A survey of U.S. retailers released this week shows that more than half plan to test tablets for use in their stores with an eye toward broader deployment .
The growing sales and popularity of tablets make it easy to forget the modern tablet phenomena really only got rolling in 2010 with the release of Apple’s first iPad. While many companies have moved aggressively to deploy the new devices, there are far more examples of more cautious testing and pilot deployments. A new survey indicates retailers fall more in the latter category, with plans for bigger deployments soon.
A new “Retail Embraces Tablets” survey released this week indicates 2012 could be a big year for tablet adoption by retailers. The survey of over 50 retailers by RISNews.com, showed that only a small percentage (6%) have actually deployed tablets fully in their stores, while another 28% are testing them. But an additional 31% said they plan to begin testing in 2012. The national survey was co-sponsored by Motorola Solutions and RBM Technologies.
“Our research reveals that tablet adoption is no longer a question for retailers. They know they are going to deploy tablets in the near-term, it’s just a matter of what types of tablets and how they’ll integrate them into the store experience,” said Joe Skorupa, editor-in-chief at RIS News, in a release.
Retailers were almost equally divided on the question of just what kind of tablets they plan to adopt. In the survey, which allowed multiple answers, 58.8% of the retailers said they wanted rugged tablets that can survive a drop test, while 56.9% said they want to use consumer tablets that are inexpensive and user friendly.
How tablets will be used
And why specifically do these retailers want tablets at all? Major drivers listed in the survey responses included sales floor support (51.9%), updating/refreshing the store experience (48.1%), increasing comp-store sales (46.3%) and connecting to enterprise apps (42.6%).
When asked which tablet operating systems were high on their priority list, Apple's iPad came out on top at 72%, but Windows trumped Android for second place -- 58% to 49%.
“The feedback from the retailers surveyed for this study reflects the growing interest we’ve seen over the last 12 months in deploying our store merchandising software on tablets,” said RBM’s Chief Operating Officer Dan Wittner. “Tablets designed specifically for the enterprise are bringing operations to the store floor in order to ensure all locations are performing exactly as they were designed to.”