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T-commerce, not T-ads: Where Tablets Are Poised to Have the Biggest Impact

It is hard to imagine a better, tighter synergy between mobile commerce and the tablet than an app Avid Scorch just introduced. Aimed at musicians, it pairs a virtual music library with an online storefront, Rolling Stone describes. Customers purchase and download songs then use their tablet as a music stand.

Even without such a synergy, retailers would do well to optimize their online and mobile offerings to tablets, based on a new Forrester report "Why Tablet Commerce Will Soon Trump Mobile eCommerce", whose statistics were published in a blog post by analyst Josh Bernoff. Already, 9% of people who shop online have a tablet and Forrester projects that 82 million Americans will own one by 2015.

Furthermore, 47% of the tablet owners have bought something on their tablets, and another 13% have shopped with the tablet.

Tablets are Perfect for Shopping ….

Then there is the way that tablet owners use their devices, Bernoff writes. "The most commonplace to use a tablet is in the living room. And tablet apps can display retail content in a way that resembles a catalog (far more attractive, with a fun interface), not a Web site or a utilitarian smartphone app. Ecommerce sites replaced catalog shopping, but they didn't replace catalogs — tablets can do that."

….But Not Necessarily Ads

Separate research also suggests that ads are not necessarily having the impact marketers might have hoped in the mobile format - leading some companies to conclude the best use of their mobile budgets should be devoted to building a tablet-optimized site instead of tablet-optimized advertising.

Advertisements viewed on smartphones and tablets have relatively small influence on the purchase behavior of mobile users, according to the July 2011 Prosper Mobile Insights mobile survey. Only about 11% of respondents said these advertisements regularly influence purchase decisions, while 41% said they occasionally influence purchase decisions. The largest percentage (48%) said mobile advertisements never influence their purchase decisions (total equals more than 100% due to rounding).

Granted, the figures did not differentiate between smartphones and tablets. However the mobile ad experience is similar enough between these two formats - the ads tend to be more memorable because they are fewer in number than other online formats - to draw the same conclusions.

Other findings from the report:

More than seven in 10 (72%) smartphone/tablet users pay attention to mobile ads while downloading apps and music either regularly (35%) or occasionally (37%). The percentage who regularly pay attention is substantially higher than that recorded for any other mobile activity, and the total percentage of mobile users paying attention is 20% higher than the 60% of smartphone/tablet users who pay attention to mobile ads while downloading apps and music either regularly (20%) or occasionally (40%).

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