10 Tips for Tablet Commerce Design

In less than two years and ahead of all penetration forecasts, the tablet has emerged as an essential platform commerce and, more importantly, conversion.

Recent holiday statistics reported by IBM show that the iPad accounted for an astonishing 7% of total online sales on Christmas Day, and shoppers using an iPad often bought more items, more often. And the Pew Internet Research group just released a report indicating that tablet and eBook ownership in the U.S. doubled to nearly 20% during the 2011 holiday period.

The tablet’s lean and glean functionality makes it an ideal shopping device, but the device alone doesn’t create an ideal digital shopping experience. Consumers want more.

Here are 10 tips merchants should follow if they want to design an engaging tablet commerce experience for their customers.

1. Make it engaging. The tablet is physical and tactile and affords a sense of control by consumers that no other form factor possesses. It’s also used simultaneously with the consumption of TV programming and ads, as well as print consumption.

2. Make it shoppable. The tablet provides a highly visual experience in which everything, from ads to videos, can lead to a commerce opportunity. Unlike smartphones where designers need to “get to the cart” in 2-3 clicks, a tablet consumer can be engaged and wooed while being led to purchase, resulting in bigger baskets.

3. Make it shareable. Unlike smartphones or PCs, a tablet is often shared and passed around among multiple family members. From a social media and messaging standpoint, the tablet makes it extremely easy to share ideas, thoughts or even products.

4. Make it extendable. The tablet provides a vehicle for brand stories and product immersion. Content can be tailored to respond and add value to rapidly changing campaigns in new ways, keeping the consumer loyal.

5. Use responsive design. The site should be designed to adapt or react to the user, their device and the operating system.

6. Simplify the interface. The simpler the interface, the simper the path to purchase.

7. Focus on page flow. Desktop sites can handle a great deal of information. Find the focus of each page and build the experience around it.

8. Avoid unnecessary noise. When the user is in a lean back mode, too much noise can turn them away.

9. Adjust the design to accommodate a user’s wants and needs. True optimization comes from getting user feedback.

10. Test new ideas, interactions and features. If they perform well, the tablet experience could begin to inform the rest of your digital ecosystem.

The majority of U.S. tablet owners consider their tablet as an additional device, rather than a replacement for their mobile or PC. That’s why it’s essential that brands treat each consumer touchpoint differently.

Stephen Burke is vice president of mobile at Resource Interactive.

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