High-end customers have high-end demands. Following a recent private viewing of the Burberry collection at London Fashion Week, in-store customers were given access to buy the collection immediately through a custom-built Burberry iPad application. According to Burberry, the app “creates luxury customer purchasing experience,” as well as allows customers to view all in-house created content, like video look-books and films. Now, 25 Burberry stores in 16 countries will offer customers the iPad when they visit the store.
“Consumers expect technologies in their lives,” said Pat Martucci, founder and CEO of Incentient, a company that offers iPad solutions to businesses. Lacking technology, he says, customers “hit the hotel rooms, and suddenly they go back to 1965.” Incentient's iPad software connects hotel guests to room service, concierge, housekeeping, and bellman services. Some hotels, like Hotel Indigo in San Diego, keep iPads at the front desk and let guests use them to send Tweets or check e-mail in the comfort of the hotel’s lobby and bar.
South Gate, a restaurant adjacent to New York City's Central Park, was the first restaurant in the city to digitize its wine list with the iPad. Using Incentient’s SmartCellar software, customers can instantly sort by price and type, as well as read a paragraph of text about each wine. With an inventory of over 650 wine labels that otherwise takes up 30 paper pages, the iPad provides a logistical relief for both management and diners of South Gate. “It helps the customers with the searching process,” says Olivier Dufeu, the restaurant’s sommelier. “They’re very surprised with it.”
One automaker, Mercedes, saw an opportunity to use the iPad in its dealership sales process. The MB Advantage software allows Mercedes dealers to begin recording key customer information while they are standing next to – or seated in – the car they are selling. It also gives salespeople on the dealership floor access to marketing programs for specific models and increases the speed and efficiency on the return of lease vehicles. “The iPad will provide a competitive advantage to our dealers by increasing their service levels through a more flexible financing process,” said Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial, in a release.
One of the first retail apps for the iPad, Gap 1969 Stream, offers customers everything they could ever want to know about denim. The app culls together information on Gap products, as well as stories and inspirations from designers, fashion insiders, and musicians. If you get tired of simply reading about denim and decide you’re actually looking for a new pair of jeans, you can browse and purchase Gap items directly from the downloadable app.
Airport check-in kiosks with hulking computer terminals can be considered passé and expensive given the option of an iPad. Earlier this summer, Malaysia Airlines launched the iPad MHkiosk. The self-service kiosk uses the company’s proprietary mobile interface, which allows passengers to book, pay, and check-in whenever they are in the airport at Kuala Lumpur. Beyond booking flights, customers can also search schedules, check their flight status, choose their preferred seats, search for lost baggage and find deals and offers available exclusively on the MHkiosk.