February 1, 2012, 2:44 PM

Tablets are driving retailers’ redesigns

More than 63% of merchants are considering redesigns so their sites render better on tablets.

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One way to quantify the impact of tablet computers, like the iPad, on e-commerce is to gauge their influence on retailers’ web site design plans. 63.3% of e-retailers surveyed by Internet Retailer are considering redesigning their web sites so they render better on the iPad and other tablets.

"It's the advent of mobile and the tablet," says Nate Ende, vice president of e-commerce at Trinity Insight LLC, an e-commerce consulting firm. As more e-retail executives visit their e-commerce sites on tablet devices many are realizing that their sites are not overly appealing to shoppers using devices like the iPad, which is spurring some merchants to redesign their sites this year, he says.

While only a minority, 41.7%, of catalog retailers are focusing on tablets in their design plans, those numbers go up significantly for other types of web retailers: 73.9% of chain retailers, 62.3% of web-only merchants and 69.2% of manufacturers that sell online say they will have tablets in mind as they redesign their sites.

Of those taking tablets into account as they redesign their sites with tablets, 39.1% want to create a single site that renders differently depending on the device, 24.5% aim to rework site navigation for touchscreens and 17.3% will remove from their sites Flash, the Adobe Inc. technology widely used on the web to display video and animation, but which does not render on such Apple Inc. devices as the iPhone and iPad.

In addition, 15.5% plan to pare down the existing e-commerce site and 3.6% have other goals in mind. Internet Retailer received 110 responses to the survey from readers of its IRNewsLink newsletter. The survey was conducted in December in conjunction with marketing and survey technology provider Vovici Corp.

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