Tablets driving online revenue for retailers, survey finds

Retailers continue to adjust to digital age

WASHINGTON — With the digital age in full swing, many retailers have reported that their online sales are being boosted by orders made via a tablet, according to the 2012 "State of Retailing Online" survey from Shop.org and Forrester Research.

According to the survey, 49% of retailers said their average order value via a tablet now is higher than traditional Web sales, while nearly 3-in-10 (28%) retailers said they are seeing about the same average order value from tablets as their website. When it came to actual sales retailers are reporting, the survey found tablet and smartphone sales as a percent of retailers' total Web sales in 2011 were 3.2% and 1.5%, respectively.

Despite these notable increases, 8-in-10 retailers said search and email are the top two drivers of a company's Web traffic from either a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, retailers surveyed report that, on average, 20% of emails opened in a given campaign are opened on a mobile device. What's more, when it comes to mobile marketing tools, the majority of retailers (75%) said that they have turned to QR codes and other barcode scanning options to serve as part of advertising and mobile marketing efforts within their stores.

Although many retailers have stepped up their game in the digital space, the survey found retailers still are adjusting to the sea of change that mobile is having on consumer shopping behavior, which, in turn, has influenced retailers' marketing initiatives. In terms of marketing, retailers said that, on average, 3.9% of their total interactive marketing budgets this year are dedicated to mobile advertising, suggesting a strategy of testing and measuring consumer response.

"Retailers must continue to look for unique ways to elevate their brand in such a competitive market. Tablets and mobile devices offer the perfect answer, with opportunities to create specialized apps, drive Web sales and create an engaging and convenient shopping experience," Shop.org executive director Vicki Cantrell said. "Overall, we expect smartphone shopping adoption rates to stay low but fully believe tablet sales will continue to change how retailers garner the attention of new and current customers. With tablet usage marching towards true ubiquity, retailers will continue to plan ahead by examining their customers’ behaviors and shopping patterns."

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