A couple of weeks ago I called the tablet computer the gift that keeps on giving, and some Black Friday numbers out from I.B.M. confirm just how important the tablet is becoming for retailers.
Highlights of an I.B.M. Digital Analytics Benchmark include some familiar figures about the growth in online shopping: Black Friday sales online were up 20.7 percent over last year. Sales on mobile devices, I.B.M. says, accounted for 16.3 percent of online sales even though they’ve only been part of the shopping equation for a relatively short time. Tablets have only been a factor for a few years, but according to I.B.M., on Black Friday they were behind 41.4 percent of sales made on mobile devices.
Category: Mobile Technology
Barcode scanning opened up a new world for shoppers by allowing them to use their smartphones to quickly and easily gather information about products they were considering for purchase. Now, image recognition technology makes it possible to make a purchase based on a photograph of an item, giving mobile shopping applications a real opportunity to significantly enhance their user experience.
Image recognition technology is a key element of augmented reality. And while it’s hard to say whether we’ll all be wearing Google Glasses in 10 years, it’s a safe bet that we’ll be using our phones in new and different ways in two years, even less.
It happened to the home telephone, the wristwatch and the dashboard navigation device. Each has been replaced to varying degrees by mobile devices. Now it’s happening to the cash register.
More and more retailers are going a different route when it comes to their POS systems, and increasingly they’re giving up their cash registers in favor of iPads. I am not talking about the odd mom-and-pop business using an iPad to avoid buying a cash register. Major retailers are making the switch.
Device’s versatility is an advantage
Urban Outfitters is one. It will be replacing all its cash registers with iPads and all of its sales associates will carry them. Urban Outfitters’ chief information officer, Calvin Hollinger, says, “[iPads] can be turned towards the customer, who can view content, put in personal information [and] use it as a gift registry.” It is less expensive and far more versatile that a traditional cash register system.