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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : July 28, 2011

Online retailers face new challenge - the tablet

So you've set up your e-commerce website and you've optimized it for m-commerce; you've even sorted a Facebook transactional Page to get aboard the f-commerce train. Think you're done? Think again. Enter t-commerce.

by Helen Leggatt

While online retailers have been focusing on social networks and the mobile space a new trend has been emerging - shopping on tablet devices. While many consumers use smartphones and computers to complete mobile purchases, tablets could become the dominant device.

Recent research from Forrester Research and Bizrate Insights found that while only 9% of online shoppers currently own a tablet device, most also own a smartphone and PC yet prefer to use their tablets for shopping. Furthermore, online retailers are reporting 21% of their mobile traffic is now coming from tablets, with some reporting figures over 50%.

Why the preference for shopping on their tablets? The larger screen is an obvious draw, making it easier to browse websites, view product imagery, click links and enter payment information. Couple this with the portability and rich content offered by apps that makes the experience more engaging and innovative and you've got the perfect shopping partner.

As Alex Schmelkin notes in his recent E-commerce Times article on the topic, marketers must appreciate that t-commerce websites should function more like e-commerce than m-commerce offerings and that simply diverting tablet users to mobile-friendly websites won't do.

"There is a huge difference in screen real estate between tablets and mobile, and a t-commerce site should therefore have more in common with a traditional e-commerce site than an m-commerce one," writes Schmelkin.

"The fact that many mobile sites were delivered first means that many retailers are not taking advantage of the larger screen real estate that is available on a tablet."

As with mobile devices, marketers need to carry out cross-device testing to ensure their t-commerce websites render well on the various devices out there.

Reports out this week suggest Amazon will soon reveal its own tablet device.

Tags: consumer insight, e-commerce, mobile, online shopping, smartphone, t-commerce, tablet

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