Tablet computers are joining flesh-and-blood sales representatives to help consumers on the floors of retail stores.
An increasing number of chain retailers are letting tablets provide answers to technical questions about products or match you with the best make and model of a product for your needs. Various shoe stores have tablets to allow you to purchase a pair that might not be in stock. Cosmetics stores use tablets to show consumers how different types of makeup would look on their face, and tablets are providing answers in automobile dealerships and electronics stores.
Scott Paul, who is CEO of ArmorActive, which supplies chain retailers and manufacturers with tablets for the sales floor, says technology complements personal help.
A computer probably will have a lot more detailed information about a product than a sales rep will, he says.
But Paul concedes that a consumer’s choice based on information that’s found on a tablet could be misguided if he/she rejects other products, because they aren’t described by a tablet. To counter that bias, stores should use manufacturer-supplied information only for maintenance and troubleshooting questions. But Paul says if manufacturers continue to pay to have these tablets in stores, consumers are likely to research slanted information.
“The question is,” he says, “Who gets to these tablets first to keep the information unbiased?”