Want more mobile sales? Know the difference between smartphone and tablet users

by Kim Ann King

March 5 2014

Kim Ann King is Chief Marketing Officer of Web and mobile optimization firm SiteSpect


With all of the buzz around mobile, it’s important to consider the impact that tablets have on customer experience, marketing, and sales.

Because experiences and shopping patterns differ between smartphone and tablet users, your overall mobile strategy should consider each group separately.

For example, Cyber Monday 2013 shoppers used smartphones to browse and research products while they preferred tablets to actually make purchases.

Sure, smartphones drove 19.7% of all traffic on Cyber Monday and 24.9% of all traffic on Black Friday. But even with this significant traffic, smartphones only drove half as much revenue as tablets, according to IBM’s Benchmark report.

The study showed that on average, tablet users spent $126.30 per order compared to $106.49 by smartphone users. Also, tablets drove double the amount of sales that smartphones did, 14.4% vs. 7.2%.

Why the cornerstone to mobile success is testing

In order to present the best possible tablet user experience, ensure that the layout of your mobile site and mobile app (if applicable) is making the best use of screen size by device.

Optimize the mobile experience by testing layouts, checkout flows, search layouts and functionality changes, buttons, and any other customer touchpoint in the conversion funnel.

Even with the varying technical requirements of mobile devices, it’s possible to easily and effectively increase mobile engagement and revenue through experimentation.

Common methods for running controlled experiments on websites or mobile websites range from simple A/B testing to sophisticated multivariate testing. With testing, you gain insights into what’s most important to include on a tablet (or exclude on a smartphone).

If you’re a savvy site tester, you already know that while A/B testing allows you to test just one factor at a time, multivariate testing enables you to test many changes simultaneously.

For example, two alternate product images, plus two alternate headlines, plus two alternate product copy versions create a total of 27 possible combinations (including the original control versions).

Evaluating the impact of combinations of factors and their variations often reveals significant interaction effects that can have a dramatic impact on your conversion goals.

That’s why mobile optimization through A/B and multivariate testing has been proven to be one of the most effective and immediate methods to increase visitor engagement, mobile application adoption, and content consumption.

("How a new generation of apps are making tablets a more effective sales tool" is one of the key sessions at Tablet Strategy conference coming to New York on May 6, 2014)

Influence and persuasion

Consider using multivariate testing in your mobile marketing strategy for learning how to better influence and persuade visitors to:

• adopt mobile site features in order to get information on the go

• interact with your mobile brand, content, and functionality

• click-through to mobile ads and geo-aware offers, such as coupons

• register for mobile accounts

• download digital products such as ringtones, wallpapers, apps, etc.

(To learn about best practices in mobile sales enablement, download this free whitepaper)

Testing is not “one size fits all”

With testing, you can discover which content your customers prefer on their specific mobile devices, whether they are tablets or smartphones. Analyses of consumer behavior have shown that mobile users have different needs and expectations than desktop users — environment, task-at-hand, and physical device constraints all differ, often dramatically.

With the larger screen size of a tablet, there’s much more flexibility with regard to content, images, and more.

That’s where mobile targeting comes in. First, find out which mobile device capabilities your visitors are using. You can use that information for content targeting, enabling you to discover how varying types of mobile-optimized content influence user behavior, and ultimately site profitability.

In doing so, you’ll be able to test, measure, and ultimately deliver the content, layout, and promotional offers that are most effective for each mobile device category, for example:

• Screen size and rotation support

• Keyboard type

• Preferred markup language

• Browser type and capabilities

• Network data speeds

• Mobile OS

The key to understanding how each mobile platform and device influences the visitor experience is the essence of a "test-learn-repeat" process that marketers can use as a proving ground for new ideas and new campaigns designed to attract and retain new mobile customers, and ultimately, achieve and exceed business and marketing goals. 

(Read about the latest apps and use cases for tablets in sales by signing up for TabTimes free Tablets in Sales newsletter

Kim Ann King is Chief Marketing Officer of Web and mobile optimization firm <a href="http://www.sitespect.com">SiteSpect</a>
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