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Missing the mark in tablets is costly mistake for retailers: Compuware

Tablet users have high expectations for their Web experiences, with one-third less likely to make a purchase online from companies that do not meet those expectations, according to a new study from Compuware Corp.

With tablet penetration growing quickly, marketers are beginning to include these devices in their mobile marketing strategies. However, the Compuware report suggests that initial efforts by retailers to reach tablet owners with an optimized Web site are not meeting expectations, a mistake that could result in lost revenue and damage to their brand.

“One of the key findings of the survey is that tablet users expect unbelievably fast, high-quality Web experiences, but to date these experiences have been few and far between,” said Lorenz Jakober, product marketing manager for the Application Performance Management business unit at Compuware, Detroit, MI. “We did not expect users’ expectations to be so high for such a relatively new technology.

“Also, user behavior when experiencing poor performance can have a direct and immediate impact on the business,” he said. “After a poor Web experience on a tablet, one-third of users are less likely to purchase from that company through any channel – tablet, desktop Web, smartphone or storefront. The potential impact of this not just revenues, but also on a company’s brand, can be staggering.”

Getting it right
The survey, titled Engaging the Tablet User: What They Expect from Websites, reveals that users expect tablets to perform as fast, or faster, than on a desktop or laptop computer at home.

Almost 70 percent of tablet users expect a Web site to load in two seconds or less.

The most common issues named by tablets users were slow load times (66 percent), site crashes (44 percent), problems with site functions (42 percent) and issues with site format (40 percent).

The results point to the need for retailers to get it right in tablets or risk losing business to a competitor and never winning it back. This can be a costly mistake for marketers because tablet owners tend to spend more per order.

The survey found that 46 percent of tablet users who have had a bad experience say this will drive them to a competitors’ site.

Additionally, 35 percent are less likely to visit the problematic Web site on any platform and 33 percent are less likely to purchase from that company.

Nearly half of tablet users will retry a Web site only once or twice if it did not work initially.

Tablet Web site performance can also have a direct impact on marketing ROI, per Mr. Jakober. For example, a poor Web experience in tablets can cause an online campaign’s conversion rates to be low, impact the site’s search ranking and impact its quality score on AdWords.

It is hard for retailers to ignore tablets, with industry data suggesting that anywhere from 21 percent to 50 percent of a retailer’s mobile traffic is coming from tablets.

Tablets users also reportedly spend more than PC users and have higher average order values.

Speed limit
While the iPad continues to be the leader in this market, new entries such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire as well as tablets from Samsung are also attracting consumers. This is Compuware’s first global study of tablet users’ Web experience expectations.

Compuware studied more than 2,000 end-users across North America, Europe and Asia who assessed the Internet on their tablet in the past six months.

In order to deliver a strong Web experience to tablet users, retailers must make sure their most critical online processes are fast enough and optimize their Web sites for tablet users by making big enough buttons that are spread far enough apart for touch screens.

“Speed continues to be of the upmost importance for users in determining the overall quality of an online experience,” Mr. Jakober said. “Because tablets so closely resemble desktops in how they look, function and feel, consumers simply expect the same level of performance.

“What is also interesting is how far off companies are in terms of the quality of the tablet web experiences they’re delivering,” he said. “When we look at the overall end-user experiences that are being delivered to tablet users, we find that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York