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The gentle revolution

The gentle revolution

The optimization of the websites helps retailers to increase their sales in the online shop – through customers with smartphones and tablets. Because their share will grow strongly in the future, according to the prognosis.

Ever since the tablet boom began to make itself felt on the entire PC market, even the last skeptics have taken the change to new devices in the IT sector seriously. In 2012, 3.2 million tablet computers will be sold in Germany, a good 1 million more than in 2011 and significantly more than predicted in all forecasts. If you consider that serious smartphones have only been around for about five years and tablets for a little more than two years, the prevalence of both device classes is all the more impressive.

At the latest with the introduction of cheap, high-performance tablets from Internet giants Google and Amazon, the battle for customers has also broken out in Germany. “Consumers mainly use the tablets for surfing on the couch and as a practical companion on the go. For normal consumers, the tablet is already seen as the new PC and is a strong competitor to sellers of cheap notebooks and netbooks, ”reports Wiljo Krechting, e-commerce expert at Shopware AG in Schöppingen, Westphalia. “The rapid spread of tablets is increasing the number of hits on all types of websites – including and especially online shops,” said Krechting.

Anyone who sells online as a retailer and ignores this topic is making a serious mistake. Because users come to the site one way or another via tablet and smartphone. If the pages are not optimized, the customer is presented with a poorly operated or simply broken shop – with a correspondingly poor conversion rate. Anyone who sleeps at this point as a shop operator risks that visitors will switch to shops that have been optimized accordingly.

In the first step, the aim is at least to restore the conversion rate to the normal shop level. The average shopping cart value per customer is usually higher than in a normal shop. This can mainly be explained by the more relaxed context of use at home on the couch. This means that optimizing your own shop is not only mandatory, but also offers the opportunity to develop your own sales positively.

Three approaches to post pc devices

In principle, there are three approaches to making an online shop fit for post-PC devices: Mobile templates are usually provided by shop systems or template developers. As with a “normal” shop template for desktop, these are installed in the shop system and then have to be adapted in the source code. Technically, they work like a normal online shop. With each touch, a request is made from the browser to the server and the desired content is sent back to the device. Mobile templates are usually offered for smartphones, but not for tablets.

Native apps are applications that are installed on the device. You can find them in app stores, which also specify the rules according to which development has to be carried out. The development of native apps is associated with a lot of effort, as you have to develop them individually for each operating system (e.g. Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows) and tablets and smartphones each need their own apps. A native app makes no sense for most retailers simply because of the costs and effort involved. Amazon, Ebay and Saturn only make it into the top 50 in the German Apple App Store. In addition, Google cannot link from search results in native apps.

Web apps are the newest category among the three solutions and have only become possible thanks to the development of mobile frameworks such as Sencha Touch and jQuery Mobile. These frameworks make it possible to create web apps that look like native apps, support all known gestures, are independent of the operating system and device and can even access hardware components. Nevertheless, they run directly in the browser and can be used immediately without installation.

“An individual development is basically only an option for very few retailers, as costs can quickly reach the middle five-digit range. Most shop operators will therefore find a service provider who converts their own shop into an optimized version, ”explains Martin Bastiaan, shop operator of the online beverage shop dasgibtesnureinmal.de. These optimized versions are already available for well under 100 euros a month and can be adapted to your own needs depending on the provider.

When deciding on the right solution, it is very important to analyze the costs involved. Here there are models with a share in sales versus those with a fixed cost structure. Most interesting are usually solutions with a monthly fixed price or one-off costs. With these, on the one hand, the shop operator knows in advance what costs will be incurred. On the other hand, the percentage of costs decreases with increasing sales.

Expectations are increasing

Where is the journey going? Daily life is unimaginable without tablets and smartphones. The new, affordable tablet models will make them more widespread in the next few years. Some voices even claim that by 2015 around 50 percent of website traffic will come from tablets. Today it is already more than 10 percent on average. Even if it’s only 20 percent in 2014: Can you afford a 20 percent loss in sales?

In addition, the expectations of the users will increase. You will expect to use the devices with the usual gesture control, even in the browser when shopping. And finally, the topic of smart TV will also be relevant in the years to come. The operating concepts at the manufacturers are currently still in the experimental stage. There is still no real fun in using it, but there are good approaches that will allow easy and good operation in the future. And then users will shop on their television too.

There are many nice examples of great dealers who show what is already possible today in the browser on the tablet. However, these solutions are hardly feasible for the average retailer. For small and medium-sized retailers, the goal must be to maintain their own CR when shopping on tablets and smartphones.

Shop operators who want to offer an optimized shop for tablets and smartphones today can fall back on various solutions. Thanks to innovative services, the shop operator can quickly find a good solution. You don’t get an individual development from any of the providers – but an optimized shop for a lot less money. So there is no longer any reason not to have your own shop optimized.

by Alexander Ringsdorff and Kai-Thomas Krause, source: Handelsjournal