Sears Adds Apple iOS Devices to Enhance Buying Experience
Chalk up another win for Apple in the POS column. Sears is going all-out on the Apple devices, bringing iPads and iPod Touches into department stores for both customer and employee use. Here’s the scoop on how Apple is silently making serious waves in the retail industry …
The first stage of the rollout of iOS devices at Sears will hit 450 stores across the nation, with iPads and iPod Touches serving to enhance the customer service and shopping experience while customers peruse the aisles, in addition to acting as the mobile retail purchase points we’ve already become accustomed to. Sears employees also will use the devices to manage inventory or order a product for a customer if it’s out of stock.
Sears is supporting the majority of this technology upgrade through its own internal IT resources, which is impressive. And adding to that level of iOS commitment is Sears’ decision to add free Wi-Fi to every Sears store. Sears wants its customers to be on the web to literally “compare prices before they purchase to make sure they’re getting the best price on the products they want.”
That’s an incredibly bold move, but I believe it’s the right one for Sears. Beyond the gimmick factor, having Wi-Fi in house could draw in those otherwise-protesting male shoppers, and more bodies in the store often translates to more purchases, even if a better price can be had on the web. This consumerization-of-IT-in-retail trend should also inspire VARs working the POS area to brush up on mobile device management — even with an iOS unit physically tied down, there’s plenty security and compliance needs that must be addressed.
Sears is following in the footsteps of the iOS adopters before it, including the Long Island Rail Road and Lowe’s. How long until iPads completely replace traditional POS stations in convenience stores such as CVS and Walgreens? I think it’s only a matter of time.