Finally, a solution for ill informed sales people at watch retail locations. Everyone who is not a watch lover is suddenly filled with scorn at this pretentious sounding remark, but let me explain. Buying a fine watch is an exploration not only into the image and heft of a watch, but a requires an explanation (or answers at least) into the movement, construction and heritage of watch. Sometimes the question is as simple as "what movement does it have, or how does it work?" Other times the question is more complex, and equally important; "why does the watch cost so much?" The vast majority of people selling watches do not know this information, and those that do quickly climb ranks out of customer service or sales positions. Ignorant sales people are a problem in all manners of luxury watch retail (actually all wrist watch retail). The situation is tantamount to going to buy a car and the sales person not knowing what type of engine the car has or what type of fuel it requires.
A wonderful solution to this problem has been developed and combines a lot of what people like about online sales - easy access to information. The Watch@Tablet was developed by the FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie) in partnership with Signage SA. The Watch@Tablet is essentially a touchscreen notebook computer (no keyboard). The device is preloaded with the special software (which no doubt utilizes wireless Internet connectivity via WiFi to update itself). The software is at the heart of the sales tool and does a few important things. First it helps train sales staff and keep them up to date with new information. Retailers can give their staff quizzes, and have them view information videos and presentations all via the device. Next, the Watch@Tablet is an invaluable sales tool. No matter how ill informed the sales person, if they have decent presentation skills and know how to navigate the device, they show the customer everything they need. One of the greatest assets of the device is being able to show customers complex concepts visually. Question about how a power reserve or tourbillon works? The Watch@Tablet should have videos and diagrams that will convey the information clearly to customers.
I think that even the most experienced sales people will enjoy using this nifty device as it gives them even that much more information and resources to share with the customer. The key will be knowing how to switch between human interaction and using the device to best effectuate a sale. A lazy mismanaged sales person may rely solely on the device to do the sales, when that is not the point - not to use it as a crutch, but as an enhancement. Not sure about pricing yet, but I have a feeling that watch brands will want the retailers to have the Watch@Tablets so figure a minimal cost for the hardware, with likely on going costs for the software service and data. Probably a cost for the watch brands themselves to be listed.
Initially, the brands to be featured on the Watch@Tablet will be those who are members of the FHH. See a list of the partner brands here. While not a short list, these represent some of the top players in the luxury watch market and no doubt will use this to get an edge over those brands not featuring a fancy multimedia presentation on the Watch@Tablet. I really think that this is a good idea with a lot of potential. Stores should be using the Watch@Tablet now as it was officially launched only recently. Hopefully now watch store sales people will be able to divert my intentionally complex or obscure questions with one of these.