Posts categorized ‘Tablet’

Couch Commerce: Not Fad, but Future

Zmags Co-Founder Speaks on Growth of Tablet Commerce & ‘Couch Commerce’, a Shopping Behavior Facilitated by  the Zmags Platform

Zmags' Jens Karstoft on Tablet Commerce

Zmags’ Jens Karstoft on Tablet Commerce

Couch commerce –which is not synonymous with “purchasing a couch” – has emerged as a prevalent shopping behavior in the ecommerce world. Shopping from home and online shopping are certainly not new concepts, but the emergence of the tablet has opened up new ways in which customers interact with retailers and purchase online.

“Couch commerce” can be defined as any online transactions that happen on tablets from the comfort of one’s own home, often in the living room or bedroom.

Tablet = Dominant Device used by Couch Shoppers

Mobile apps and mobile versions of websites have their place in the digital shopping spectrum, but couch commerce is first and foremost a tablet trend. Due to size of screen, load time, and other factors, users on tablets are on average seeking a longer and more comprehensive visit than mobile users. This is a true browsing and shopping visit: conducting research, viewing images, and making purchases.

Mobile is sufficient for the online shopper who knows exactly what he/she wants and where to get it, but for the couch shoppers that want to dive into the browsing experience, read, view, and make multiple purchases, tablet is their device of choice.

The return on couch commerce tablet sales is well-documented: Users on tablets are spending 54% more on their purchases than their mobile counterparts and 19% more than those on desktops.

While tablet shopping has been established for a few years, statistics – as mentioned above – point to the fact that “couch commerce” it is still in the early stages, and continues to evolve as the landscape of digital hardware and software shifts.

Zmags remains at the forefront of this paradigm. CTO and Co-Founder Jens Karstoft spoke last week on the subject, at an event titled “Tablet Commerce: Fad or Future?” , hosted by Mobile Monday Boston. The event agenda covered tablet strategies and success stories, and was born from the fundamental idea that “The retail sector is moving forward quickly to build experiences for consumers who shop in a lean-back, interactive tablet experience.”  Karstoft spoke about industry trends as well as Zmags-specific customer data to support the idea that tablets are used more on weekends, tablets elicit longer visits, and that tablet shoppers have higher order values.

Zmags Slideshare:

Zmags Advantage

Crafting the Experience

Mobile is all about on-the-go convenience. Tablet is about convenience, but is hardly about on-the-go. The tablet shopper has slowed down and wants to relax. The digital catalog is perfectly suited for these devices, and offers an immersive experience that syncs content and commerce. The user can flip through pages, view content, watch videos, and with one touch get more information on products or add products to cart. This seamless experience is befitting to the couch commerce mentality: convenience, all in one place (no need to get up!).

These consumers don’t want to step outside and head to the store, so why would those same shoppers put up with needing to leave one page to purchase on another?  Or want to deal with small images that make it hard to see the product up close, like you would in a store?

Karstoft also talked about several Zmags clients who are keeping these questions in mind while creating new digital assets and designing their digital catalogs.  Marketing teams are now letting images speak for themselves, relying on quickviews (pop-up windows) to provide the pricing, materials and sizing details.  However, with consumers demanding this immersive and visual visit, they already feel like they’re playing catch up.

How is your brand crafting a great tablet user experience?

MITX Mobile Migration Summit: Why to Focus on Tablets for Ecommerce

At last week’s MITX Great Mobile Migration Summit, I spoke to an audience along with Joan Connor from PartyLite, a home fragrance direct selling company, on “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones:  Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction“.

photo 2

Our main objective?   To provide marketers and agencies with some creative ideas on how to capitalize on the distinctions between tablets and smartphone users – with the goal of helping them improve the digital experience for their customers.

Tablets are used more during leisure time (at night and during the weekends), while smartphone users tend to be on-the-go, looking for quick-hit website searches, directions, etc.  So, consumers are in a more relaxed mindset on tablets, often lingering on websites longer and viewing more content and pages – with up to 1.7x more pages viewed on tablets than on smartphones.  This multi-screen behavior of “couch commerce” while watching TV can lead to impulse buying and larger average order values among the tablet segment of shoppers.

tablets vs smartphones

Here are the Top 5 Tips we covered in detail

1.  Design for digital using HTML5
2.  Shoppable online catalogs
3.  Sales enablement
4.  Device recognition
5.  Tablet apps



PartyLite has been a Zmags client for several years, but has been printing catalogs for nearly 4 decades!  At first, PartyLite’s Zmags were just digital replicas of its print catalogs.  Several pages, such as candle ordering grids, did not translate well on screen – forcing shoppers to spend extra time just zooming in on all of the details.   At Zmags, we noticed this in the data, and recommended designing for digital, using interactive elements and a streamlined layout to create a better user experience, especially on tablets.

