Associates can better assist shoppers and place orders on out-of-stock items.

Like a handful of other merchants, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., better known as PacSun, is blurring the line between sales channels by introducing iPads in stores. The retailer has armed sales associates in more than 300 locations with the popular tablet computers to give associates full product information at their fingertips and enable them to place orders on PacSun’s e-commerce site for customers when a product is out of stock in the store. PacSun will deploy iPads in an additional 100 stores by year’s end.

“Clearly retailing is undergoing a fundamental change and the appropriate adoption of new technologies can be a critical piece in building relevance with today’s consumers,” says CEO Gary Schoenfeld.

Associates use a retail iPad app from Global Bay Mobile Technologies. The vendor customizes the app for each of its clients. The PacSun version enables:

  • Personalized selling. Through the app’s Look Book functionality and rich media content, PacSun store associates can walk customers through various outfit combinations and suggest products based on a customer’s preferences.
  • Assisted selling. Associates can use the iPad to place online orders for customers on the spot. The app provides in-store and online inventory availability.
  • QR code scanning. PacSun has integrated QR codes—a form of 2-D bar code—into the iPad app to deliver exclusive content directly to the smartphones of consumers who scan QR codes on the screen of the iPad.

“The iPad is changing the way retailers interact with their customers on the sales floor,” says Global Bay CEO Sandeep Bhanote. “Ultimately, using the iPad to increase multichannel sales and items per transaction makes the retailer successful.”

In May PacSun, No. 255 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, debuted an iPhone app for customers that includes a QR code scanner.