While tablet devices certainly aren’t new, Miss Terry Shopper finally gives into t-commerce and discovers a whole new world of digital retail available at her fingertips.
Much to the chagrin of Mr Terry Shopper, I’m usually a late adopter of new technologies. Whereas he on the other hand will camp out on Bill Gates’ doorstep or the front of an Apple Store in order to get the latest device, I’m more than happy to wait. Or better yet, to never get it. That is, until whatever the latest ‘thing’ is, ends up in my hands and I take to it so much that I can’t remember my life before.
It happened with the iPhone (“I don’t need an iPhone. I have a phone, a camera and a laptop. What will an iPhone do for me?”). It happened with the iMac (“What can this massive computer do for me that my neat, compact laptop can’t?”). And, believe it or not, it happened with the iPad (“I have an iPhone – and that can even make phone calls. What’s this iPad going to do for me?”).
(And yes, there is a slight positive bias towards Apple products in our household).
Anyway, the point is I now have an iPad and I now know what it can do for me. In terms of shopping in a multichannel world, my online retail existance has just gotten a whole lot more exciting.
Let’s take a look at one of digital retail’s stalwarts, Net-A-Porter.
I’m hardly surprised to discover that Net-A-Porter has an iPad app. If any retailer is going to be across both m-commerce and t-commerce already – both of which are still buzzwords in some online retail circles – it’s going to be this one. What does take me by surprise though is the complete awesomeness of the customer iPad experience on offer with Net-A-Porter.
Net-A-Porter introduces me to its “weekly app”, which is presented as a e-zine, or digital magazine, that’s updated with a new issue – and fresh looks, styles, and products – each week. While the retailer’s website is also presented as an e-zine, this concept translates much better into an iPad app, which is quite ironic considering the website has been in its current format for a number of years, well before any tablet was released.
It’s just like browsing a print fashion magazine only better. With the touch or swipe of a finger, I can download previous issues, get closer looks of the product and styles I like, watch video content and read the editor’s notes all for free. And of course, I can buy in the same way. You tell me where in Elle (or Vogue for that matter) is the option to ‘Shop the Magazine’?
Importantly, the shopper is able to access everything via the app that’s available on its website, so there’s definitely no lost opportunities for both the user and the e-tailer. There is something about using the Net-A-Porter iPad app that creates a more intimate user experience than its website does. And it’s infinitely more appealing too.
While I do not take the plunge and buy via the app yet, it’s important to highlight how tablet devices are changing the way in which people interact with retailers. I can say with certainty that from now on, all of my dealings with Net-A-Porter will be via the iPad (until the next big thing comes along anyway).
However, in saying that, it’s not simply about been able to access a site via a tablet device using Safari or Explorer. It’s about considering the technology and utilising its strengths to engage the user. For instance, as the adoption rate of tablet devices increase, apps with readily available content such as quality images, video, and customer ratings and reviews, will become even more paramount in an effort to keep people returning to, reusing and reordering from a tablet or smart phone app.
If it’s done right, there’s something about connecting with a retailer via a tablet device that’s far more engaging than through a desktop website and even a smart phone. From my limited yet rapidly expanding experience of t-commerce, the international players have already cottoned on to this while many of our local retailers are only beginning to get their heads around mobile commerce and smart phone apps.
Talk to your e-commerce teams, talk to your app designers and start including t-commerce in any digital strategies moving forward. While it’s okay for people like me to take their time in adopting new technologies, the same can’t be said for those operating within the Australian e-commerce industry.