Joan’s team at PartyLite took this advice, and have since had incredible success with new optimized digital catalogs that focus on key collections they want to promote in their assortment, instead of long, comprehensive books.  The response has been extremely positive among Consultants (direct sellers) and their customers.   The PartyLite creative team, seeing the clear benefits, now photographs and designs for digital FIRST and print SECOND!

Take a look at PartyLite’s latest Zmags catalog, a great example of the rich photography and crisp layout that works well to inspire purchases on tablets.PartyLite ScentGlow

For a complimentary copy of the presentation, please contact us!


Recap of MITX Mobile Summit: mobile trends & dependencies

Yesterday, several of us from the Zmags team attended MITX’s Mobile Marketing Summit, The Great Mobile Migration, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

What a great event!  We made many new connections and returned to the office feeling much smarter about the future of mobile marketing and its challenges ahead.

Zmags and PartyLite at the MITX Mobile Summit

Zmags and PartyLite at the MITX Mobile Summit

Ironically, I had forgotten my iPhone at home in a rush that morning, so was feeling very disconnected all day– a strange contrast that reinforced how dependent society (ok, how dependent I!) have become on smartphones.  I yearned for my phone on multiple occasions:

1.  Had my co-presenter, Joan from PartyLite, arrived?  Where should we meet to prep for our speaking session on “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones:  Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction”?

2. It was a gorgeous spring day, and everyone enjoyed having lunch outside on the rooftop garden.  I found myself wanting to know the exact temperature, but resisted the urge to ask someone else to check for me…

Earlier in the day, Cameron Clayton, President of the Digital Division for, shared an interesting stat:   that the Weather Channel is the #2 site/app checked on mobile, only coming in behind Facebook (beating out Google).  I believe it.

3.  Wanted to see and download the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app during a great session led by Dave Tryder, DD’s Director of Digital Strategy.  It sounds like they’ve made the app extremely functional, with store locators, mobile payment capabilities and even digital gifting through the app.

A few speakers (including myself) talked about mobile commerce as an emerging trend that we’ll continue to see more of.  Right now, this has taken off more quickly on tablets vs. on smartphones.   However, well-designed apps that allow shoppers to easily browse and add items to their carts — even while offline! — should help make transacting easier on smartphones as well.

What activities are you and your target segments doing most on mobile devices?  Where do you think things are heading?

MITX Mobile Summit Preview: Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones

In less than a week, I’ll be attending and speaking at the MITX Great Mobile Migration Summit right here in Boston!  

Without giving too much away, the focus of my session, “Why Tablets Will Outpace Smartphones:  Trends And Tips To Optimize Every Customer Interaction“, involves recognizing tablets as more than just smartphones with big screens.

Consumers use tablets from different locations than their phones and in different frames of mind.  They are more likely to be on retail and e-commerce sites and view more pages while they’re there.   A mobile strategy that lumps smartphones and tablets together will inevitably fall short.  I’ll discuss tips on how to create a savvy tablet content marketing and ecommerce strategy that capitalizes on these different tablet behaviors, excites your customers, and sets you apart from competitors.

I’ll share examples from Zmags client PartyLite, a home fragrance direct selling company that got ahead of the curve by extending a core catalog shopping experience to the tablet.  


Event details:

Thursday, May 2nd

8:00AM – 4:00PM

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

If you haven’t already, click here to register!  Hope to see you there.

Tablet Vs Mobile: Is One More Important Than the Other?

Three years ago this question would have been irrelevant. Today, however, there are 75 million tablet users in the United States alone, and that number is only growing. Clearly, the digital landscape is changing drastically. Now, even less tech-savvy people are making demands that brands are being forced to consider and mold to.

The big discussion today in e-commerce and brand experience deals with Tablet versus Mobile. What type of presence should I have? Where are my customers? What’s more important? Where can I be more successful? It’s important that you distinguish between the types of customers that are engaging with your brand, and what type of device they are using to do so.  Identifying the personas of mobile and tablet users, as well as users who frequent both devices, will help you identify a strategy.

mobile on the goMobile:

This user is generally on the go, commuting to and from work, waiting at a doctor’s office or perusing Twitter while sitting in a meeting. They are the surface users trying to get quick-hit information like purchasing a Groupon or setting a dinner reservation on OpenTable.


How to Approach them: Offer an experience that is concise, clear and simple. These people are doing a million things at once and capturing their attention is considered a victory.

