Three Strategies for Engaging Customers and Driving Sales on Tablets


While tablet commerce is still an emerging market, it’s predicted to continue to grow over the coming years.

Consider these facts:

  • In the last year alone, tablet traffic increased by 348 percent while smartphones grew by 117 percent.[1]
  • There will be 90.8 million iPad users by 2015.[2]
  • Tablet devices will generate more Web traffic than smartphones by early 2013.[3]

Given the positive outlook on the tablet market, now is the time for retailers to assess their current tablet commerce marketing strategies.  A new customer segment, the “couch consumer,” has emerged exhibiting incremental purchasing on nights and weekends from the comfort of a tablet.

Whether you’ve been successfully selling through this channel or are just now getting your marketing efforts underway, there are three strategies that must be in place if you want to succeed on this platform.

1. Develop a true tablet or couch-commerce experience. Since “couch consumers” are making purchases in a leisurely environment, they tend to make bigger purchases. Knowing this and the fact that tablet shoppers are used to the convenience of being able to make purchases anywhere, make sure that their tablet shopping experience is easy, fun, and natural.

There are two ways to accomplish this – create a tablet-enabled site or create a tablet shopping app. Keep in mind that t-enabled apps and sites are different from traditional websites or mobile-enabled sites.

Your t-commerce platform should transform the mobile shopping experience from one that is transaction-oriented into one that takes full advantage of the rich functionality offered by tablets.

Here are three elements of a good t-commerce experience.

  • Simple navigation through a clean and well-designed user interface with an emphasis on product images.
  • Easy and secure sign-in that doesn’t require customers to click through several steps or create new IDs and passwords to execute a transaction. Of course, ensuring the privacy and safety of customer information is critical.
  • Fast checkout integration through a trusted provider  (e.g., PayPal).

With these foundational elements for a true t-commerce site, you want to be sure the content, specifically your data feeds, are flawless.  As you put rigorous quality control processes in place, keep the three most common data feed errors in mind.

  • Characters or symbols that are inadvertently inserted in place of text.
  • Images that are too small or low resolution, which doesn’t allow the customer to really see what the product looks like, nor does it take advantage of the great visual display capabilities on the iPad.
  • Lack of compelling, descriptive, pithy, and accurate product descriptions.

2. Establish goals and monitor metrics. While some campaigns may work well in traditional online commerce, they may not yield the same results on tablets. Before you create your next t-commerce campaign, determine if your goals are to engage, convert or both.

For example, if you’re selling a higher ticket item, online engagement may be the path to an in-store conversion since consumers tend to use tablets to conduct extended research before they make a purchase and often ask their friends to weigh in on the decision.  The only accurate way to measure the impact of t-commerce is to work with a vendor who can provide “matchback” attribution for shoppers across channels.

Ideally, you should be able to apply real-time metrics and customize the user experience based on their interests and their path to your site, whether it’s through a website or another device.

3. Work with the affiliate channel. When you include the affiliate channel in your t-commerce efforts, be sure you’re working with a performance marketing network like Rakuten LinkShare, for example, that regularly tests mobile transactions so affiliates are properly credited.  And make sure to test the end-to-end shopping experience from the publisher site to checkout.  There is no point in having your affiliates refer traffic if the shopper cannot checkout at the end of their journey.

As we enter the age of couch commerce, get your data feed ready and your strategy in place now so you can make the most of the rising tablet shopping opportunities.

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[1] Source: Monetate analysis of more than 100 million online shopping experiences.

[2] Source: eMarketer.



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