Does it matter which device a consumer uses to connect with a brand?
Think about this question another way: does the rise of the tablet make for a different shopping experience when compared to the desktop or mobile Web? Touch, screen size, portability does add a different layer. Currently, the experimentation hasn't evolved much, but when compared to more traditional human behaviors, it's not hard to see how closely the tablet can both mimic and enhance consumers who have had some type of catalogue experience in their past.
New opportunity or just another screen?
Personally, I see a time (in the near-future) when the screen experience becomes somewhat ubiquitous (meaning, the Web is just the Web and the responsiveness of the shopping experience will only be predicated by screen size and location), but that's not the world as we know it today. Tablets (in particular, the iPad - which is the dominant player) are changing online shopping and it's forcing the physical store experience to evolve as well. Just this week, MediaPost had a fascinating news item titled, Tablets Change Shopping, Media Habits. A new report by InMobi and Mobext titled, The Role of Connected Devices in the Consumer Sales Journey uncovered some consumer habits that were unique to the tablet market...
From MediaPost's news item:
- Tablet use has risen quickly to 29.5 million U.S. users, 11% of the total U.S. population.
- Over 60% of U.S. tablet owners spend at least 30 minutes each day accessing media content on their tablets and 52% use a tablet to fill what previously would have been "dead time."
- After buying a tablet, 29% of tablet owners claimed they stopped surfing the Internet via their PC and/or laptop. Nearly half of tablet owners -- 48% -- agree that tablets' appealing design and accessibility make it is easier to access media content than on a PC or laptop.
- When it comes to shopping, 22% of tablet users claim they've shopped less in physical stores since purchasing a tablet and more than half (55%) make purchases on their device in an average month.
- Tablet use peaks at home in the evening between 6 p.m. and midnight for most owners.
- In relation to considered purchases, 55% of tablet owners said they first learn about the product on their tablet, 53% actively evaluate the product, and 58% follow through with purchasing those goods on their tablet.
When you play, you pay.
When you play with technology and it's easy to use, connected and a more natural experience, you become more comfortable. When that happens, you are more likely to buy and try new experiences. When it comes to devices, tablets are the new and bright shiny object that are getting our attention. Look no further than Microsoft's leap back in hardware production with their upcoming tablet, Surface. Google also announced their tablet, Nexus 7, at this year's Google I/O 2012 developer conference this past week. I'm less confident in Microsoft and Google's attempts at cracking the penetration that Apple's iPad is having, simply because both the Surface and Nexus 7 are making their debut with wi-fi only. The key to tablet's success and growth is intrinsically tied to the mobile connectivity. Along with touch, speed, slender size and ease of use, having it always connected/always on is another key component of its success when compared with desktop computers and laptops.
What this all really means...
As tablets advance and get more interesting, commerce - as we have seen it to date - will adapt. Simple Web pages with a picture or two that can be enlarged by clicking on a magnifying glass icon are going to go the way of having a corporate MySpace page. Touching, twisting and multi-gesture on tablets will elevate the online shopping experience, bringing it fairly close to a physical retail experience... where you can practically touch, feel and smell everything, only it will still be behind the glass.
Are you ready for the rise of tablets and how it changes the digital brand experience?