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Since Apple Inc. unveiled the iPad in April, a spate of retailers including Burberry, Puma, Things Remembered, Converse and Nordstrom, to name just a few, have rolled out tests of tablet computers at select stores around the country. The move is all part of retailers' response to how consumers are shopping everywhere — online, on their smart phones and in the stores.Now if Border's had begun using the iPad or at the very least had an online presence to really utilize the iPad or similar tablet devices. Who knows they may be in better shape instead of having to close 30% their stores amidst bankruptcy.
Retailers are using iPads as mobile catalogs so sales clerks and shoppers can browse inventory not available on store shelves. They are fastening the tablets to counters so shoppers can design their own products. They are arming sales associates with the electronic clipboards to gathering customer data. And they are testing the device's potential as a portable cash register.
"It is taking retail outside the four walls to where the customers are," said Sandeep Bhanote, CEO of Global Bay Mobile Technologies, a South Plainfield, N.J.-based mobile retail software firm. "You're talking about changing the way you do business. That's what this is all about."
Make Up For Ever, a unit of French luxury conglomerate LVMH, was among the first retailers to give the technology a try. The cosmetic company set up iPad stations in October at its boutiques inside Sephora stores in New York's Soho neighborhood, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Las Vegas.
The iPad is fixed to a gondola and allows shoppers to update their Facebook pages, tweet about their shopping experience and access face charts for browsing makeup combinations. Eventually customers will be able to upload a digital photo of their own faces for a virtual makeover.
All the same this underscored the conclusion I have about the iPad. It's a luxury item and is being treated as such. A cool device at home that could also have commercial or academic uses in the real world. It's very cool that one could fork up a lot of cash to be able to use such a device at home.