By Mike Davin, online editor, Boating Industry — With the recent release of the Motorola Xoom and the Friday release of Apple's highly anticipated iPad 2, what was a brand new type of computer a year ago is becoming more mainstream.
In the meantime, some clever retailers have figured out ways to use the hype surrounding the devices to draw attention to themselves, as well as test some novel uses for the tablets that may actually improve the retail experience.
This article, which originally ran in the Chicago Tribune, talks about the variety of retailers testing ways to utilize the new technology.
"Everybody has something in development," Ken Nisch, chairman of a retail design firm in Michigan, says in the article. "This is not going to be a novelty. It's going to be a sea change in how retailers transact and interact with customers."
There are all kinds of interesting applications for the devices. I've heard of restaurants using iPads as interactive wine lists — complete with links to descriptions and reviews, for those of us who are otherwise forced to say, "Well, it's not the cheapest one on there, it must be pretty good."
The question is, have marine retailers yet figured out ways to leverage the new technology to their advantage? There would seem to be some obvious uses — Want to see a list of our used inventory? Here you go. Want more specs on this model? Just click here.
I'm sure there are more creative ideas than those, however. If anyone's thought of any, feel free to share below, or shoot me an e-mail with your idea for a possible future story.
We have been using iPads for about 9 months now. They are great at boat shows and save us from having to carry around stacks of paper or leave a prospect while we go find the requested information. Before the show, we load the iPad with model brochures, complete interactive pricing/quote spreadsheets, photos of models not on display, and videos of boats under sail. We can also browse to our used boat listings and even do quick valuations for potential trades. Much of this has also proven useful when out on boat showings. Of course we can check email and access our customer database. We can be almost as productive as being in the office, and immediately provide the customer with the information they need.