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Report: Most Internet retailers haven’t bought into tablet ecommerce

by David Needle

February 16 2012

A new study assessed the mobile and tablet readiness of the top 100 Internet retailers and found most of them lacking.

Tablets are one of the hottest consumer and the top mobile device buys going, with the iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire leading the charge. But a new report indicates most of the big online retailers haven’t moved to optimize their sites for the tablet form factor. 

Zmags, which offers a rich media platform for online catalogs and ecommerce, funded the study of the top 100 Internet retailers by HawkPartners. The key finding Zmags noted in a blog post, was that less than a third of these retailers have optimized their sites for tablet commerce.

“The rest are relying on their standard websites to deliver an ‘adequate enough’ tablet shopping experience,” says the report. “Some retailers’ approach has been to develop iPad apps to address the tablet shopping market, but one-quarter of these apps don’t allow shoppers to buy directly.” 

The report gives kudos Gilt Groupe, Disney and Urban Outfitters for being the three retailers that stood out as having the strongest and most robust mobile offerings across the board.

The retailers as a group have done more work optimizing for smartphones; for example, the study notes that two-thirds of top 100 retailers have developed iPhone apps, but only half of that group offers the ability to purchase via the app.

What we discovered, unexpectedly, was that very few retailers -- even among this elite group of marketers—are tapping into the full shopping potential of mobile and tablet devices. In fact, not even close to it,” said W. Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags. “Only one quarter of retailers are ready to take a consumer through checkout over tablets, but forty-nine percent of today's tablet owners said they plan to shop even more next year using their device. 

“This reflects a serious disconnect between how consumers want to shop and the inconsistent experiences they are being offered,” Ford continued. “It’s a crucial issue that retailers need to address before their competitors do.” 

All of the retailers in the report have some kind of social media presence, specifically all of the 100 evaluated have branded Facebook pages. But again, an important caveat noted in the study, only one site, (Coldwater Creek) lets consumers purchase directly from within its Facebook page.

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