Ready for T-commerce?

The last thing the Internet needs is another hokey term, but it might need one when it comes to shopping via tablet. Mobile is an umbrella terms that typically includes the growing stable of iPads, despite the fact that nobody puts their iPad in their pocket. It turns out marketers will need to differentiate when it comes to driving transactions via a tablet versus a smartphone.
At the AppNation conference, Bridget Dolan, vp of interactive media for cosmetics retailer Sephora, noted  differences between “t-commerce,” and “mobile commerce,” and has created unique apps on both platforms, as well as enhancing the in store shopping experience to leverage the mobile platforms. One of the first areas Dolan looked at when developing their mobile strategy was how strong t-commerce was in relation to smartphones.
“Surprisingly, it wasn’t that far behind our smartphone commerce,” Dolan said. “We wanted to add more fun, more features and enable more discovery, but recognize that most of our customers aren’t bringing their iPads with them to the store.”
As a result, Sephora’s iPhone app is more heavily focused on product comparison, ratings and reviews that provide shoppers with the confidence that they need to complete a transaction, while the iPad experience is much more immersive, engaging and akin to flipping through a catalog.
“Tablets are much more of a media device,” TheFind.com CEO Siva  Kumar said later. “On tablets, we need to provide users with a product focused, immersive experience that allows them to feel like they’ve got enough information to comfortably make a transaction. But that experience needs to be product driven, not transaction driven.”
Brian Monahan, evp and managing partner at the IPG Media lap, also concurred with the bifurcated approach.
“You need to consider the media device when building an app,” he said. “Tablets are more of a ‘shopping as entertainment’ experience when you sit on the couch. Just like people sit and flip through catalogs because they are fun to look at, people enjoy browsing on a tablet. T-commerce warrants a different approach when building apps.”
Why should retailers focus on these unique experiences? According to Monahan, using shopping apps makes shopping more fun and reduces the stress level of the shopping experience. According to IPG data, making shopping more fun has proven to increase basket size. Instilling confidence in the consumer that they are making the right purchasing decision for them is critical. IPG data supports the focus on consumer confidence, citing a lack of confidence as the number one reason retailers lose e-commerce transactions.
“The mobile web experience on the tablet is quite good,” said Dolan. “We don’t want to create double – or triple – the work. our business isn’t apps, it’s retail. So we need to make sure that we don’t have to do everything three times.”
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