5 ways retailers can win with social media and tablets in their stores

July 16, 2013

Over the past 2 – 3 years, as tablets have become more widely utilized by consumers around the world, more and more retailers have started to integrate tablets into their in-store experience. Retailers, like JC Penney, have been building their own custom apps to run on tablets in their store. Others are showing a mobile version of their website.

More still are using tablets in-store to run third-party apps designed for customer loyalty programs. As those retailers are getting more comfortable using tablets for in-store marketing, they are beginning to see the awesome potential of combining social media with their in-store tablet marketing.

Social Media has taken the world by storm over the past few years. Consumers are spending hours of their precious time every single day on the industry leading sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as, new fun tools like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine.

The sheer number of people spending time on these sites daily, combined with the amount of time that they are actually spending, has basically required all businesses use social media for marketing to those consumers.

Create In-Store Engagement

If you think about it, tablets and social media are truly made for each other. Tablets are the perfect tool for retailers to use for in-store social media marketing. Consumers love to use social media when they are on-the-go, out with friends shopping, etc. Those same consumers are also more comfortable using tablets than they were a few years ago.

Retailers can serve up social media sites on tablets in their stores and encourage consumers to interact with them. There are a number of creative ways to leverage tablets for social media marketing in-store, and as the trend grows, more and more tools, apps, and creative software solutions will start to hit the market for retailers to utilize.

Tablets for In-Store Social Media Marketing

As of today, the use of tablets for in-store social media marketing is still in the early adopter phase. Like any trend, this means that the amount of third-party apps, custom software solutions, and even the amount of creative ideas for how to leverage tablets for in-store social media marketing is still small.

That said, I see this exploding as this trend matures. We are already seeing more and more third-party apps from publishers like iCapture, QuickTapSurvey, and my company (OnSpot Social) hit the market for in-store social media marketing. This space is going to ramp up quickly once retailers start to tap into the immense potential of this new marketing strategy.

For now, here are 5 ways retailers are currently using tablets for in-store social media marketing.

Retailers are using tablets to…

  1. Show YouTube videos of their products and services to customers while they are in-store

  2. Have customers Like their Facebook page or Follow the Retailer on Twitter right there on the spot in the store

  3. Create an in-store photo booth designed to let customers take pictures of themselves, products, etc. This tactic is really big at trade shows and other events.

  4. Display their website or one of their social media sites, like their Twitter feed

  5. Show who’s checking in on foursquare

You’re probably thinking, hmmm, this could be a PR nightmare waiting to happen, and you’d be correct. That said, it’s all about being smart with the way you use tablets and social media, the access you give customers, and whether or not the tablet should be used by customers with or without employee supervision. Right now retailers have to be more cautious as they are probably using some software and apps that possibly were not designed to be used in a store by consumers.

Again, as the trend matures and more apps come onto the market designed around this trend, those safeguards will be built in. Retailers will still have to be smart, but that comes with any interaction with customers. This new marketing strategy is no different.

Just the Beginning

My gut says that this marriage of tablets with social media is just the beginning of a long journey for retailers worldwide. There is huge potential for consumer engagement through tablets in-store. As more and more retailers start leveraging tablets and social media in their stores the trend will build on itself as more and more consumers will be exposed to it.

Some of those consumers will have jobs or run businesses whereby they bring the idea to their company and the meme will be viral at that point. Tablets and social media just offer too much potential for totally revamping the in-store experience for retailers that it has to continue to grow from here. What say you?

Do you still this as the next big marketing trend for retail businesses? Have you engaged with a tablet in a store while you were shopping? How did it impact your shopping experience? Leave a comment below to share your story or feedback on the article.

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