Has anyone else noticed how many different facets of our lives that Apple’s iPad has changed? Education. Yep. Healthcare. You bet. Entertainment. For sure. As we move into 2012, another iPad trend is forming. iPad is starting to change how businesses and customers interact. Call them what you want, “businesses, website owners, authors, speakers, colleges, etc.” these folks are beginning to use iPad as a tool for interacting with their customers at a physical location. Restaurants are using iPad as menus and making apps that allow patrons to place orders and pay their bill from their table. Retailers are building iPad apps that play educational videos to store visitors. Speakers are using iPad as a teleprompter for speeches. The list is starting to grow. We see a new trend forming and we wanted to see what you think about it.
Uses for iPad by Businesses
As we started to get into above, there are a number of different ways for businesses to leverage iPads for interacting with their community. Here are a few ideas for using an iPad to interact with your community at a physical location:
- Use iPad to display your website
- Use iPad as a customer survey tool
- Build your own iPad app for whatever purpose you feel is necessary
- Show videos to your community on iPad
- Collect email addresses on iPad
- Display your social media updates on iPad
- Turn iPad into a menu in your restaurant
- Use iPad as an educational brochure
The uses are many, and yet we are still at the very beginning of what we see as a HUGE coming trend.
The Benefits of Using iPad as a Customer Engagement Tool
Image from OnSpotSocial
Using iPad for customer engagement is such a simple idea, but it packs a powerful punch. Here are a few of the many benefits that businesses will receive if they start using iPad for customer engagement:
- People are naturally drawn to an iPad. The tool itself captures attention…
- Display educational content
- Engage your community when they are at “peak attention”, which is when they are visiting with you at a physical location
- Increase your social media connections
- Collect customer email addresses
- Show off your website
- Survey your audience
- Encourage them to make a purchase through sales promotions
This is just the beginning of the list of benefits. There are many more once you determine how you want to use iPad as a customer engagement tool. More and more companies are building their own iPad apps, as well as, 3rd party companies popping up with iPad business tool apps.
Companies Using iPad to Engage Customers In-Store
As seen on USA Today
There are already a lot of organizations out there that have jumped on this new iPad trend. Most of these companies have built their own custom apps to use with customers in their stores or at events. With that said, there are also more and more iPad apps being built around this new trend, which means more businesses will begin to buy 3rd party iPad apps to use for engaging their customers at a physical location. Here are a few companies that are currently taking advantage of this new trend:
- Stacked Restaurant – Stacked is a new California-based restaurant chain that’s putting iPads on every table to use as a menu and allow customers to place orders.
- OnSpot Social – OnSpot Social is an iPad app that allows businesses to collect Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and Customer Email from customers while in their store.
- Lebron James Unknwn Store – Unknwn is Lebron James’ new apparel store. He’s put iPads next to every sneaker so that customers can access information like pricing, stylish clothing combinations, tech specs, etc.
- Puma - Puma has built their own iPad app and is using iPads in-store to allow customers to create their own shoes.
As you can see, there are companies out there who are already using iPad to engage their community at a physical location. You might be thinking, “I don’t have the money or the skills to build my own iPad app”. That’s OK. Again, there are more and more 3rd party apps coming out that you can buy. You can also use iPad for more simple branding tactics, like playing educational videos or displaying your website at an event or in your store.
3 Web Browser iPad Apps for Displaying a Website In-Store
If you want to display your website to your community at an event or at a physical location like a store or trade show, be sure to thinking about downloading a web browser app for your iPad. There are some limitations with using the built-in Safari browser. These apps expand your web browsing capabilities, which will aid the customer experience when they’re interacting with your website on your iPad.
- Night Browser – What’s nice about the Night Browser iPad app is that it gives you the ability to adjust your device’s brightness, which is nice when using your iPad in your store. Everyone businesses lighting is set up a little differently. Make sure your customers don’t have to strain when trying to interact with your website on an iPad in your store.
- Skyfire - Are you frustrated by being unable to play Flash videos on your iPad? No more is that an issue. Download the Skyfire app and play all of the Flash videos you want for your community.
- Duo Browser – Have 2 web browsers opens simultaneously with Duo Browser. Have both Facebook and Twitter open. Have your website and your Flickr page displayed. There a lot of combinations that you can take advantage of with this browser.
Use an iPad in Your Store for Social Media
Do you have a Facebook page set up for your website? How about a Twitter feed? If so, then why not use an iPad in your store to display real-time social media updates to your customers while they are in your store. Using iPad at a physical location like your store or an event is a great way to increase your social media following. Social Media for business really caught fire in 2011. 2012 should be the year of using iPad as a retail tool. Let’s combine these two trends to find ways to allow your customers to interact with your social media through an iPad. Collect Facebook Likes at an event on iPad. Display your Tweets in your store on iPad. Get those who visit your booth at a trade show or conference to opt-in to your email newsletter program by having them input their email address into a form on iPad. With these two trends seemingly converging at once on the business world it’s inevitable that we will begin to see more and more people using iPad for social media marketing.
Will You Use iPad for Customer Engagement?
What do you think? Is iPad coming to a retail store near you anytime soon? Have you ever considered using iPad to engage your community at live events? What other iPad uses can you come up with for businesses? Leave your comments below. We look forward to hearing what you think.
Ryan Taft is a twenty-something entrepreneur with a passion for helping small businesses use online marketing tools to reach more customers and prospects, build relationships with those folks, and ultimately grow sales.