Study: Retailers Not Optimized for Tablets

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According to a study released today by Zmags, most retailers are not ready for the tablet revolution.

While many businesses are aware that mobile is the way to go when trying to reach their customers, apparently quite a few are content to let their existing websites stand as "good enough". They are not planning to optimize them for mobile, either phone or tablet.

"What we discovered, unexpectedly, was that very few retailers—even among this elite group of marketers—are tapping into the full shopping potential of mobile and tablet devices. In fact, not even close to it," said W. Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags.

In the study, the key finding was that less than one-third of retailers have optimized their sites for tablet commerce. The rest are relying on their standard websites to deliver an “adequate enough” tablet shopping experience. Some retailers’ approach has been to develop iPad apps to address the tablet shopping market, but one-quarter of these apps don’t allow shoppers to buy directly.

Retailers are more evolved when it comes to smartphones, with more than half of retailers having developed smartphone-specific offerings; but those are still falling short. While more than two-thirds of the retailers have developed iPhone apps, only half of that group offers the ability to purchase via the app.

Only 19 of the top 100 retailers studied extended beyond ordinary HTML-type content to include more engaging material such as look books, catalogs, editorial picks, etc. However, none of them extended the dynamic environment or optimized the brand experience across the full range of smartphones, tablets and Facebook.

Social commerce is another channel that is still in its infancy but growing in significance and ripe with opportunity. All 100 retailers evaluated have branded Facebook pages, but just one lets consumers directly purchase from within its Facebook page.

The tablet’s user interface, in particular, is so well suited to the creation of an immersive and engaging shopping experience. Not to harness it renders the device into nothing short of a small, flat laptop. Connected consumers plan to shop even more on tablets and on Facebook; they are seeking inspiration, an experience that is discovery-based and not limited to the confines of directed purchase typically found on PC-based ecommerce sites. Today, they face a range of inconsistent and unfulfilling experiences. Retailers are leaving their customers hanging. By not treating every touchpoint as a truly revenue producing storefront, retailers are neither capturing the imagination of, nor driving purchases from their highly valuable connected consumers.

Mike Tuttle
Writer. Google+ Writer for WebProNews.

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