No matter what size your company is or what industry you’re in, it’s critical to stay on top of evolving mobile technology. This is part of why more and more companies are creatively harnessing smartphones and tablets to engage their target audience and enhance the overall consumer experience. With options like touchscreen dining menus and shopping checkouts on smartphones, these businesses are using mobile technology as both a marketing angle and a productivity tool.
We asked six successful entrepreneurs to note which companies have made a lasting impression with their use of on-site tablet technology. Here are their top picks.
Uncorkd has a wine and beer selection app that is delivered to the diner’s table via an iPad. It helps get rid of the intimidation of selecting a wine and actually delivers suggestions to match any item from the food menu. They have rolled out to a couple dozen restaurants nationwide and, on average, sales are up more than 20% for wine and beer at these first locations.
Sephora, the major beauty retailer, has a phenomenal digital strategy involving tablets in stores. They have recently introduced a pilot program using iPads preloaded with Sephora’s apps at point-of-sale. Also, the iPads with Sephora’s apps are used by Sephora’s in-store beauty experts to help consumers find the best products. It’s a brilliant way to combine commerce and technology that helps the beauty consumer in a big way.
Boothify is a real-time web-powered photo booth set up using an iPad. While the photos print immediately like an old-school booth, the live photos — along with tweets and Instagram posts — are all streamed onto a branded event website and projected onto a screen at the event. Because it is portable and can be completely branded, it works for any event.
Starbucks partnered with Square to allow customers to pay for their coffee with their smartphones. This will be done by utilizing an app by Square, which has already created a product to allow small business owners to accept credit card payments with their smartphones. With the Starbucks app, you’ll simply hand over your smartphone to the counter clerk who scans a bar code for your purchase. The payment is charged to a credit card linked to your Square account.
The intersection between mobile, social, and in-market experiences is inspiring a lot of exciting innovation. One of my favorite examples of this is EpixMix, a mobile application for skiers that allows you to capture your run through GPS technology and on-mountain pictures, and then share these with your friends. It’s really a natural fit — something that derives intrinsic value for the end user by providing a service that can only be captured through mobile capabilities.
6. Gorman Farm
It’s not a company that you’ll hear a lot about because Gorman is a small farm just a few miles from my home. They have a farm stand where I’ll stop to get produce that was literally out in the fields a few hours before. They use an iPad — with a custom-built stand — as a cash register, along with a scale so that they can easily calculate just how much that bag of tomatoes will run you.