Tablets key to renovating retail experience

Published on the 07/01/2013 | Written by Motorola Solutions, iStart

icon_case study


  • Life at Home


  • Retail


  • To provide a way for customers to access information about products of interest and save it to their watch-list. Also, a way for the client to gather information on customers’ preferences.


  • Motorola ET1 tablets running a bespoke solution by Ablaze Software.


  • An improved customer experience with product information available in a self-service format at their fingertips.
  • Better lead generation and more freedom for sales staff to do their jobs.
  • Fast and easy access to information on the spot.


Motorola Solutions

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NZ: 0800 443 485
P: 0800 225 293

Smart tablet technology gives customers immediate access to product information in lifestyle show homes...

Imagine walking through a show home full of the latest interior design, fitting and renovation products and ideas, and then getting detailed information about what you want delivered directly to your email inbox.

That’s the reality that will soon be offered by New Zealand lifestyle group Life at Home.

The company recently purchased 18 Motorola Solutions’ ET1 enterprise tablets and will use them to deliver a better experience for their customers.

The ET1 will be used to display items that customers are interested in, automatically saving their watch lists on the fly.

At the end of each day, customers will be able to access their watch lists and detailed product information by logging into the Life at Home website.

Designed as an enterprise-class tablet for retail, hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing environments, the Motorola ET1 blends enterprise-specific features such as business application support, multi-user login, enterprise security, hot-swappable batteries for all-day use in demanding environments, and a ruggedised shell that overcomes the limitations of consumer-grade devices.

The ET1 is designed to give mobile workers a new and intuitive way of conducting transactions, sharing and collecting information, connecting with fellow team members and helping manage tasks in a mobile and reliable way.

Earlier this year the ET1 was honoured with a Good Design Award in the Business and Technology category in the Australian International Design awards.

The Life at Home street of show homes has incorporated the ET1 within a unique environment – an accumulation of eight architectural homes, built by eight independent Master Builders, providing a single location where consumers can come and view new products and building solutions.

“This is the first of many streets,” says Kim Ellett, managing director of Life at Home. “Once we are up and running and fully operational, we will focus on introducing new streets nationwide.”

The company was looking for an innovative, pioneering way to enable individual consumers to gain product information and greater choice including the ability to save to their personal watch lists or to request supplier calls about specific products.

“Given the innovative nature of the Life at Home concept, a unique mobile solution was required, and with the help of our software developers, Ablaze Software, the ET1s provided the ideal solution,” says Ellett. “The durability of the product was key. The ability to have a good scanner along with being Android-based were other major contributing factors in choosing the ET1s.”

When the tablets are docked and recharged each night, they sync with the server and populate the day’s selections for customers to view and manage when they log into their online accounts.

From concept to showroom
Because of the unique nature of its business, Life at Home turned to specialist mobile application developer Ablaze to customise the interface and functionality on the ET1 tablets.

“Life at Home approached us with a simple requirement: they wanted to scan barcodes for visitors entering their show homes and then scan products that those visitors were interested in,” says Leisa Weir, sales and marketing manager for Ablaze.

“Armed with the ET1 we were able to demonstrate how the company could further enhance the customer experience by developing additional features such as embedded, enlarged product images, data synchronisation with the company’s website, and onsite customer data collection.”

Weir says Life at Home was particularly impressed with the speed and ease with which the tablets scanned product barcodes and displayed the relevant information on screen.

“From a developer’s perspective, because enterprise-strength security is baked into the ET1, we did not have to lock the device down as part of the development process. Also a lot of the native device functionality was easy to build into our software because it’s Android-based and standardised.”

Says Ellett: “The ability to track the products that consumers are interested in will allow ‘like-minded’ products to be linked. Knowing which items people liked is attractive to us because it means we can deliver more targeted marketing communications in the future.”

Ablaze was supported through the development process by Motorola Solutions distributor Pos Pos New Zealand.

Home and away
With each show home containing hundreds of items, throughout the street there are thousands of barcodes available to scan. That means both speed of capture and seamless communication between the tablet and network are critical to the success of the project.

Ellett says the ET1 presented a better, more targeted experience for the consumer, providing customers with the chance to cut through needless clutter with more self-service options to fast track the information and products they’re interested in.

“This new service will create a link between consumers and suppliers, generating considerable future business. It will also create significant partnerships between Life at Home and the builders and suppliers.”

The next frontier
While the initial rollout of ET1s was limited to wi-fi communication between the devices and the show home server, the new version of the tablet introduces 3G and real-time syncing between shopfloor and customer account.

“For the 3G model, consultants will no longer need dock terminals or depend on a wi-fi connection to update records,” explains Ross Taylor, enterprise sales manager, Motorola Solutions New Zealand. “It will instead be possible to process transactions whenever and wherever the consultant needs to, including directly from the shopfloor.

This in turn will allow for greater mobility for both consultant and customer, and more timely access to data.

“It will also help streamline backend-related processes. For example a follow-up call with the customer will now be scheduled when the ‘contact me’ box is ticked, rather than waiting for a convenient docking time. This will enable Life at Home to better schedule its consultants’ time and become even more responsive to customer requests.”

Ellet says that in the lifestyle retail business, experience is everything.

“This is a revolutionary concept for New Zealand,” says Ellet. “Life at Home expects to set a new benchmark for show home marketing, and we believe we will create a new trend in the market.”

For Life at Home customers and staff, cutting edge enterprise technology is about to deliver new standards of service and mobility.


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