Are Internet retailers ready for tablets? Not yet, study finds

BOSTON — A provider of rich media mobile and social merchandising found that less than one-third of the top 100 Internet retailers tout websites that are optimal for tablet commerce.

Zmags said that its study, commissioned by marketing consulting and research firm HawkPartners, found that when evaluating shopping and purchasing experiences Internet retailers provided across tablets (i.e., iPad), smartphones (iPhone and Android) and Facebook, most of them said they were relying on their standard websites to provide an "adequate enough" tablet shopping experience. In addition, only 25% of the retailers surveyed had an iPad app where shoppers can directly buy merchandise. What's more, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of the retailers have developed iPhone apps, only half of that group offers the ability to purchase via the app. Additionally, only 59% have fully or partly optimized their sites for iPhones and Android devices.

Zmahs also noted that just 19 of the top 100 retailers extended beyond ordinary HTML-type content to include more engaging material, such as look books, catalogs, editorial picks, etc. However, none of them extended the dynamic environment or optimized the brand experience across the full range of smartphones, tablets and Facebook.

"What we discovered, unexpectedly, was that very few retailers‹even among this elite group of marketers‹are tapping into the full shopping potential of mobile and tablet devices. In fact, not even close to it," said W. Sean Ford, COO and CMO of Zmags. "Only one quarter of retailers are ready to take a consumer through checkout over tablets, but 49% of today's tablet owners said they plan to shop even more next year using their device. This reflects a serious disconnect between how consumers want to shop and the inconsistent experiences they are being offered. It's a crucial issue that retailers need to address before their competitors do."

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