To create an experience that is engaging and contributes to the bottom line, brands need to consider how to optimize for tablet.

Here are four insights into what consumers want on their tablet, and how to offer a seamless experience on this critical device.

1. Don’t ignore what consumers want

If you travel, you already know that today’s consumers take their tablets with them wherever they go. 

With tablet shipments reaching 150m in 2013, consumers are actively choosing to browse the web on these devices, and brands need to craft an appropriate strategy tailored to this channel. 

Customer research into tablet engagement preferences point to the fact that consumers value tablet experiences that are relevant to their context of use.

When it comes to satisfaction when using tablet, there are three primary factors that customers demand:

  • Ease of browsing.
  • Consistency of content from desktop experience.
  • Ease of purchasing. 

These are all a direct result of crafting a tailored tablet experience with context in the forefront of planning.

For example, 2013 was the first year that consumer spending on tablets surpassed mobile phones, and during the most recent holiday shopping season, 19% of purchases took place on tablet devices.

Consumers are making an active choice to shop on tablets as opposed to other channels.

Users will respond better if your tablet experience takes user preference and context of use into account.

2. Do not short-change UX

77% of consumers report that having a poor or unsatisfying experience while trying to use a website on their tablet will affect their willingness to purchase from that brand.

To this extent, brands need to keep UX top of mind. Here are the top must-haves:

  • Tablet site design needs to be visually clean and simple without excessive copy, links, or pathways to other sites. This is where traditional desktop sites do not perform well on tablet. 
  • Consumers need to be able to navigate a site seamlessly, as they are often using their tablets on the go. Companies must make the tablet experience simple, yet effective. Easily lead customers to wishlists, shopping carts, and purchase pages.

    Remember that navigation on tablet is not hierarchical but fluid, and users expect key journeys and page views to be optimized for tablet device capabilities, such as how the presentation adapts based on device orientation.

  • High quality images are a must. 70% of consumers say that the quality of photography and design of a tablet site influences their decision on whether to make a purchase.

    Tablet web users value the aesthetic of the tablet experience, as the device is also used for activities that entertain, like watching videos and gaming.

  • Touch and gesture-based interactions are essential. Users do not use a tablet in the same way as a smartphone.

    There should be no requirement to pinch and zoom, rather, brands should prioritize swiping and scrolling through visual displays and content.

Users prefer an optimized tablet UX that is tailored to the unique characteristics of the device. Creating a intuitive, touch-based experience that is easy to navigate should be a top priority on tablet.

3. Do not mistake consistency for continuity

While users want the same content on tablet that is available on desktop, they want that content displayed in a way that is true to the qualities and capabilities of the tablet device.

Text-heavy desktop experiences on tablet are not effective as it looks cluttered and disorganized and could end up scaring off browsers and shoppers.

It’s a delicate balance to provide content similar to the desktop experience, while also presenting it in such a way that is optimized for context, user goals, and device capabilities.

When it comes to content, brands need to always keep in mind the end goals: seamless experiences, ease of browsing, and ease of purchase.

UK-based online retailer Avenue 32 is a great example of a brand that saw noticeable sales results after optimizing for tablet. With more than 20% of overall web traffic coming from mobile devices, Avenue 32 realized it needed to create a more compelling tablet experience.

The brand introduced a mobile and tablet experience combining product with a strong editorial focus. For its tablet experience, Avenue 32 created visual content paired with text that offered customers relevant product information and inspired them to stay longer and visit more pages.

Overall, mobile and tablet traffic for Avenue 32 rose 74% since launch and the brand reached a notable 89% increase in mobile and tablet conversion rate since the sites went live.

4. Don’t ignore the power of multiple channels

We live in a world of multi-tasking. Consumers choose to engage with brands in different ways, on different devices and different screens, and they demand the ability to move seamlessly between each device to complete tasks.

Research shows that a combined 42% of consumers already use their tablets more than either their smartphone or their desktop computer to make purchases.

Home Decorators created a tablet-specific site after noticing that customers visiting the full ecommerce website on a tablet were converting at a much lower rate than shoppers visiting from a PC.

The company created a unique tablet web experience that not only had large visual navigation and UX to make it easy to discover new products, but also emulated a more catalogue-like experience. 

After rolling out the tablet site, conversion rates were about 15% higher on the tablet optimized site than the rate for consumers who just visited the regular desktop site from their tablets.

Additionally, the average order value was about 20% higher and pages per visit 10% higher on the tablet-optimized site compared to when consumers use the desktop site on the tablet.

Customers deserve a unique tablet experience

The key to creating an effective tablet strategy starts with paying close attention to how your customers are using tablet devices to connect with your brand, and using that knowledge to influence user experience design choices.

A successful tablet strategy will go beyond larger buttons and resized images (although those are essential!)  to creating an experience that is user-centric (first and foremost,) and delivers what users want on tablet.

The results will speak for themselves.