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Retailers must remember tablets when launching mobile payments strategies

Jun 10, 2013 Dave King

Retailers must remember tablets when launching mobile payments strategies

When many business owners think about mobile payments, they might first imagine customers making purchases with the help of their smartphones. While these particular gadgets are a very common sight today almost everywhere, it's important that companies don't forget that when launching a mobile strategy, there are other devices to consider. If they do this, they enhance the likelihood of having a truly winning plan.

The smartphone's bigger cousin, the tablet, is set to experience major growth over the next few years, yet many shoppers who use these technologies still don't feel their needs are being met. If business owners want to experience all the potential benefits of implementing a mobile strategy, they need to make sure pleasing tablet owners is among their priorities.

Unhappy users

Mobile Commerce Daily noted that according to a recent survey from TheFind, 37 percent of tablet owners are now using these gadgets more often for shopping than they did just one year ago. But despite the fact that they're making up a larger portion of the mobile payments market, it appears that retailers haven't yet realized how to suit their needs. In fact, 49 percent of tablet users said that their biggest complaint about mcommerce is that merchants' websites and applications aren't optimized for use on tablets.

The survey found that instead of making these customers feel welcome and special, many retailers are implementing mobile payments in a way that is more likely to cause tablet owners to feel excluded. Nearly half (40 percent) of these users said that they don't consider their tablet as their preferred online shopping device mainly because of non-optimized sites, and this problem affects all aspects of the experience. For 35 percent of tablet owners, the checkout process wasn't tailored to work smoothly on their gadgets, and 29 percent said products displayed too small.

"At the most basic level, retailers need to make their Web checkout process 'fat-finger' friendly for the growing base of tablet users," said Usher Lieberman, director of communications at TheFind, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. "They need to rethink the flow, what information is presented to users and solve the little things which disrupt the transactions like poor keyboard layouts, overactive auto-corrections or even upsells and cross-sells which make the page harder to navigate on the tablet screen."

If retailers think they can put off making these changes due to tablets lying outside the mainstream of consumer technology, they're likely wrong. Gartner recently pointed out that worldwide tablet shipments are expected to skyrocket in 2013, increasing 69.8 percent from 2012 to reach 197 million units. The research firm noted that this growth is being driven by lower prices, better cloud solutions and consumers' increasing interest in using apps.

Safety first
But optimization isn't the only factor deterring some tablet owners from making use of their devices to make purchases. FindLaw noted that 28 percent of the 2,060 respondents cited security concerns, including worries that their financial information could be exposed, among their top reasons for shying away from mcommerce. When users link their credit, debit or ACH cards to a mobile payment app, there is a potential for identity theft to occur if these solutions are not sufficiently secure from cyberthreats.

No one wants to experience damage to his or her consumer credit report. While this may seem at first to fall outside the realm of a business' concerns, company owners should do their best to address security worries proactively. By making apps not only optimized for a variety of devices but safe on all platforms as well, retailers may be able to strengthen their bottom lines and reach growing demographics.