As retailers arm staff with iPads, checking out is like checking in
By Jay Keller
Multi-channel retailing is best described as the merging of all the physical and technological ways a customer can arrive at the point of sale.
Inevitably, the customer dictates the route they take, whether it’s through a retail store, via an online storefront or a combination of both, the goal for retailers is to offer customer-centric systems and processes that serve all of these channels.
In 2013, the average college shopper will spend $1,121 as there will be 34 percent more back-to-college shoppers overall, according to a new NRF and Shop.org survey asking what’s important to online back-to-school shoppers.
The survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, found that college shoppers will buy back-to-school items at department stores, discounts stores, university or college bookstores and office supply stores.
“Technology is constantly changing the way people shop,” Office Depot VP of Customer Experience Christine Buscarino said in a statement last week.
Beginning July 28, Office Depot is rolling out on-the-spot help for customers by arming employees with iPads to provide speedy checkout from anywhere in the store or to order online products not in stock, with the promise of free delivery.
“It’s about shopping for and receiving products at a time and in a way that is most convenient,” Buscarino added.
The new point-of-sale platform also provides instant access to product info, in-store availability and customer reviews for associates and customers to utilize.
“By offering these new tools for our customers, we are bringing Office Depot’s website capabilities into our retail environment and giving customers and associates access to product information right at their fingertips,” Buscarino concluded.
As for finding stores, the Shop.org survey found that two out of five smartphone- and tablet-toting shoppers plan to look up retailer information using these devices.
Fiona Swerdlow, head of research at Shop.org, advises retailers to promote offers across all channels but also “promote ‘buy online, pick up in store’ services if available.”
Swerdlow also suggested that retailers avoid hiding important information on mobile sites “below the fold” or below the initial focal point a reader sees when a site opens.