The State Of Tablets In Shopping [SLIDE DECK]

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Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Retailers can’t afford to ignore tablets any longer. They’re becoming an increasingly popular part of the shopping experience.Fiona Swerdlow, the head of research at the National Retail Federation’s digital division Shop.org, gave a presentation on tablets and shopper’s habits at Business Insider’s Social Commerce Summit 2013 in New York City today.

“One of the most challenging things for a retail exec is where do you start?” said Swerdlow. “I think they all do believe that tablet shopping is here to stay and has a lot of growth ahead.”

With technology and the behaviour of consumers constantly changing, retailers have to do a lot work to get things right.

“This is not something for the faint of heart,” said Swerdlow.

Swerdlow's peek into the state of tablets in shopping looked at last year's holiday season, along with what's to come in 2013.

Retailers aren't naive. They know that tablets are here to stay.

But they don't know where to start.

Two-thirds of the retailers Shop.org spoke with last year expected to spend $100,000 or less on tablets initiatives in fiscal 2012.

Investments have quadrupled (on average) compared with the year prior.

Tablet-specific investments popped up as well.

So, what about the consumers?

Half of online shoppers own smartphones.

And about a third own tablets.

Millennials are leading the charge. Only 20 per cent of them don't own either a smartphone or a tablet.

Half of holiday shoppers didn't use tablets for their purchases.

Consumers used tablets to look up store hours, compare prices, and research products, but few actually bought stuff with them.

But, again, millennials are the ones leading the way in that category.

The same goes for coupons and gift cards.

So, where are tablets heading, as far as the shopping experience is concerned?

Income and jobs aside, consumer use of tablets will be one of the most important factors in online commerce this year, said Swerdlow.

Mobile is a big focus, but it's not everything.

They're focusing on site conversion — things like checkout optimization, user experience, and analytics.

Now see what lies in the future...

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