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A Checklist for Retailers Getting Ready for Tablet-driven Commerce

Amazon's Android-based tablet, the Kindle Fire, has debuted to the expected fanfare. One notable point about its specs: it is clocking in at a $199 price point, meaning the tablet market is likely to become more broader as people unwilling to pay $499 or so for the device step up.

iPad Still Dominates

For the most part, the iPad is going to dominate the tablet space for the foreseeable future, according to research released earlier this month by ChangeWave. It found that the majority of businesses and consumers planning on buying a tablet device intend to buy an Apple iPad. There is room for the Amazon Kindle Fire though. ChangeWave did ask about it even though it hadn’t been released at that point and a total of 2% of respondents said they’re very likely and 12% somewhat likely to buy a Kindle tablet when it becomes available.

An M-commerce Checklist

The larger point for retailers, though, is that tablets are becoming fixtures in the mobile space - and are increasingly being used for e-commerce. While tablets still account for only a small percentage of overall e-commerce, their conversion rate is higher, Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research, told the Wall Street Journal. The conversion rate is 3% for shoppers using a traditional PC; for tablet users it is 4% or 5%.

These numbers are likely to increase as tablets become more ubiquitous.

For retailers, this means getting the necessary infrastructure and business processes to make the m-commerce experience as seamless as possible. Some suggestions can be found from one of the earlier tablet-commerce providers, the Gilt Group. (via NRF’s Shop.org blog).

• People look to the Gilt Groupe for content – not just commerce – it found. That means an editorial magazine design look.

• The Gilt Group was surprised at the ongoing flow of resources necessary to maintain the iPad app. The thought they were going to be done when they launched the application, Shop.org says. Instead they have to continuously focus on improving stability, speed, and image load times. "Expect to have a few cycles to launch and learn."

• Also, it noted, they were so ahead of the curve at the launch date that they did not originally dedicate all of the right resources. "They now have a team focused entirely on mobile."

• Another related point was raised recently at the OMMA Mobile conference Matt Roth, senior business development manager at Ubermind. He noted that consumers making a purchase on mobile might want to pick it up in-store. "A lot of times someone wants to buy on mobile, but they don’t want to wait for it to be shipped to them," he said. (via the NFC Data blog).

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