IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 6 Oct 2013

New breed of tablet devices could help retailers connect to more affordable IT

Shopping via tablet

Retailers have begun to get switched onto the idea that bringing tablet computers onto the shop floor can help them tap into a smarter way to keep tabs on their product mix, stock levels, returns and orders. What’s more, tablets enable retail staff to carry out multi-functional tasks – from one device they can not only manage stock, but also carry out staffing tasks like timesheeting through to taking customers online whilst in store to browse the season’s collection.

In the fashion conscious environment, Apple iPads have seemed the default choice, but buying  multiple devices per store can soon add up to a cost that isn’t going to make the Finance Director very ‘appy’.  So it’s interesting to see that Google’s Nexus device is emerging as a real alternative, and at a price that could halve the investment required to get the store tapped into this technology.

At Retail Assist we are currently piloting the use of our Merret supply chain software services using the Google Nexus device on behalf of a high street fashion retailer, and we anticipate roll out across the estate in early 2014.  At the same time we continue to look at how ‘new kids on the block’ like Microsoft Surface could also provide retailers with new ways to connect their IT across multi-channel retail.

Despite these new options, we still love our iPads and we recognise that the brand appeal of Apple can add to the retailer’s own brand and instore experience, which could be a factor in final device choice. Retailers looking to up-spec their shop floor kit might want to remind the FD that even as the ‘expensive’ option iPads can be half the cost of a hand held terminal, so switching to tablets could be an easier pill to swallow to tap into next generation retailing IT.

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