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May 25, 2011

Nine Easy Ways to Tell an Ecommerce Site Isn’t Targeting iPad or Tablet Users

image of an ipad mock up showing ecommerce websiteMany ecommerce sites are already seeing more purchases coming from tablet users than mobile users. Even though many more people have a smartphone, tablets present a superior shopping experience.

However, if you’re responsible for ecommerce for your company, let me pass along a hint:

You’re going to have a tough time formulating a strategy for driving sales to tablet users if you don’t actually have a tablet.
All that said, once you do have one in your clutches, here are the clues that the store you’re visiting (or even your own) hasn’t figured out that tablet users represent an attractive target of affluent shoppers.

  1. Links or buttons are so close together (or so small) as to be unclickable.

    You finger is a lot fatter than a mouse. Tablet sites need to rethink link and button sizing and placement. Many, many sites feature long lists of links placed very close together.
  2. There’s a big hole where the flash content used to be.

    Flash content doesn’t work on an iPad – the most popular tablet. If you have any of it on your site, it just leaves a weird hole for users to try to interpret.  This won’t inspire confidence that leads to sales.
  3. I can’t get into the navigation – browsing is actually impossible.

    Hover menus don’t work on Android based tablets. If you have hover based menus for navigation or as many sites today – for access to the shopping cart – then your Android tablet users aren’t going to stick around for long.
  4. There’s no easy way to filter or sort – just a big search bar.

    Bottom line – no one likes to type on the tablet. They just won’t do it. You’ll need to think about other ways to pull people into the merchandise.
  5. I swipe an image and get nothing. I pinch. Again nothing.  I touch and hold. Zip.

    People expect images to respond to touches, pinches, and swipes. When you pinch an image, you should zoom in on it – not the whole screen.
  6. I see a search site with pixelated images and layers of menus.

    If you’re pushing a mobile site to tablet users, it’s not likely to be a very satisfying shopping experience. Many look just terrible, degrading your brand experience for some of your most important shoppers.
  7. I wait. And I wait some more. I’m on 3G so these huge images make me wait. You can’t assume I’m on a WiFi or better connection.

    You’ll need to think about what kind of connection should be required for your users. I know, I know – it feels like 1995. Remember – speed sells.
  8. I see keypad types that are clearly not correct – an alphabet keypad for typing in a phone number?

    You shouldn’t have to mess around to switch between the alphabet keypad, the email entry one or the one with numbers. If it’s a zip code field, the correct keyboard should show up.
  9. I live in Florida and see wool coats for sale.

    You should be able to create separate product catalogs for different regions. Users wouldn’t mind sharing their location if they receive a personalized experience.

It’s easy to underestimate how revolutionary it is for the tablet computer to take its place in the household – right there on the coffee table that holds all of the remotes.

Your consumers are changing their media consumption habits and migrating to a touch experience. Rev up a new tablet if you want to see what all of the excitement is about.