Prospecting: iPad Mobile Shopping is Where E-Commerce Meets Catalogs
In publishing, they're calling it "the Moses Tablet." Such is the potential seen in Apple's recently released iPad, the bigger version of the iPhone — sans phone. But that potential extends to retailers too, and with its big, shiny, multitouch, high-definition screen, the iPad may be the best visual selling space since catalogs.
Gilt Groupe, the invitation-only clearinghouse for 36-hour sales of brand-name clothes and luxury goods, has brought its "flash sales" to the iPad via a mobile commerce app. The Gilt app comes with instant Gilt membership and accesses to all three of Gilt's flash-sale sites — Gilt, Gilt Fuse and Gilt Man — sending users real-time sales alerts and upcoming sales previews.
While a sale is going on, app users can browse, examine and buy items just as they could from Gilt's e-commerce website. The cart is on-screen the whole time, and putting an item in it is simply drag-and-drop, much like real shopping. The touch-zoom function on this large, high-definition screen lets you get "closer" to the item than on any other portable platform, giving the goods perhaps their best presentation outside of actually fondling one in a store. If the hallmark of catalog shopping is big, full-color, high-quality images that draw a visceral connection from shoppers, then this is catalog 2.0.
Amazon sold more books on the Kindle during the 2009 holiday season than print books. U.S. mobile commerce sales are expected to double this year, according to ABI Research, to $2.4 billion. And Apple reportedly sold over 300,000 iPads during their first weekend on sale, which puts this new device ahead of its smaller, talkative brother, the iPhone. If you're looking for new customers, Apple's newest must-have toy is the place to be.