  • Quick offers- Provide a pain-free way to purchase or get more information with minimal form fields and clicks required.
  • Clear messaging- What are they getting out of this? Is the offer different because they are on a mobile device?
  • Optimized for the screen- Small screen means less real estate. Be sure to have clear imagery and content that is easily read or able to be zoomed in on with big enough calls to action.

tablet newspaperTablet:

Today, for most brands, the tablet has quickly become the holy grail of customer communication. Brands that can connect with consumers at this touchpoint via a digital catalog or shopping cart can capitalize on this growing behavior. What could be better than a slick device that fits perfectly in your lap while you sit on your couch catching up on the latest episode of Mad Men?  This trend is quickly becoming referred to as “couch commerce” and “multi screen experience” as people no longer solely watch TV while unwinding after work.

How to approach them: These users are craving a more in depth visit and are most likely conducting research or making a purchase.

  • Offer more- You can demand that these users take a deeper look at your offering. They want to explore more and want more information at their fingertips.
  • Easy to transact- These users are spending 54% more on their purchases than their mobile counterparts and 19% more than those on desktops. Encourage them and make it easy for them to buy. Right now tablets are the preferred channel for retail and eCommerce at around 10%, with mobile trailing at around 7%.
  • Clean content- The screen is still relatively small. No one ever complimented the iPad for offering them the best super bowl watching experience- so keep that in mind. Continue to keep the content clean, uncluttered, with clear calls to action. You want to make sure your visitors are clear on what they should be doing whether its clicking on a link, previewing a video or signing up for something.

End Result?

Both platforms are beginning to morph into the communication of the future. Don’t forget to optimize your experience for both – but understand your end game. A user is more likely to spend time engaging with your brand and transacting while on their tablet, so give them more information. However, never forget the mobile folks: on-the-go, but still worthy of interaction. Offer these two experiences and you’ll be converting visitors to brand loyalists in no time.


How Online Catalogs Support Personalized Sales

Today’s customers are highly informed and access information about products through various digital touch points (like online catalogs!) by themselves. The role of the marketer is now to guide the customer through the buying process, to provide them with a good experience in whichever channel or medium they choose, rather than dictate terms. This requires a shift from the product centric marketing campaigns to customer centric campaigns, and this, in turn rests on the marketer customizing the engagement with the customer. At the same time, the marketer also needs to ensure a consistent voice and message across the different channels.

Online catalogs as a marketing tool facilitate this trend, which is evident from the experiences of PartyLine, a niche maker of candles, candle warmers, fragrances and premium home décor products.

PartyLine Zmags Catalog

The company’s online catalog, powered by Zmags Verge, retains its almost one hundred year old reputation of providing personalized service and striking a lasting relationship with customers. The company managed to create lasting relationships by delivering top quality, sustainable and durable lifestyle and home décor products.

The Verve powered catalog, slick in design and optimized to provide the perfect medium showcase such strengths. The rich imagery that radiate the beauty of the products takes on from where the glossy print catalog left and even improves the experience for the consumer.

The catalog, instead of listing each item on stock, lists only a few products with bigger images, and a curative experience when the consumer browses the catalogue. The company merchandises the products exactly the way they want online shoppers to find them.

A preview tab allows the consumer to see the product coming up next, allowing them to delve into it or side step it to some other product.

The rich, in-depth, flexible and engaging experience offered by Zmags PartyLine catalog gels perfectly with at-home parties where the sales agent connects with the potential clients.

How can you use an online catalog to engage your customers?

The Need to Sync Content Across Multiple Devices

In today’s multi-touch point world, the content matters more than the device. People no longer use specific devices to access specific content, but use multiple devices. For instance, they may watch a video or browse a website through the desktop, the tablet or the smart phone. In this scenario, only the content that remains resilient enough to adapt to the multi-touch point world stand a chance of widespread acceptance.

syncing data across multiple devicesOliver & Ohlbaum (O&O)’s annual survey on media consumption trends corroborates this view. The survey reveals that almost half (48%) of all tablet users use the device to watch TV. The corresponding figure last year was 33%.

A bulk of the multi-screen viewership for television is for content strongly linked to apps. 12% of the survey respondents actively use companion apps when watching TV through tablets, and 65% of those who did so felt that it as an engaging way to add value to the TV viewing experience.

However, popular demand is for  free catch-up services rather than subscriber video-on-demand services (SVoD). The former is growing at a rapid pace whereas the growth of the latter has flattened out. The survey also reveals that the three most popular video channels viewed in tablet are BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD in that order. YouTube takes the fourth place.

For marketers and content creators, success depends on not just optimizing the various inherent features of the device to provide a truly immersive and enchanting experience, but also on syncing content across various devices to provide consmers with a consistent and integrated experience.

Tablets Spruce Up Delivery of Custom TextBooks

Technology has thrown open a world of possibilities, and one Pearson digital textbookpossibility is the ability to create  custom textbooks.

