Rise of the Tablets: Tablets to Outsell PCs by the End of 2013
Posted on September 17, 2013
Are we about to witness the demise of the personal computer? Desktop and laptop computers are far from a thing of the past. But they are about to be eclipsed by tablets by the end of the year, according to an IDC survey that predicts tablets will outsell PCs in Q4 2013.
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What does this mean for online businesses?
It's actually a very good thing for just about everyone! Tablets typically expose consumers to advertisements are more point throughout the day than do computers; mobile applications allow merchants to put offers in front of customers more easily; and tablets offer other ways to engage customers as well.
Mobile Devices: Highly Personal Technology (and Highly Targeted Campaigns)
This is one technological "disruption" that provides multiple opportunities for online merchants. Since tablets are easier to take everywhere than desktop computers or even laptops, and because they are so well adapted to the social media landscape, tablets represent a more personal experience for each consumer.
The data collection methods available for online retailers today, combined with the highly personal nature of tablets, allows online merchants to spend advertising dollars where they do the most good--targeting the customers most likely to buy products or services, instead of figuring out where those customers are.
This ease of targeting combined with various forms of retargeting (such as the Google Remarketing service) will likely make the age of mobile computing a very profitable time for smart and dedicated merchants.
Competition with Local Businesses
Mobile applications aren't standard for every business these days--but they likely will be soon. They are already standard in several offline sectors, such as the restaurant and hospitality industry. While it may seem contradictory, offline businesses as a whole are ahead of online merchants when it comes to mobile apps!
The nature of the mobile device lends itself easily to local businesses and events. But tablets are quickly becoming the favored method of browsing the internet in general. This gives online businesses an advantage when it comes to frequency--but we also end up competing with offline businesses more often.
One way to compete is by having a mobile application created for your business, which we cover below. Online businesses should also check their Google AdWords and other paid search ads more frequently, as many of us may face increasing competition from primarily offline businesses.
More Chances to Engage Customers
A mobile application for your business, on your audience's devices, gives you the opportunity to interact with them as often as you would like (keeping in mind there is a limit for all good things!).
That being said, you need to interact in a way that is beneficial to your customers, if you want the interaction to be a two-way street. One of the best ways, of course, is the updated version of the limited time offer coupon--simply send a notification to the application to inform customers of a special (but time-limited) deal.
LivingSocial and Groupon are great examples of this kind of interaction. It offers a platform for multiple businesses to send the kind of special offers that draw new and repeat business from customers. The service is a favorite among businesses with local offline presence, since it shows offers based on each individual customer's location.
But you don't need offline presence in order to take advantage of geo-targeting. Some online businesses test offers in each area and discover that different offers do better in differing locations. Others may target different locals based on weather or current events/attractions in the area. There's no reason you can't do both!
Perhaps most importantly, you want to supply a free mobile app related to your business. Something like the Amazon app for Android helps customers shop. And its Kindle for iPhone and for Android allow people to read ebooks as soon as they purchase them--or read other ebooks they have purchased previously. Your mobile application should make it fun for your customers to engage your business. Just as importantly, it should also make it easy for them to buy!
Personal computers are far from dead--but neither are they the monolithic force they once were, either. Fortunately, there's no need for online merchants to worry: Tablets can easily equal more profits for merchants who know how to engage customers via these and other mobile devices. All a merchant needs to do is leverage mobile's strengths and reach out to customers in a targeted, personal way.
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