Retailers need to optimise for tablets

4 April 2013

NEW YORK: Retailers should be transforming their online operations into a "swipe and tap" approach in order to capitalise on the rapid growth in tablet usage, a new report has argued.

L2, the thinktank, examined the tablet competence of 60 leading retail brands for its Tablets: Retail report and concluded that "the investment and performance do not match the opportunity".

Despite tablet visitors to retail sites being three times more likely to purchase than smartphone visitors and spend 50% more per purchase, L2 found that less than 10% of retailers maintained tablet-optimised sites.

Of the 60 retail brands considered, L2 found that only two – H&M and White House | Black Market – had invested in a native tablet site.

The majority preferred to rely on desktop site architecture to drive the tablet experience, while 6% pushed visitors to the App Store or a mobile-optimised site built for smartphones.

Overall, there was a tendency to adopt a "one size fits all" approach as around 60% of tablet-compatible apps were replicated across both mobile devices.

Almost half of tablet shoppers valued the ability to purchase via an app, but 83% of tablet apps that incorporated ecommerce required a hand-off to the browser to complete a transaction.

And just 21% of tablet apps included deals or offers, although these are known to be a key tool in capturing the attention of tablet users prone to multitasking.

Finally, one third of sites did not support "cart continuity", so forcing shoppers to start from the beginning again if switching devices in the middle of a transaction.

L2 noted that "tablets have become the primary mobile browsing device" as their share of global site traffic has overtaken that of smartphones. Consequently, many digital managers are having to play catch-up.

Data sourced from L2; additional content by Warc staff