The iPad has proven to a smash-hit new device for a variety of consumer applications; web browsing, book reading, video watching, email checking, game playing…but what about shopping?
iPad apps are not generally focused on shopping experiences. Does shopping at home via an iPad app offer a significantly better experience that shopping via a web browser? Do shopping apps drive higher sales?
Except for broadly adopted portals like Zappos, eBay, and Amazon, it’s unlikely that consumers will download retailer-specific shopping apps. Would you download a JCrew app next time you want to buy some new socks? Time will tell.
Aggregators and APIs
Shopping iPad apps that aggregate a variety of brands are showing potential. Shopstyle has been successful in driving millions in sales for various well-known brands like Nordstrom, Pottery Barn and Sephora.
For commerce, a viable real near-term opportunity for the iPad may be to empower consumers in the retail store itself. Things Remembered, for example, is a personalized gift store that uses iPad kiosks in-store to allow customers to design a huge assortment of gifts. Categories include weddings, housewarming, and even ‘new job’.
In the restaurant chain business, Ziosk from Tabletop Media has created convenient, dining-specific touchscreen kiosks that speed up the payment cycle. Ziosk puts a tablet device on each table. The self-ordering and self-check out experience increases overall convenience and frees up tables faster.
Ziosk-ready restaurants are reporting impressive numbers. Promoted menu item sales are up as much as 100% in some chains and up to a 50% increase on dessert sales because of the interactive menus and ability to custom-order your own dessert. The restaurant e-mail club has a 300% adoption increase when using the Ziosk system.
At the Delta Airlines terminal at JFK airport (soon to be La Guardia as well) the installed iPads for pre-flight entertainment to check e-mail, read the news and even to order food before their flight.
A higher level of in store convenience
What do all these examples have in common? An in-store, touchscreen kiosk puts more power in the hands of the consumer. These intuitive, fun, self-service systems give consumers new interactive tools that provide a higher level of customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased engagement and higher sales.