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One Way Or Another, iPads Are Becoming Part of the Retail Experience

Sephora, the cosmetics retailer, has just invested in a major makeover of its own. It has overhauled its digital operations with a new webpage, new mobile site and new iPhone app, Forbes.com reports. It is also testing iPads in some 20 stores, Sephora Direct’s senior vice president Julie Bornstein told Forbes. Customers use it to navigate Sephora’s considerable online inventory while they are in the store.

Retailers and Their Love Affair with the iPad

The move dovetails with the iPad’s main perceived strength—it is an excellent device for shopping. This was clear from 2011’s mobile-driven holiday sales.  Newer statistics also support this premise. The iPad accounts for nearly two-thirds of all mobile shopping sessions, and an impressive 89% of all mobile shopping revenue, says RichRelevance in April 2012 study results.

With mobile’s share of total retail climbing to 4.6% in March 2012 (from 1.9% in April 2011), this means that the iPad now account for more than 4% of total retail revenue.

Some Tips on How to Proceed

However a retailer decides to incorporate the iPad into its operations—either via a store as a gateway to its online inventory as Sephora has done – or as a t-enabled mobile site—the following tips should be helpful. (via NRF’s Shop.org blog).

• Think content – not just commerce. That means an editorial magazine design look.

• Consider the ongoing flow of resources necessary to maintain the iPad app. That includes a continuous focus on improving stability, speed, and image load times.

• Dedicate the right resources. A team focused entirely on mobile is not unreasonable.

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