When it comes to e-commerce, retailers must ensure they are tablet-ready
Tablets are becoming the device of choice for online shoppers. Here are some ways to keep your brand ahead of the curve
We used to be a nation of shopkeepers where the customer was king. However, with the decline of the high street, retail is now dominated by the shopping mall model – centralised hubs where the customer experience becomes increasingly homogenised.
The rise of digital technologies, mobile commerce and analytics means there is a real opportunity to put the customer back at the heart of retail. In particular, the explosive growth of tablets is creating an opportunity for innovative and interactive customer experiences.
Thanks to the exponential rise in their popularity, there’s a good chance you’ll be reading this on a tablet now. In the past two years alone, tablet ownership has increased 282%, while desktop usage continues to steadily decline. This phenomenal rise has been driven, in part, by a growing consumer preference for more convenient and instant methods of consuming goods and services.
As ownership of tablets becomes more widespread among consumers, they are increasingly the device of choice for people wanting to shop where and when they want. The larger screen size has meant that retailers are able to offer levels of interactivity not previously possible on smaller smartphone devices; 33% of tablet owners use their device to shop online, while recent research by Adobe (pdf) shows that tablet users actually spend twice as much as smartphone users when purchasing through their device.
These statistics highlight the importance for retailers of ensuring they have a complete and intuitive tablet-enabled experience. Tablet users now want the option to do everything through the convenience of one device, from browsing to point of sale through to delivery, so it is paramount that retailers are able to offer this end-to-end experience.
Despite this, many retailers are still behind the curve when it comes to ensuring websites and payment mechanisms are optimised for tablets. A recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) found that while 74% of the top 50 retailers in the UK now have a mobile-optimised site, only 8% have one optimised for tablets. While this suggests that mobile is now central to many retail brands’ marketing strategies, it is clear there are still fundamental elements missing that will ultimately hamper their business.
Adobe’s research also found that only 38% of smartphone users employed an app to make a purchase, compared to 46% of tablet users, reinforcing the need for retailers to have an increased focus on this platform. Businesses that are not equipped for the complete experience, across a range of devices, will lose out to rivals that are.
Not only does this affect one-off purchases – where a customer will go elsewhere for a more convenient, hassle-free experience – it can also affect brand loyalty in the longer term, as customers seek out alternatives that better fit in with their daily habits. So, with tablet being such an important platform, how can you improve your tablet experience for customers?
Consumers can feel less secure paying via a mobile device, so it is more important than ever to reassure them and guide them through the purchase process. Include security logos and accreditations, and make sure your branding is consistent at every customer touch point.
Complete the experience
Make sure the customers can do anything and everything they want: browse, shop, pay, arrange delivery. Put it all in one place to ensure a seamless experience from start to finish.
Any form of data entry is a big no-no for a mobile site, so don’t make your customers enter anything but the most important information. Dealing with fiddly webpages to enter card details is one of the main reasons that shoppers drop out of the process when buying via a mobile device. So allow customers to make repeat purchases without having to enter card details through a single-click checkout.
Make the viewing process easy for your customers by incorporating responsive design so that the web page adapts to fit the screen on any device. Not doing so means shoppers leave your site frustrated, rather than completing the transaction.