Only 13% of the brands’ sites supported any touch-and-swipe functionality beyond scrolling and most brand sites took 2.5 times longer to load on tablets than on desktops (4.4 seconds versus 1.8 seconds). In addition, one in three brands did not support “cart continuity,” forcing consumers to redo their selections when switching devices during a transaction. Among the brands that offered a mobile app for the iPad, only 10% offered an in-app checkout service.
The report also highlighted a few brands that showed a “flash of genius.” Nike earned credit for its “sticky” sidebar filters that offer finger-friendly menu items and the NIKEiD customization engine that shows 360-degree views of the footwear. Kate Spade’s in-store iPads received a nod for its emphasis on brand immersion. The tablets include videos, walkthroughs, promotions, and content relevant to nearby clothing.
IDC predicts tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs this year, and will exceed portable PCs like laptops by 2014. Given that tablets are still relatively new however, it is understandable that many brands are still learning how to best leverage the technology, Gilbert said.
To bring themselves up to speed, Gilbert suggests companies start with ensuring that the layout of their tablet-enabled sites are making efficient use of space. “A lot of brands aren’t providing variable content sizing for images and text,” he commented.
An optimized site loads at speeds on par with the desktop, the site adapts to either orientation mode (portrait or landscape), and texts, buttons and images are sized appropriately for fingers. “It's these small details,” Gilbert noted “where most brand efforts fall flat.”
As for paid media, in an earlier study that looked at 100 brands, L2 found that only 25% of the brands examined were serving different ads on different devices by taking advantage of local directions, embedded "call" boutique buttons, or mobile-centric offers.
While this finding is more specific to delineating between smartphone versus desktop ad strategies, Gilbert noted, it is “still indicative of the 'one-size-fits-all' approach to digital favored by many brands.”