Which is Better for Mobile Shopping, Tablets or Smartphones?

Are you wondering whether it’s worth providing your online retail offering on tablets, particularly the iPad? Are you also facing the challenge of how to get your mobile strategy on track? Before you decide which course to follow, here’s some data to consider:

Are you wondering whether it’s worth providing your online retail offering on tablets, particularly the iPad? Are you also facing the challenge of how to get your mobile strategy on track? Before you decide which course to follow, here’s some data to consider:

Although only a small percentage of users, tablets are poised to more than double their U.S. installed base penetration in 2011 to 7.6 percent of the population, or 24 million devices, according to eMarketer. Two out of five consumers considering purchasing an iPad cited shopping on the device as a reason for their interest, according to research from Vision Critical in November of last year. This isn’t surprising since online shopping is a visual experience and tablets are content-consumption devices.

Early results show that targeting tablet owners rather than smartphone users may be the wise choice, according to the e-tailing group. One in 10 tablet owners used their device to browse or buy online every day versus 6 percent of smartphone owners. The research also shows that once owners start buying via a tablet, they return. Nearly 25 percent of tablet owners made at least six purchases during the past six months, compared to 15 percent of smartphone users who did the same.

Furthermore, tablet owners tend to be gadget-buying early adopters. iPad owners tend to be young, educated and affluent, an ideal target market, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Forrester Research.

Due to the tablet’s larger screen and better user functionality for browsing, consumers preferred the tablet shopping experience (88 percent thought it was satisfactory or very satisfactory) to that of a smartphone (73 percent thought it was satisfactory or very satisfactory).

While smartphones are great for shopping in-store or gathering information on the go, they’re not user friendly for extended research activities. In part, this is attributable to the fact that less than 5 percent of retailers have a mobile site, according to October 2010 research from Brand Anywhere and Luth Research.

Here are three tips to consider when planning your company’s mobile strategy:

  1. Take advantage of the tablet’s visual presentation (but avoid using Flash).
  2. Check how your content is formatted and renders on different tablets.
  3. Make sure that shoppers can easily purchase once they’ve seen enough.

Now is a good time to start testing tablets to enhance your customers’ shopping experience, especially if your products are highly visual in nature or need to be seen in the environment in which they’ll be used. Bear in mind that tablets and smartphones fulfill different shopping needs for consumers, therefore you shouldn’t choose one option over the other.

7 Ways to Thank Your Customers

Saying “thank you” is one of the easiest things you can do to win customers over, regardless of the communication platform you use. After all, buying your product is the most important thing a customer can do to support your business. Your mother had it right when she said, “Don’t forget to say thank you when someone does something for you.”

Saying “thank you” is one of the easiest things you can do to win customers over, regardless of the communication platform you use. After all, buying your product is the most important thing a customer can do to support your business. Your mother had it right when she said, “Don’t forget to say thank you when someone does something for you.”

Saying thank you goes a long way with customers because it’s personal. This small act of celebrating your customers shows that you care about them and appreciate their business. But, of course, there’s a catch. You must be genuine and mean what you say. Thank you doesn’t work if you’re snarling through your teeth. Here are seven ways to thank customers:

1. Mind your manners. Remember your mother’s teachings. People deal with brands they know and those that are interested in them. Be polite and genuinely concerned about your customers.

2. Give customers a helping hand. Follow up and guide them through your support and related product information. This is particularly useful for complex and/or technical products. Companies such as Stacks and Stacks and Intuit do this in different ways.

3. Offer customers a gift. Delight customers and incentivize them to shop with you again by including a promotional offer in your package for a future purchase or another form of bonus.

4. Find out what customers think about your products. Take a page from Amazon’s playbook: Use follow-up emails to entice customers back to your site to review and rate your products and services. If you’re worried what customers might say, keep in mind that it’s better to learn about a customer’s problem directly rather than deal with it after it’s been broadcasted across the internet. Ratings and reviews are a form of social media content that attract prospects and support purchase research. Consumers trust other consumers.

5. Get customers to join the social media party. Use a thank-you email to invite customers to become part of your social media gang, wherever it is — e.g., Facebook page, Flickr group or another social media network.

6. Sign customers up for useful content. Take advantage of your thank-you email to expand your audience for your email program, blog or other form of content. While every marketer wants to expand their list of prospective buyers, this suggestion refers to content that readers find helpful, not promotional messages that focus on buy, buy, buy.

7. Help customers with related product suggestions. Use thank-you emails to suggest related products or other product options for the same products.

To maximize the results of thank-you marketing, include a tailored call to action and targeted promotion code. Consider it old-fashioned, but the biggest thing you can do to win customers over is to thank them.

Do you thank your customers? If so, what do you do and how well does it work? Please share your insights in the comments section below.

Thank you, and happy marketing!