The concept of custom textbooks allows students to refine their textbook content to align with their course objectives. The tablet, with its powerful multimedia features, converts such customized text into fun and interactive content, providing a powerful and pleasurable learning experience. The powerful features of the tablet allow students to tap into concepts, access the relevant articles and news related to the subject in real time, view the related audio and video content without going elsewhere, and do much more.

The portable and dynamic nature of the tablet also offers unmatched convenience and flexibility, further confirming the superiority of tablet based custom-books to conventional paper textbooks. Delivering custom textbooks through tablets makes the content available much easier at a considerably reduced cost. Digitally delivered custom books improve accessibility of content to a wider range of consumers, overcoming the physical limitations such as availability of stock, or working hours of bookshops.

Pearson Learning Solutions offers such custom textbooks, using Zmags as its partner to deliver its dynamic Mercury Reader Brochure. The brochure encapsulates the best that technology can offer to create personalized textbooks, allowing both students and teachers to apply personalization and make the purchase seamlessly.

The brochure, containing order codes from the master textbook, leverages the power of simplicity, allowing users to simply tap on the order codes to add the required content, drag the selected content to the required order, click on confirm and then input the contact information. Pearson emails the book summary to the consumer for purchase or for further changes. The provision to print, mail or make a PDF copy, the ability to zoom into a page, the provision to search for the required text directly, the ability to proceed to any page directly without flipping through each page, helpful pop-ups such as the Wish List and other intuitive features spruce up the brochure to deliver a truly engaging experience.

Tablets and Smart Phones Boost Digital News Consumption

The emergence of digital news may result in the death knell for the print news industry. With customers transitioning their loyalty to the digital media, traditional news media is suffering from loss of circulation and consequently ad dollars.

Business news at digital tabletNow a churn is happening within the digital media. Older generation digital devices, such as television, are feeling the heat from newer and more nimble entrants such as the tablets and the smart phone. These new devices leverage the power of the Internet to deliver instant and customized news to consumers, drawing away the consumer’s attention from the stale and generic news content offered by television channels.

The television retained its dominance as the most popular source for news during the desktop era. Even though web browsers delivered real time and customized news to desktops and laptops, the migration from television to the news websites accessed through desktops and laptops was at a steady and gradual pace, primarily owing to the limitations of accessibility and connectivity. However, the emergence of even more flexible and portable devices such as the smart phone and tablets, the development of Internet technology such as wi-fi connectivity and the popularity of news apps that increases convenience multifold has accelerated the pace of migration.

A June 2012 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press place digital mediums just 16 percentage points behind TV as the primary source for news content, among US consumers.

A September 2012 study survey by Mojiva, a mobile ad network, reveals that smart phone and tablet owners still use the laptop, followed by television as their primary source of news, but indications are that this would change shortly.

In fact, television still holding its ground may be due to demographics. The Pew survey reveals that three-quarters of US news consumers ages 65 and older watched news on TV. In contrast, the percentage of respondents in the age group of 18- to 29-year-olds who watched news on television was just over one-third, and this group has actually dropped TV news consumption by 15 percentage points between 2006 and 2012.

Digital news is taking over – what have you noticed about your content consumption habits?

Digital Magazines Allow Marketers to Engage with Customers on a Consistent Basis

Digital magazines are a godsend for marketers in an increasingly competitive world where they seek to capture the customer’s attention on a relatively ‘permanent’ basis.

There are many advantages to having a digital magazine.  It provides a low cost, easy and reliable method to engage with the customers on a regular basis. Apart from regular informative content about the brand, these magazines provide a good opportunity to disseminate news and updates, latest offers and promotions, showcase new products and more. With customers subscribing to such magazines, delivery is more or less guaranteed, a marked improvement from emails or other delivery mechanism where the chances of the customer actually viewing it depends on many factors. Moreover, once downloaded, subscribers can access the content without Internet connectivity, especially useful when on the move.

New digital touch points such as the tablets make digital magazines even more popular. The portability, rich media and dynamic functionality offered by the tablets makes it easier for the consumer to navigate the magazine. Marketers can leverage these same features to provide an enchanting experience for the consumers.

Costco Connection, the monthly lifestyle magazine for the members of Costco, is a good example of a digital magazine. Rather than directly showcase and promote products, the magazine provides articles of general interest and useful tips related to Costco’s services or products available at Cosoco, making the magazine as good and interesting as any other general magazine that a reader would read.


Costco Connection Digital Magazine


The magazine replicates its print version, and as it is with the case of all digital content, provides hyperlinks that allow the reader to delve into any subject or product of interest without leaving the page. It also provides a host of other features including table of contents, search options, a side bar and more to allow readers access the required content directly without having to flip pages.

Can your business use a digital magazine to increase engagement?