The Couch Commerce Era Is Here

Jul 31, 2012 by Jurian Baas

Guy browsing through a digital catalog on an iPad.

Tablets are perfect for browsing digital catalogs, weekly ads, and magazines. We also believe they are perfect shopping devices. Needless to say, we are very happy with the results of recent research in this area, which have revealed tremendous growth in the use of tablets for e-commerce.

For the statistics, we turn to an article by GigaOM, which cites an analysis by Monetate (an online marketing technology company). They illustrate that tablet traffic to commerce sites hit 6.52 percent in the first quarter of 2012. That’s a 348 percent increase from last year. With this kind of growth, tablets will make up 10 percent of all commerce traffic before the end of the year.


Website visits by device (credit: GigaOM)
(credit: GigaOM).


Tablets also convert very well. They are currently on par with desktops at 3.23 percent converted visits, which is promising given that a lot of sites are not optimized for tablets at all. This is something that needs to be fixed, because more tablets being used for e-commerce is a good thing, for all parties involved:

  • Your users love to shop from their tablets for good reasons. The couch and a tablet make for a much more relaxed environment for consuming content. There are less distractions from other programs, and you don’t have to hunch over your laptop at the kitchen table.
  • Given that you offer a good tablet experience, you will sell more. Hunching over a laptop puts users in a more practical, “getting things done” mindset. Sitting behind their computer at work even more so. In this way, shopping often becomes a straightforward bargain-hunt. We think people shopping on tablets will stay on one site for a longer period of time. Not only are they more relaxed, but the screen size and interface of current tablets make for a different multitasking experience. They only see one site or application at a time.

Mobile shopping from Publitas
Here's how users can shop from a catalog on their iPads.


Unfortunately, a lot of commerce sites are not optimized for tablet users, which makes them hard to navigate and use. This is not a clever move. Given the statistics, we can expect that the absolute number of people who shop on tablets will grow rapidly. Whether their conversion rate will improve depends on us content creators and commerce site designers. Here at Publitas we do our part by giving tablet users the royal treatment and making shopping from online catalogs with tablets as pleasant as possible.

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