Shopping via Tablet Gains Fans

The buzz about mobile shopping focuses on the smartphone as the device in hand. But Forrester Research analysts suggested in a report last month that retailers should prepare for "tablet commerce," too.

The report, titled "Why Tablet Commerce May Soon Trump Mobile Commerce," is based on a survey of 28,551 online U.S. shoppers that found respondents prefer tablets to smartphones. "This isn't surprising given that tablets address one of the biggest challenges of mobile devices: the small screen," the report said.

Tablets can provide "richer online experiences than smartphones," including horizontal scrolling, page flipping and video viewing , according to Forrester. The "page flippability," for instance, is especially attractive to catalog retailers.

The Forrester survey also found that tablets are primarily used in the home, especially the living room, and support a leisurely shopping experience.

In addition, innovative retailers are likely to use tablets in stores, as kiosk replacements or as tools for improving customer service on the sales floor, the report said.

But the Forrester analysts acknowledged that "tablet commerce isn't a sure bet," because few retailers are spending money to modify their content for tablets.

Plus, the analysts noted, there are still tablet holdouts: consumers who aren't convinced they need to buy another electronic device.

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