Furniture e-tailer Made.com is offering visitors to its west London showroom an opportunity to use tablet devices during their shopping trip, in a move that the business hopes will boost customer experience and aid its customer personalisation strategy.

Shoppers can use the tablets to scan NFC tag points attached to furniture items throughout the showroom, giving them access to product information, imagery and availability. All products scanned by customers are saved in a 'shopping list', which they can then opt to email themselves at the end of their visit.

Tablets are stored at the entrance to the Made.com showroom

The system allows the retailer to collect shopper email addresses and to understand the types of product individual customers are interested in, providing the business with an opportunity to convert the sale once the consumer has left the showroom. Meanwhile, customers – with the guidance of the retailer's sales assistants – are able to create their own specific look-books they can then share with friends and family at a later date.

Digital experience company Cloudtags provides Made.com with the tablets and the behind-the-scenes tracking technology, and will be working alongside the retailer over a two-month period with the view to striking a permanent deal to offer its service in the Notting Hill Gate showroom.

Customers can scan NFC points to access product information

Cloudtags has also placed iBeacons in the showroom which, when combined with the tablets, can generate analytics around customer dwell time that Made.com may wish to use as part of its follow-up marketing or showroom merchandising strategies.

With online sales growing at a rapid rate, and stores increasingly providing a location for customers to seek expert information and touch and feel a product before buying it on the web, the tablet technology gives retailers an opportunity to monitor the role store staff play in the multichannel shopping journey.

Ollie Bath, managing director of Cloudtags, said the technology can "provide an incentive" for sales associates, as they are able to receive credit for their part in a successful sale, even if the item is ultimately purchased online.

Early figures from the trial in west London show that around two-thirds of customers opt to pick up and use a tablet in the showroom, while three-quarters of those who do then email themselves with their shopping journey information.

Customers are able to build a list of products they like

Annabel Kilner, Head of UK at Made.com, admitted that it is a difficult process for retailers to track customers journeys across the various channels now available to them, telling Essential Retail: "The more touch-points there are, the easier it is to join the dots."

She added: "As a brand we're continually looking at innovations that improve our customers' shopping experience and the feedback from showroom visitors so far has been very positive.

"The technology is incredibly easy to use and has been quickly adopted by our customers and we look forward to seeing its impact on our omnichannel strategy."

Shoppers can email themselves the product list they create

Cloudtags is also currently working with premium department store chain Harvey Nichols and clothing brand Drop Dead, using tablets in these retailers' stores to offer customers unique experiences and raise brand awareness. Bath said there is growing interest in his systems from other businesses in the industry, as retailers continue to look at ways to join up the physical and digital shopping experiences.

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