Shop.org: Shopping via the iPad

Lesley MattNow that the dust has settled after returning from a great Shop.org Annual Summit in Dallas, I wanted to share some of my “take-aways” and lessons learned from the show.
Last week, I reported to you on the keynote by Glen Senk, CEO of Urban Outfitters, the multichannel consumer and the importance of having a holistic mobile strategy in place.

And there were many other sessions and ideas worth sharing.

One of my favorites was a breakout session on shopping via the iPad. The session featured a panel with executives from eBay, WetSeal and Wine.com. Here are a few interesting points to highlight:

Consumers always have a mobile device handy, and they use that device for a variety of things – from checking email and the weather, to making purchases or finding purchase information.

Han Yuan (Director of Engineering, Platform Solutions and Mobile at eBay) noted that many eBay users take advantage of the company’s iPad and iPhone apps to check the status on items, and make purchases. In fact, Yuan stated that 30 percent of the company’s projected $1.5 billion in mobile revenue comes from mobile Web purchases and via purchases made using the iPad and iPhone apps.

Yuan also shared that the iPad app has a 50 percent conversion rate, while the iPhone app sees a 20 percent conversion rate.

“Customers are transacting in places where they previously couldn’t,” Yuan said. “Our iPad app is easier to use than our website.”

Because the iPad is another “go-everywhere, gotta-have-it” device with incredible play by the media, it gives direct digital marketers more opportunities to reach their target audience with robust, relevant, mobile and email experiences and interactions well beyond the confines of the mobile device.

As our own Dutch Hollis mentioned in his iPad post earlier in the year, marketers now have an audience that is always connected to a fast Internet, through a device that will present their message beautifully, at a size larger than 4-inches on a side.

While eBay launched an iPad app to help customers make purchases on the go, WetSeal launched an iPad app to enhance the in-store shopping experience for customers.

Jon Kubo (Chief Information Officer of WetSeal) noted that retailers are looking at ways to put devices like an iPad, iPod Touch or kiosk in-store that can help them assist the consumer.

Another great way to provide information and assistance to consumers in store is through the use of 2D bar codes.

Although the session focused on using the iPad in a retail setting, it is important to keep in mind that, before jumping into the process of app creation, marketers should have tactical game plan in place.

Executives on the panel gave additional advice in regards to the above statement, including:

  • Be sure your any app is part of an overall comprehensive mobile marketing strategy;
  • There is no reason to add an app if you do not have a mobile optimized website already in place, and;
  • Apps cannot provide additional value for consumers if your website doesn’t provide a targeted, relevant experience for consumers.

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