Using an iPad Kiosk in a Retail Store

Increasingly both retailers and product manufacturers are using iPads and other tablet kiosks to communicate and interact with customers. Interactive kiosks can be a great choice for this for a number of reasons, including availability and customer experience.   

So what are retailers doing with iPad kiosks?  While the possibilities for this type of interactive touchscreen are endless, the use cases we’ve seen for retail so far generally fall into one of several categories:

Customer Retention and Engagement

  • to collect customer information and build an email marketing list.
    Bloch, a dancewear manufacturer, uses iPad kiosks to encourage potential customers to sign up to hear about specials and promotions through their email list.

  • to encourage customer feedback.  
    Sears has set up iPad kiosks for visitors to leave feedback on their shopping experience and to let the company know if there was something specific they were looking for, but couldn't find.
  • to sign up for loyalty programs or check current loyalty program points.

Product & Brand Awareness

  • to highlight new products.  
    Kate Spade uses iPads for digital signage to promote weekly clothing releases.  With new products available every Saturday, this use of digital signage both saves money on printing costs and keeps signage fresh.

  • to share background information about brands or products.  
    Whole Foods uses iPad kiosks to share information about how they source the local and organic foods that they sell, helping customers understand an important part of their business that might otherwise go unseen.
  • to create a virtual experience.   
    Ford has created a Showroom iPad app used in dealerships that allows potential customers to experience specific features of the company’s cars. Visitors can also share information about the car they are considering with other people that might have a say in the purchase decision.

  • to display information about products unavailable in-store.  
    Home Depot uses iPad kiosks in some stores to highlight their selection of small tractors, allowing customers to compare models without having to maintain stock in-store.

Customer Support & Assistance

  • to accept an order and/or payment.  
    Panera lets customers in many of their stores order and pay through an iPad kiosk, allowing them to skip the line at the cashier altogether.
  • to scan for a price check on an item or check the balance on a gift card.
  • to help make complex purchasing decisions.
    JCPenney’s jewelry departments have iPads that lets shoppers add rings to a virtual notebook and compare multiple options side-by-side.

  • to request assistance from staff.  
    Apple does this itself in its own retail stores, allowing customers to ask for help without having to try to flag down the attention of a busy staff member.

Customization & Personalized Recommendations

  • to identify a perfect product match.  
    Sephora uses several recommendation kiosk systems in their stores to help visitors select the perfect fragrance or skin care product. Their Pantone ColorIQ system allows an associate in-store to scan a customer's skin to find an exact foundation color match.

  • to create a custom version of a product.  
    Adidas is using iPad kiosks to highlight part of their website that allows customers to design their own sneakers either right there in the store or later from home.
  • to add a personal touch to a gift.  
    Things Remembered lets customers design their own gifts & engraving on in-store iPads, speeding a process that was previously a paperwork nightmare.

Social Media & Local Connections

  • to share through social media channels.  
    Make Up For Ever, a cosmetic retailer, has installed iPads stations in stores that allow customers to update their Facebook page to share what they are buying with friends.
  • to sign up for store events or classes.  
    Nike stores use purposed iPads to allow visitors to see class schedules and sign up for available slots.

  • to highlight specific local content.  
    City Sports' iPad kiosks allow visitors to view information about what’s happening locally, including running clubs and area events.

While many of these projects likely required custom software development, as more retailers adopt iPads and other tablets in-store, more ready-made app solutions are being introduced.  

I’ll be highlighting some of these in future posts and am excited to see what new retail application for the iPad comes up next!