Tablets Are Revolutionizing These 4 Businesses

Tablet innovation is the path to new growth for these corporations.

Mar 11, 2014 at 6:30PM


Source: Flickr user Leon Lee.

Tablet use is higher than ever before. An estimated 52% of Americans used a tablet in 2013. Businesses are taking notice, and experimentation in the commercial uses of tablets has led to significant new mobile potential. As a result, these five companies are using tablets to make big changes.

DineEquity brings tablets to your tables
Tablet menus are swiftly growing into a mainstream trend for restaurants around the country. With proper software and upkeep, tablets are incredibly versatile, allowing customers to view menus, place orders, and digitally pay their bills. The potential to cut costs and enhance customer service is immense. One leader to watch in 2014 is DineEquity (NYSE:DIN), owner of both Applebee's and IHOP. Applebee's will be getting 100,000 table-installed tablets this year, with software designed to manage the dining experience from beginning to end, reducing time and saving money for DineEquity.

The restaurant corporation's stock has been on a steady rise in the 2010s, and investors were recently rewarded with a $0.75 first-quarter dividend, announced in February. However, while IHOP sales increased by 2.4% last year, Applebee's sales fell by 0.3%. The tablet adoption is likely designed to reinvigorate interest in the Applebee's chain and drive sales back up. If successful, the tablets may also make their way to the pancake house.

Hyatt Hotels replaces agents with apps
Can a tablet act as a service representative for a hotel? Hyatt Hotels (NYSE:H) is betting that it can. The company is working with Concierge Interactive to roll out tablet apps that would allow visitors to book rooms, set up spa dates, add personal requests, and create nearby vacation plans. Hyatt is another company that saw steady 2013 growth, which may be the reason the company feels confident investing in digital tech. Its 2013 fourth-quarter adjusted net income climbed to $51 million from $33 million in 2012. The company opened 16 new hotels in its recently reported fourth quarter and is planning to expand even further in 2014, so its tablet technology should get more use than ever before.

LVMH bets big on tablet cosmetics
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (NASDAQOTH:LVMUY) is responsible for some of the most iconic brands in the fashion world, including Louis Vuitton and Sephora. But the Vuitton fashion lines are losing revenue and dismaying investors. Forecasts by Sanford Bernstein predict that in the next five years, Sephora cosmetic products will become LVMH's biggest and most profitable division.

Sephora has long been recognized as a leader in the tablet commerce sector. Its app features tutorials on how to use its cosmetics -- and once users have found a look they like, they can buy products directly from those tutorials. Between Black Friday 2012 and 2013, Sephora's tablet sales grew by 221%, while Thanksgiving tablet sales rose by almost 300%. If LVMH is betting on Sephora as its new moneymaker, expect even more tablet focus from the company.

News Corp packages education in tablets
Last year, the education division of News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS), Amplify, unveiled its own tablet, designed especially for the classroom. It was an ambitious move, but it failed to deliver good results (teachers and students found the tablets easily breakable). Now, News Corp is ready to try again. The company is dropping Asus and partnering with Intel to create newer tablets with extra durability and the same focus on schools. Amplify is also creating a digital curriculum to accompany the new tablets, which could drive additional revenue.

While News Corp's EPS beat analyst expectations in its most recently reported quarter, overall revenue dropped by 4% year over year as the company faced difficult advertising trends. Its news and information services took one of the biggest hits with a 9% decrease in sales. If its tablet program proves lucrative, Amplify could receive more attention from its parent, but if this second tablet also fails, News Corp may cut the education branch.

The bigger tablet scene
If the tablet strategies used by these companies succeed, it will mean new growth for all tablet producers. Chipmakers, retailers, and many others stand to benefit from this kind of experimentation. The mobile world is more exciting than ever, so keep tabs on ongoing developments in the industry.

An Innovation Much Bigger Than Tablets
Let's face it: Every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big -- like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s before the consumer computing boom, or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is that most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure play" and then watch as it grows in explosive lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 trillion industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

Tyler Lacoma has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Hyatt Hotels and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information