In the same way the iPod revolutionized the music industry, many are predicting that tablets, such as the iPad, will revolutionize retail.
Apple has sold more than 80 million iPads since its first release in 2010. Apple’s competitors have since released competitive products. The market is not yet saturated, but it will be soon. Tablets will be everywhere. EMarketer predicts that during the next four years, the U.S. tablet-using population will increase by 45 percent, while Forrester Research forecasts that the number of tablet owners will grow to almost 500 million people by the end of 2017. EMarketer also expects more than 50 percent of the U.S. population is predicted to own a tablet.
Let me say that again in case you missed it: In just a few years, half of the country will be on tablets.
Our own Adobe Digital Index (ADI) report notes “that tablets are reshaping how consumers engage with brands online, competing with—but not yet replacing—PCs, while becoming a distinct and superior channel to smartphones.” So if you’re trying to strategize about how to best allocate your resources (time, energy, money) in planning for mobile engagement with brand Web sites, I would suggest you seriously consider planning for the tablet.
Consumers are currently asking, and will soon be demanding, that your organization be tablet-ready. This is especially applicable in retail. In part one of this series, we looked at common tablet user behaviors and discussed organizational responses such as responsive design. In today’s article, we will focus on the ways in which tablets are impacting retail, as well as a retailer that is setting standards for best tablet practices.
Say Hello To The New Couch Potatoes
EMarketer cleverly exhorts, “Say goodbye to the traditional couch potato.” The traditional couch potato sits on the couch like a lump watching television and eating potato chips, right? Well, the new couch potato has one eye on the TV and the other on a second screen. That second screen is often a tablet.
Take a moment and let this fact sink in: Seventy-two percent of “U.S. tablet owners pay equal or more attention to their tablets when watching TV.”
How can your brand leverage this? Do you still need more incentive to put in the extra work to become a tablet-friendly retailer? Here are three more motivating facts:
1. Tablet users spend, spend, spend: Eighty-four percent of tablet owners shop, while 63 percent of them buy; this figure represents more than 70 million people. Not only do they spend, but they spend more than the average consumer. According to ADI, in general, the average order value on retail sites is about 20 percent higher on tablets.
2. Tablet users love to research retail options: What’s the typical path to purchase for a tablet user? The top three retail-related tablet activities are researching products and preparing to make a purchase; purchasing a product; and reading customer product reviews.
I think it’s important to note that tablets are a research-friendly device for consumers. This can be leveraged to a brand’s advantage. Forrester explains that tablets offer different and creative discovery tools, such as “in-app search or rich-content experiences such as Flipboard, where users can double-click or drill down into content that they want to know more about instead of having to pop out to a search engine.” EMarketer’s “Key Digital Trends, A Midyear Update” concludes that while “smartphones are shopping assistants, tablets are for browsing and buying.”
3. Tablet users like to tap on ads: Not only do tablet users like to spend, they also have a higher ad engagement rate and are 56 percent more likely to tap on an ad on a tablet than on a smartphone.
In “Don’t Confuse Tablet and Mobile Marketing,” Forrester explains, “Marketers will see the benefits of designing immersive tablet experiences for people discovering and researching their brands and products. They should maximize TV ads by creating tablet extensions for multitaskers as well as creating new marketing experiences in the digital home.”
Nordstrom: A Luxury Retailer Catering To Tablet Users
How can retailers bring themselves into a position of favor and “wow” in the eyes and minds of consumers? As I asked in an earlier article on mobile wallets, marketers must be constantly asking, how can we create a “purple cow,” or make our organization stand out?
Nordstrom is a great example of a retailer that has created a tablet-unique experience that sets its brand apart from the rest. Its iPad app has three main engagement functions, including a “virtual dressing room, personalized home page, and social sharing.” Nordstrom has plans to use push notification for communicating with consumers when new app features arrive. Nordstrom’s leadership explains about the importance of the virtual dressing room in opening up opportunity for “cross sell and upsell,” as consumers literally use their tablets to “dress” themselves from head to toe.
So, for example, let’s say a consumer goes into the app to get a dress for a special event. She begins browsing dresses and chooses one. The app then suggests shoes and accessories that complement the selected dress. This experience inevitably creates an irresistible opportunity for the consumer.
Nordstrom has brilliantly created a fun and engaging experience that can potentially move consumers away from “single-item purchases and toward ensemble purchases of multiple items.” Essentially, the Nordstrom iPad app behaves like an in-store personal shopper or assistant, and who doesn’t want someone else’s opinion when choosing clothes?
The Tablet Retail Revolution Is Coming
Is your organization ready? If not, read "How Tablets Are Transforming The Marketplace" for some ways that you can begin to prepare your organization for that inevitable future. Also, stay tuned for upcoming articles in this tablet series, in which I’ll be exploring the media, travel, and publishing industries.