Why Tablet Commerce May Trump Mobile Commerce

While all eyes in the online retail space seem to be on social networks and smartphones these days, we’re seeing an emerging trend with tablets that could be the most interesting of all. Only 9% of web shoppers now have tablet devices, but here’s the big deal — most of those people already own smartphones (as well as PCs, of course), and they are saying that they actually prefer to use their tablets for shopping. Not only that, but the ownership of the tablet device itself actually increases the amount of time that people spend online. And we’re anticipating a hockey stick in tablet adoption in the next five years on top of all that. You can read more about these findings in the report my colleague Sarah Rotman Epps and I just wrote titled, “Why Tablet Commerce May Trump Mobile Commerce,” which is based on findings from our joint research on online shoppers with Bizrate Insights. Some of the most compelling aspects that are helping to drive the shopping experience on the device:

  • The larger screen. Not surprising, given the choice between a smartphone and a tablet, consumers find it a lot easier to use the latter to surf the net, click on links, and type in the critical biodata to purchase something online, especially since PayPal Express doesn’t seem to be integrated onto most mobile commerce sites yet.
  • The portability. Consumers love taking their tablets around the house and on the go. The living room is the most common room where the tablet is used, but out of the home is also popular, particularly at restaurants and in airports.
  • The richer content. The apps built for tablet devices are engaging, innovative, and unique. The page flipping, horizontal scroll, gyroscope, and audio recognition that tablets have gave us the unique experiences of TheFind’s Catalogue, Oakley’s OakleyView, and TV commercials that push coupons and offers directly to our devices.

Now the big question for retailers in particular is: While more people may be increasingly accessing web content on tablets, does that mean that content needs to be specially adjusted for the device since in most cases you can do nothing and it renders well enough? For anyone with a tight budget or limited resources, the answer is probably not. But what tablets present is a unique and growing opportunity for deeper customer engagement that can make the Internet shopping experience much better for discovery, inspiration, and interactivity. And much better than social networks and smartphones ever could. 


Tablet Commerce and mobile Commerce

If the consumer is using the tablet inside the store (I was at A&F San Francisco over the weekend and saw quite a few shoppers waiting in line at checkout and browsing the web with iPad in hand), the opportunity and challenge for retailers is to provide broadband service for the shoppers tablet and a portal for the brand specific content. This way the shopper gets access to the broadband for the tablet and gives retailers an opportunity to engage with the shoppers with captive content on the tablet.

wi-fi in stores the big to-do for retail CIOs

You're spot on. That will probably be one of the biggest initiatives for retail CIOs in the coming 5 years--getting their stores wired to accommodate the usage of these new devices not just by shoppers but by their own store associates. It's going to be an imperative for commercial landlords to invest in this as well.

Geofencing will increase value

Geofencing will allow the retailers to proactively locate, reward and incent valued customers when they are located in store or in vicinity and create a merger between the digital and physical store experience. This stuff is so cool!

Store mapping

I think additional features like the ability to instantly see a map of the store you are in so you can FIND where things are when you walk in would be huge. With the Super everything stores these places have all become what Costco and Sams Club were. I wonder how many dollars are lost revenue for people that cannot find what they are looking for and don't ask someone. Stores leveraging tablets or phones for that capability will def see value and re-purchase.


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Good post

Great post.....in our business we are seeing great push for tablet based apps for online business....

I think portability will be

I think portability will be the deciding factor here, so tablets will rule one day.

I don't agree

Mobile marketing will remain because people will always need phones and tablet marketing will start targetting commerce conducted on laptops and notebooks. According to Apple, iPads sales were ipad sales hurting macbook air and I believe this will eventually be case for a lot of laptops out there.

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