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Z Gallerie deploys iPads in-store for simpler furniture shopping

Home decor retail chain Z Gallerie is using iPad devices to support in-store sales staff and enhance the overall shopping experience.

The iPads serve as a central controller with visibility to all of the merchant’s access points.

“The iPads are a mobile, portable solution for salespeople to deliver a better, more personalized customer experience,” said Don Meyer, senior manager of product marketing at Aruba Networks, Sunnyvale, CA.

“Equipped with iPads, the Z Gallerie salespeople can provide customers with additional product details, competitive shopping information, etc., about the products of interest right on the showroom floor,” he said.

“The Z Gallerie salespeople use this, in particular, for furniture sales.”

Z Gallerie has deployed an Aruba network to deliver secure, high-speed network services for the iPads.

Easy access
The iPads are at easily accessible access points in 55 stores. The mobile devices are being used to make it easy for salespeople to help customers access additional information about products online while they are on the showroom floor.

With consumers knowing there is a wealth of information available about products online, including customers, giving them access to this information on the showroom floor can help insure that their questions are answered while they are in the store.

IPads are being used in stores to enhance shopping.

The strategy also recognizes the fact a growing number of consumers are going into stores to take a closer look at products and then going online to find the best price, in a practice called showrooming. By putting an iPad in the store, this gives customers a way to compare prices while making sure store associates have a chance to interact with the customer and capture the sale.

The merchant plans to introduce mobile point of sale capabilities in the future.

“Possible future applications for the devices include on-the-spot gift registry, registration for customer loyalty programs and events, suggestions/recommendations for return shoppers, as well as conducting sales transactions,” Mr. Meyer said.

Increasing productivity
A growing number of retailers and restaurants are beginning to use mobile devices such as iPhones, iPod touches and iPads in their locations as a way to give customers access to information that can enhance their experience.

For example, restaurants such as Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen are deploying iPads that include the FavoriteEats application to drive participation in digital loyalty programs (see story).

Additionally, Canadian retail chain London Drugs is equipping associates in its 74 stores with iPads to help consumers compare prices for electronics and other items while they are shopping (see story).

Earlier this year, Sephora implemented software from Agilysys and RedIron to turn iPod touches into mobile point-of-sale devices across a number of its stores (see story).

“Retailers are finding that these mobile devices can help their employees be more productive and efficient, while greatly improving and personalizing the customer experience,” Mr. Meyer said.

“We’re seeing retailers adopt the use of iPads and other smart mobile devices in-store so their employees can do everything from checking inventory to fielding customer questions to the processing of transactions – all with an eye toward improving the customer experience,” he said.

“Retailers are also looking into allowing customers to use their own mobile devices as they come into stores to download product information, coupons, special deals, locate merchandise more easily, etc.  Retail is definitely a growing market and we expect the trend to continue for the rest of this year.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York