April 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

Apple's roll-out of its newest iPad calls on e-retailers to sharpen their tablet strategies

The new iPad offers several advantages over its predecessors, including a higher resolution screen, a stronger battery and high-speed 4G wireless connectivity. That means online retailers will need to ensure their web sites look good and function well on Apple’s newest tablet computer.

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For online consumers, the options for shopping on mobile devices just keep getting better. And nothing exemplifies that trend more than Apple Inc.'s newest iPad.

The new Apple tablet, released last month, offers several advantages over its predecessors: a higher resolution screen, a new processor, speech recognition software also on the iPhone 4S, a stronger battery, and high-speed 4G wireless connectivity, which makes the third-generation iPad Apple's first 4G device.

This means new iPad owners likely will expect even crisper imagery and video, and sites and apps that load and function very quickly. It also means more iPads in more consumers' hands—all the more reason to ensure sites are optimized for viewing on an iPad—and cause to consider investing in an iPad app, mobile commerce experts say.

Indeed, 63.3% of merchants surveyed last month 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.

19% of U.S. adults own a tablet computer, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds. And studies say between 65% and 75% of those tablets are iPads.

And critical for retailers: 92% of non-desktop online sales originated from an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch in December 2011, up from 88% in April 2011, says personalization vendor RichRelevance Inc. It studied 3.4 billion shopping sessions on its retailer clients' sites between April and December 2011.

The study also found that shoppers using Apple mobile devices have a larger average order value compared with other mobile platforms—$123 for Apple versus $101 for Android in December 2011. And that far outstrips the desktop average order value of $87.



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