Point of sale terminals in retail stores and restaurants have been using touch screen devices for a long time now, so it seems like a natural progression that they would take advantage of technology like the iPad.
In essence, this new generation of tablets is really just a portable version of what they are already used to. Pacific Sunwear is the latest in a growing group of companies to adopt the iPad for just this purpose.
Using software developed by Global Bay Mobile, Pacific Sunwear is rolling out iPads in 300 of their stores for use with inventory, sales aids and point-of-sale transaction processing.
The benefits of using iPads is considerable when you factor in that they are less expensive than the traditional terminals and take up virtually no space by comparison. They also enable sales people to be on the web to look up reference materials, direct people through the company website or even just show additional pictures or resources for items that are in-store.
The logistics and workflow depend on the software vendor, but a variety of card readers are available for taking payment combined with a stylus for providing an on-screen signature. In many cases, shoppers can have the receipt e-mailed to them instead of having a paper copy they will lose or toss in the trash.
I had one experience in a shoe store recently where I fell in love with some strappy sandals but they didn’t have my size in the color I wanted. Not a problem! The sales lady whipped out the store’s iPad and ordered them up for me and had them shipped to my house (at no additional charge)!
It might just be innovations like this that keep retail alive with the growing convenience of online shopping.
Large retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Nordstrom and Old Navy have gone this route, among considerable others. Have you experienced your first ‘purchase in-store by iPad’? How do you feel about these devices being used this way? Did you make an impulse purchase you otherwise would have talked yourself out of if you’d had to stand in line at a cash register?