Tablet Computing and Point of Sale

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By Christopher Smith

Chris is a developer, writer, tech enthusiast, and husband. He blogs about productivity and technology at Lifehack.org. Christopher blogs via Contently.com.

Tablets are the hot thing right now, but they’ve been around for many years.

It wasn’t until Apple launched its iconic iPad that consumers began thinking of a tablet as a viable option for a computing device.

The state of tablets before the iPad was bleak.

Older, Windows-based “tablet PCs” were basically notebook sized with a
swivel touchscreen. These screens were not as responsive as the newer
capacitive touchscreens, and most had to be used with some sort of
stylus. Also, the operating system and software wasn’t meant to be used
in a touch-specific way.

With the success of the iPad, however, businesses have slowly started adopting tablet technology to help with everyday issues, and in particular, sales.

Oddly enough, Apple itself only adopted its own iPhone and iPad for point of sales help in its own stores just about a year go.

With the cost of tablets coming down every week, the options for using them for point-of-sales is becoming viable for even small businesses.

How Tablets Help Point-of-Sale

If you’ve ever walked into a Verizon Wireless store, you may have noticed that the salespeople use tablets (either Windows-based or iPads) to help assist you. These tablets let the salesperson step away from the counter and be on the floor with customers and potential buyers.

With 3G and 4G technologies becoming more prevalent, it’s now easier than ever to use a tablet type device anywhere you go. This creates even more leeway for sales people as they can travel to customers’ places of business and have their sales information right at hand. This allows sales people present their company’s offers to businesses on site.

Tablets make it easy for user input, with large screens, potentially intuitive interfaces, and responsiveness. They’re also easily portable.

Changing the State of POS

Instead of customers queuing, cashiers and salespeople with access to tablets can approach customers and work with them on the sales floor. This allows the sales person to intimately work with a customer and helps keep lines down to a minimum. Fewer lines means less customer dissatisfaction.

The “Apple Geniuses” used iPads during the launch of the iPad 2 to help customers reserve their new device while waiting in line. Apple employees used their tablets to sell iPad 2s to those in line while tracking inventory information. They could then process customers faster and let customers know that they had ran out of new iPads far before they could reach the front of the line.

These type of point-of-sales tactics can greatly increase customer satisfaction to keep lines down and waiting times less.

Reducing the Gap Between Decision and Purchase

Tablets enable sales people to take orders at any time, greatly reducing the time between a customer’s decision to choose a product and their actual purchasing of the product.  By removing this friction between selection and purchasing, businesses are improving the chances of customers buying more and thinking less. 

Sounds good, right? One thing is for sure; tablets aren’t going anywhere soon. 

Because of their mobility, size, responsiveness, battery life, and ease of use, they are a perfect tool to enable sales people to interact and service their potential customers.

It should be a no-brainer for businesses to start implementing their “tablet initiative” for their sales teams as soon as possible.

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