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Harry and David drives tablet commerce with touch-screen optimized site

Harry and David has introduced a Web site experience optimized for tablets to take advantage of a significant increase in traffic from tablet users over the past 12 months.

Recognizing that affluent shoppers are increasingly turning to their tablets to shop online, the merchant, which sells premium gourmet gift baskets, decided to create a tablet-optimized site. By leveraging the unique capabilities and high resolution imagery of tablets, the site is designed to simplify navigation and, ultimately, to increase conversion rates for tablet shoppers.

“We see continued growth in the traffic of our customers interacting with us on their tablets and want to provide an optimal shopping experience for every customer interaction,” said Sue Eagan, director of mobile and tablet ecommerce at Harry and David, Medford, OR.

“Early efforts at optimizing the user experience on tablets showed improvements in key performance metrics and demonstrated the opportunity to continue to optimize the tablet shopping experience,” she said.

Custom homepage
The new Harry and David tablet site features a custom homepage that leverages retina display and touch screen technology.

Much of the popular content has been surfaced on the homepage in two promotional areas so the user does not have to scroll too much and is still able see a deep dive into key shopping categories.

 “The first thing you’ll notice is a large carousel highlighting Harry & David’s beautiful product photography and delivering seasonal messaging,” said Dan Kowta, creative director at Skava, San Francisco.

“To the right of that is a smaller promotional area that can be swiped vertically,” he said. “This side bar delivers more tactical promotion choices – Christmas gifts, Top rated gifts, and gifts under $50.

“Between the two promotional areas it’s very likely you could find what you’re looking for without leaving the home page.”

Harry and David worked with Skava to develop the tablet-optimized site.

Year of the tablet
The checkout process has also been optimized for touch screen use.

The site features all of the functionality from the desktop site but with larger buttons, swipe-enabled content and menus with additional view controls.

Recent research from Skava shows that a tablet online shopper is almost four times more likely to purchase goods than a smartphone visitor. 

“Despite the exponentially growing tablet traffic and higher average order value of the tablet user, prior to Thanksgiving only seven percent of the Top 100 retailers had optimized Web sites, but already this number has doubled and by end of 2013, we expect between 40 – 50 percent will have created a unique tablet-optimized experience,” Mr. Kowta said. “However, many retailers are beginning to take action and we anticipate that for most major retailers creating a tablet optimized site will be high priority in 2013.

“Some companies are making incremental changes, and some are going for a whole new redesign,” he said. “Either way, we think 2013 will be the year of the tablet and most retailers appreciate the new market created by the new tablet user.”

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