By Peri Kadaster
Vice President of Marketing
As soon as retailers and companies figure out what exactly their consumer is doing, technology turns the tables on them. Just merchandised your brick and mortar store? Along comes the computer, with its internet and e-commerce. Finally nailed SEO and SEM to show up all over user search? Meet the smartphone and its app ecosystem, users constantly on the go. Finally – know how to appeal to the mobile shopper, the at-work computer shopper, plus the in-store shopper? Meet the tablet.
When the iPad launched at the end of 2010, it was viewed as a luxury device, with no discernable value proposition to consumers with either iPhones or MacBooks Airs already. But two years later, with over 80 million iPads shipped to date, and iPad penetration expected to reach 40% of the US population by 2016, the tablet is an undeniable marketing vehicle among consumers. The question now has become: Who are these tablet-based consumers, and how can companies best reach them?
At CoffeeTable, the leading catalog shopping app for iPad, we are constantly poring over data to learn more about the tablet shopper segment and sub-segments. We’ve identified some traits of this new, emerging group of tablet shoppers, and implications for businesses trying to reach them.
Where are e-commerce shoppers? Depends on the device.
The advent of the iPad has turned on its head the behavior patterns observed among computer- and smartphone-based e-commerce shoppers.
Traditional, computer-based e-commerce shopper engagement peaks each Monday – with over 40% of browse sessions on that day alone – and slowly decline each day to a low of 10% of sessions on Sunday. This is due to the use case of the device – most often the computer is used at the office. Indeed, the peak time of day is generally around noon, where shoppers browse online during the lunch hour.
However, over the past two years it is clear that tablet shoppers (and iPad shoppers specifically, representing 98% of tablet web traffic) are a new, incremental consumptive segment – not only cannibalizing e-commerce shopping from desktops during work hours or from smartphones during commutes, but creating a new use case altogether.
CoffeeTable points to internal data of its user behavior as inverse of traditional e-commerce behavior. Tablet shopping is highest on weekends – Saturdays and Sundays – and in the evenings, between 4 and 9 pm: iPad is a “lean back” device. Opposed to search- or intent-driven behavior on computers and smartphones, iPad users leverage the web as an entertainment platform, for a more discovery, impulse-led experiences. Anecdotally, most CoffeeTable shoppers note that they browse with their iPads while in bed or on the couch in the evenings, and spend more per average order than on other devices.
How can you reach tablet shoppers?
Overall, the multichannel nature of e-commerce has evolved from a “nice to have” to table stakes given the rise of mobile shopping. How can companies reach this emerging tablet shopper segment?
- Participation in category-leading apps: With their lean-back, impulse-based browsing patterns, they’re where tablet shoppers seek inspiration. Leading apps – such as CoffeeTable, #1 in the App Store’s Catalogs category – are often destinations for shoppers to start the browse process. While many brands have individual apps (e.g., Lands’ End, Anthropologie), multi-brand and content-rich apps such as CoffeeTable provide the ease of aggregation to the shopper which drives a more frequent cadence of app visits.
- Search optimization in app store: Get into the mind of your target shoppers and identify what they may be looking for in apps. If you have an app, leverage the limited number of keywords Apple provides you to make them count – for example, use the Google AdWords KeyWord tool to see what search terms may be most impactful in driving high potential users to your app.
- Mobile web-enabled SEO: The same keywords used for traditional SEO may not be best for users on smartphones and tablets, who tend to type shorter sentences and fewer words, look for location-based / geo-targeted results, and desire a mobile web-optimized website experience.
This holiday quarter of 2012 will continue to show unprecedented levels of growth with both iPad penetration and iPad-based e-commerce. Tablet strategies are now imperative parts of smart and effective multi-platform marketing plans. You know where your hoppers will be – can you afford not to be there?