of being an Apple product and can be returned to the manufacturer if problems do arise. It’s also a format that people are increasingly familiar with and the software can be easily updated.
“The limited size, in fact, is the only issue. It’s good for personal close up, but will not work for a group very well.”
Judge continued to say that the iPad, along with the iPhone and other such devices, was making multi-touch technology accessible, flexible and cost effective both in terms of hardware and software.
“The iPad will be just the first of many such devices from a multitude of suppliers/brands,” he added.
“So if you’re a skincare brand for instance, with say, 4,000 counters, it becomes a very exciting and cost effective way to enhance the retail experience whilst linking with web through an interface that is familiar and intuitive for the shopper. And its not just retail - The Opposite House hotel in Beijing does not have a check-in desk or even a check-in area. The staff come and sit down with you in the bar, waiting area or even in your room and check you in using a tablet. In China, they have to scan your passport when you check in. Instead of faffing around with a scanner, they simply take a picture of it!”
“The key consideration for retailers is that the technology needs to facilitate the brand experience and be part of the overall approach; and in order for the technology to be integrated with the experience, usability is key.”
Judge concluded: “In the same way that the iPhone has made the mobile internet tangible and sexy, I’m sure the iPad will do the same for tablet devices and those retailers that bring it into their stores first will see immediate benefits in terms of positive brand perception as well as increased sales.
“We’ve already proposed how to use mobile technologies to make the shopping experience exciting, personal and relevant, and we will be rolling out solutions in coming months.”