November 1, 2012, 4:39 PM

Dell seeks a window to more sales with a new tablet app

Dell launches an app for Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system.

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Dell is one of the first big-name retailers to capitalize on a feature in Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system that enables developers to create one app that works on tablets, laptops and desktop PCs.

The Dell Shop app allows customers using PCs, laptops or tablets that use Windows 8, such as the Microsoft Surface tablet, to shop for Dell PCs or accessories.

The app uses the trademark Windows 8 live tiles—dynamic icons which display on a tablet or computer’s start screen—to show shoppers notifications about new products and offers from Dell, says Brandon McGee, director of global mobile for Dell. App users can also buy within the app and get product and accessories recommendations for their Dell computers by entering their Dell system ID, which identifies the type of product they own. And the app offers online access to the Dell product catalog.

The app was built in-house over the course of a few months, McGee says.

Along with the app, Dell also launched its own line of Windows 8 tablets and PCs, McGee says, including the XPS 12 Convertible Touch Ultrabook, a 12-inch convertible laptop that doubles as a Windows 8 touch tablet. It is selling on Dell.com for $1,199.

Research firm Forrester Research Inc. predicts that 27% of all global tablets will use the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system by 2016.  What’s more, several reports find that consumers are buying more, and more often, on tablets. For example, Forrester finds that the average conversion rate for tablet shoppers is about 4% to 5% compared to a lower 3% rate for PC shoppers. And a May study from Shop.org and Forrester reports that 77% of retailers say the average order value from tablets meets or exceeds the average order value from desktop computers.

Dell is No. 52 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400.

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