4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Tablets
More and more consumers are turning to tablet devices to research products and ultimately make purchases. The New York Times recently reported that during the past holiday season tablets became popular tools for online shopping, with 75 percent of web shoppers making a purchase on their tablet. With the recent release of Apple’s newest iPad (and the tens of millions of those devices expected to be sold this year), it’s clear that “couch commerce” has arrived. To help consumers find their way around your tablet storefront, follow the four tips below to remove navigational and search barriers that can prevent them from fast, easy browsing and shopping.
1. Retool image selection and zooming capability. Tablet users employ fingertip taps and swipes to choose images and content, therefore try to design the user experience so that visitors can use these same gestures on your own storefront. Let users rotate images with their fingers, or hold their fingers on or tap an image to load a bigger image. Consider adding these capabilities directly within search results pages as well.
Note that the latest iPad offers a much higher resolution screen, meaning your images and videos will appear much sharper and richer, helping to give your tablet site an added pop. Be sure to use high-quality, clearly focused product photos and other images on your site. If you’re worried about page loading times, studies show most tablet users connect via Wi-Fi, which allows for faster, higher bandwidth connections. And as 4G becomes more prevalent, the option to connect to these higher speed networks, also available on the new iPad, will come in handy.
2. Rethink search and navigation elements for tablets. Small text menus (e.g., items in lists of refinements) are difficult to tap on without hitting another menu item by mistake. This is also true for buttons that are too close together and pagination numbers. Consider making font sizes and action buttons bigger than what you’d normally use on your regular website. Drop-down menus help give users full refinement capability while saving screen space by hiding options when they’re not in use. Also, on your tablet shopping site search results pages, presenting results in a grid view is a good approach, although you should use two columns or three columns rather than the three, four or five you might use on your regular e-commerce site.
3. Help shoppers find the “Buy” button quicker. When consumers are using tablets to browse your storefront, they’re often sitting comfortably on their couch and are ready to commit to a purchase. In fact, 49 percent of tablet owners say they plan to buy more via their devices in the coming year, compared to 19 percent of smartphone owners who said the same, according to a study from Zmags and Equation Research. Ensure search and navigation tools are speeding up the process of browsing and buying. For example, tell shoppers if products are in stock or out of stock in search results, and include a “Buy” button right on the search results page.
4. Give prominent placement to the search box. While tablet users benefit from more screen real estate, they could still use some help in finding the search box. Make sure the search box is large and easy to find, and isn’t easily confused with other boxes like newsletter subscription boxes.
The tablet landscape is changing rapidly as new models flood the market and capabilities improve. Consumers are showing greater willingness to shift their browsing and buying habits to these devices. Keep a close eye on website analytics that can tell you which devices shoppers are using when they browse your site and make a purchase. Make sure they’re indulging in the best possible couch commerce experience.