The introduction of the Apple iPad and other tablet devices in 2010 has lead to a growing trend on the sales floor. The portability and graphics capabilities of the tablet render it a powerful tool for creating more efficient transactions and improving customer engagement. The iPad has a strong presence at NRF 2011, notably at the Epicor Software Corporation booth (Booth 2105), where the company is demonstrating the power and functionality of its retail applications on the Apple® iPad® device, as well as the Apple® iPhone®.
"The iPad launch made 2010 the year of the tablet. And now tablets are the hottest consumer electronics devices, with new models from several major players just launched last week at the Consumer Electronics Show," said Randy Tofteland, executive vice president, retail software for Epicor. "Today, the ultraportable tablet computer is fast becoming a crucial business and productivity tool for retailers."
Epicor is demonstrating how retailers can place orders, process sales transactions, and support other retail applications such as Business Intelligence, Enterprise Selling and Customer Relationship Management with only an iPad device and a small Bluetooth® barcode scanner.
Offering a powerful computing platform that combines an attractive form factor with relative low cost and ease-of-use, tablets offer retailers a vital tool to improve productivity and decision making from the back office to the point of order entry on the retail floor. What's more, the graphics capability and expanded "real estate" of tablets offer retailers the ability to provide a visually appealing and rich, contextual and collaborative purchasing experience for shoppers.
Consumers Spend More Time Engaged Digitally, Retailers Embrace Mobile Computing
Never before have retailers paid closer attention to consumer technology. According to a recent research report by Gartner, Inc., "The increase of connected devices in consumer hands generally means that the audience and time spent in the 'digital world' are increasing. The impact of that is a growing opportunity for several players to increase their reach." For instance, "Increased mobility of Internet access implies new needs to fulfill, possibly unknown by consumers themselves, especially concerning context and location. Application developers, brands and retailers are all part of this value chain in which revenue growth is guaranteed."1
The benefits of mobility combined with processing speed and power have ushered in a new paradigm for retailers -- in a business where up-to-the-minute access to data necessary to drive decision making is essential, and Epicor has risen to the challenge of supporting these new devices to enhance management of the retail enterprise. When retailers began to leverage Apple iPhone devices as an extension of their computing infrastructure, Epicor responded by providing its retail customers critical functionality such as Business Intelligence optimized to run on iPhone devices, providing real-time information delivery to guide better, faster decision making.
The advent of the iPad and other tablet devices is only anticipated to accelerate adoption of retail mobile computing platforms. Already a number of Epicor retail customers are leveraging tablet devices to improve in store productivity straight through to back office processing, as well as enable the concept of the "extended aisle," where if stock is unavailable in store, it can be ordered directly from a distribution center and either sent direct to the customer or shipped to the store of their choice.
Tofteland says that while he expects many retail vendors to announce support for stand-alone retail applications at NRF, but Epicor offers a distinct value proposition -- tablet support for its full suite of retail functionality, mitigating the need for one-off integration point projects. "Epicor is taking a leadership role in ensuring retailers are fully enabled and supported as they embark on tablet computing initiatives and continue to shape of the future of retailing," he concluded.
Today, many of the world's leading retailers utilize Epicor Retail solutions and services to become more profitable, productive and competitive. Epicor's solutions work with the Microsoft .NET Framework to improve business operations and meet the evolving merchandise and service expectations of today's cross-channel shoppers. Epicor delivers comprehensive retail management solutions to enterprises in all tiers -- from regional chains to multichannel global brands. Retail customers include hundreds of marquee names, from Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, and Ann Taylor to Zales and Zumiez.
1Source: Gartner, Inc. "Market Insight: Five New Consumer Behaviors Driven by Media Tablets" by Stephanie Baghdassarian and Jessica Ekholm (Dec. 14, 2010)
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