Alongside ecommerce on computers and mcommerce on mobile phones, “couch commerce” is emerging as one of the fastest growing consumer purchasing trends. Couch commerce is driven by individuals who browse and make purchases using tablets, generally at night and on the weekends from the comfort of their homes, typically from a couch or bed. With more than 40 percent of U.S. households expected to own a tablet by the end of 2012, any retailer with an online presence should take note. Couch consumers are crucial customers because they tend to make bigger purchases than other online shoppers. According to research by ecommerce shopping cart software provider Miva Merchant, 77 percent of retailers claim that orders made from tablets are of greater value than those made on home or work computers.
CoffeeTable, a catalog app for iPad, recently revealed its first Couch Commerce Index (CCI), a quarterly report developed by the company to provide retailers with critical insights into tablet shopping behavior. Based on industry-wide consumer confidence data points, analyst forecasts and proprietary numbers, the CCI is calculated using indicators of tablet commerce, specifically measuring change in overall economic consumer confidence, growth in tablet penetration, and changes in shopper engagement and conversion rates. Monitoring data since October 2011, CoffeeTable’s Q2 CCI shows that consumers are significantly more comfortable with tablet shopping since Q4 2011, the index benchmark.
“Tablet adoption is increasing rapidly and we’re seeing the couch commerce phenomenon skyrocket,” says CoffeeTable CEO Ben Choi. “Retailers need to pay close attention to this burgeoning marketplace by tracking and analyzing the differences in consumer behavior on tablets and online. Retailers of all types can now go beyond both the desktop computer and also traditional brick and mortar stores to reach shoppers in every part of the country.”
Tablet growth is helping independent retailers by exposing brands to an entirely new consumer market. Washington, D.C.-based boutique brand, The Shirt by Rochelle Berens joined CoffeeTable in 2012 and has experienced increased sales since making its catalog available on iPad. The Shirt took note of its customers’ increasing use of tablets to access its website and, as an independent online retailer, the company wanted to broaden the reach of its brand while educating new customers about the unique innovation in its apparel. CoffeeTable worked with The Shirt to develop a digital catalog experience that accomplished exactly that. In contrast, The Shirt’s website e-commerce platform offers a traditional search and browse experience centered on a long vertical grid of products. “The Shirt is a perfect example of a boutique brand experiencing a serious spike in consumer engagement and sales by strategically entering the tablet space,” Choi points out. “Since joining CoffeeTable, The Shirt has used the analytics now at their disposal to better understand their customer. With insight that the tablet audience often shops while nestled into their couch, The Shirt designed their digital catalog to compliment a leaned back shopping experience, draped with large lifestyle imagery and clean, uncluttered product layouts.”
Gone are the days when retailers did not see value in having online storefronts, with nearly every type of business today fine-tuning their websites. The tablet space is growing exponentially, up 300 percent from last year alone, and it is essential that retailers carefully evaluate their t-commerce strategy. Online retailers and brick and mortar stores should not be apprehensive about this emerging market. More CCI results and information is available at www.coffeetable.com.