Industry

Ready for T-Commerce? No one else is either, finds study

As tablet computers become a bigger part of the retail mix, no major retailer has yet rolled out a tablet specific m-website, finds a new evaluation by ai World, and all those that are available have some shortcomings – except for Nike

As tablet computers become a bigger part of the retail mix, no major retailer has yet rolled out a tablet specific m-website, finds a new evaluation by ai World, and all those that are available have some shortcomings – except for Nike.

Analysing the performance of the relevant apps and m-websites of ten top retailers in the US – Amazon.com, Staples.com. Apple.com, Dell.com, OfficeDepot.com, Wallmart.com, Sears.com, Liberty Media Corp, Officemax.com, CDW.com and BestBuy.com – the surveyed found all suffered from usability problems and offer limit tablet shopping experiences in comparison to those offered by companies with dedicated tablet site experiences, such as clear winner Nike.

In the study ai looked at a number of factors related to how well each retailer site performed on a range of tablet devices, taking in responsive design, adaptive layout, appropriate content sizing, clutter, finger swipe support, optimised functionality, HTML, DHTML and AJAX support, tap-only navigation and tablet optimised search.

In the study Apple, as you’d expect, came out well. Having invented the iPad you would think that the company would have a well optimised tablet site and it doesn’t disappoint, says the report. Amazon and Staples both did quite well, neither having a tablet optimised site, but having desktop experiences that translate well to the tablet environment.

Dell, however, was found wanting. While aspects of the site offered promise on tablets, overall it failed to deliver, says the report. But OfficeDepot offered among the worst experience, offering tiny links to important things like checkout and the shopping cart that are very hard to use. Many of the drop downs don’t work and you can’t type information into the overlays that appear when searching.

The study suggests that many retailers are not really thinking about tablets at present as they wrestle to sort out their mobile strategies for smartphones first. But those brands that do have what the study dubs ‘T-Commerce’ sites offer some amazing insight into what works.

Nike, which has its own T-Commerce offering that features high res photography, makes the most of the tap-based interface for navigation and control and is designed to be quick and easy to find your way around. Surprise of the study was the Four Seasons website, which sizes nicely on a tablet and uses some great photography. It does however rely on the desktop website back end, so has some shortcomings, but certainly has many of the aspects needed by a tablet site.

To download the full comparative study click here