The e-commerce industry is growing larger year-on-year, which means that ongoing innovation is pivotal to keeping ahead of your ever-rising number of competitors. Last year, emphasis fell on the importance of behavioural statistics and e-commerce remarketing. This year, all signs are pointing towards the need to cater to couch-surfing consumers through tablet and smartphone-friendly e-commerce.
E-commerce transactions taking place on tablets, smartphones and mobile devices has exploded over the last few years, and with this growth the rules of the e-commerce game have changed. The majority of e-commerce transactions used to take place during work hours, coming from people sitting at their desktop computers. This has now skewed towards after work hours as people are now shopping from their smartphones while commuting home on public transport, or couch-surfing with their tablets in the evenings.
The “couch commerce” revolution now calls for online retailers to give shoppers on smartphones and tablets a higher level of user convenience and payment options. In other words, you need to make your website mobile and tablet ready.
But what’s the difference between a ‘mobile friendly’ and ‘tablet friendly’ website?
The main differences to consider are:
- screen size
- browser capabilities
- Flash compatibility
- touch interfaces
Although most mobile devices can now support 800 x 400 pixels or higher resolutions, the screen size is not even comparable to that of tablets (ranging from the Kindle Fire’s 600×1,024 to the new iPad’s 2,048 x 1,536 pixels). And when optimising websites for mobile devices, you must also take into consideration that some smartphones come without touch screens. Mobile friendly versions also involve text oriented pages, reduced image sizes, and simplified fonts and content for quick load time. Meanwhile, the tablet friendly version should use the full available screen real estate with layouts and graphics as rich as the desktop version of the website in order to improve user experience.
So how do I optimise my site for tablets?
- Remember that the typical tablet has 4 different viewing angles and the tablet-optimised version of your website should cater to each. Vertical and landscape are standard for both mobile devices and tablets, with tablets having the additions of straight and desktop view as well.
- The touch interface of tablets is fundamentally different from a traditional desktop experience. It requires bigger clickable elements and fewer hidden navigation elements. The last thing tablet users want to do is to zoom in just to click a button or a tab. Create scrolling and horizontal navigations and place all content on one page instead of giving your visitor a tab attack.
- Make good use of tablet location features if you can as these make tablets feel more dynamic and interactive than a traditional computer. And if you are able to locate your customers’ locations on their tablet devices, you’ll gain a better understanding of your marketing reach.
- It is far better to offer an app that will give the user immediate access to your information rather than downloadable PDF documents or catalogues that may not be compatible with the tablet. An app also gives you the competitive edge you need to keep your customer from browsing the web and looking at your competition, since you are already at the convenience of one tap of their fingertips.
- Keep your payment options, subscriptions and account sign-up simplified. Only include the compulsory fields for any forms that must be filled by your customer to avoid the fatigue of touchscreen typing.
All this means is that a mobile friendly version of your website may not be enough to satisfy the needs of a tablet user. So you need to be able to supply your website in a smartphone-friendly version, display it a different way to customers on a tablet, and differently again on a computer.
For more information on mobile marketing and the advantages of mobile-friendly websites click here.