Tablet users like to spend $$$

This report from Adobe studying 16.2 billion transactions over the 2011 holiday season is worth noting. The report found that tablet users were inclined to spend more money per sale than either smartphone or traditional online shoppers. And not just by a little.

As far as the numbers go, tablet users spent 50% more than smartphone users and 20% more than traditional users. As Jimmy Fallon might say, “Who doesn’t want 50% more cash?”

The study concludes that the demographic profiles of those who favor tablet use (18-24 y.o. males with higher than average incomes), as well as the tablet user experience itself (used more on weekends, at home, so more time to shop) could be the reason for the significant lead in amount purchased.

So what can association managers take from this? Well, for one thing, it underscores the pressing need to have a multi-platform approach to selling and marketing products and services. It should go without saying by now, but it’s no longer enough to simply have a static website on your association site where shoppers can go to buy products.

As this report seems to show, the biggest potential ROI can come from tablet users. However, since tablet users still represent only around 4% of all online visits, a robust user experience across all platforms, including tablets–which by their nature provide a unique, new way to interact with your potential customers–is essential.

Upending the dominant paradigm…one frame at a time

So I’ve been a fan of Warby Parker since last November, when I saw a new product announcement (ad) in a copy of my wife’s Vanity Fair magazine. I remember thinking that there was zero probability that it was possible for them to sell me a hip pair of retro-cool glasses for $95.

This is why I don’t gamble.

Turns out that you can, indeed, get a brand new pair of nerd-chic glasses by mail for under a hundred spot, and Warby Parker will donate another pair to charity, to boot. The whole experience exudes trendster cred (which could be a good thing or a bad thing, of course), but one thing that’s clear is that they have hit the sweet spot when it comes to identifying an unexploited niche market and making it their own.

The Warby Parker founders realized that almost all glasses were sold by a few giant corporations that were artificially jacking up prices due to limited competition. Recognizing a need and an opening to redefine the market by offering glasses not as a medical device, but as a fashion accessory…and pricing them accordingly…paid big dividends.

Further, they used cool online marketing campaigns and saavy Web 2.0 merchandizing to build a following, not just a customer base. For example, potential customers are urged to post pictures of themselves trying on sample frames (which the company mails to your home–for free) and post them to the Warby Parker Facebook page so other customers can chime in and help you decide which is right for you. This type of personalized, interactive try-on process increases the potential customers’ psychological affinity to the “Warby Parker club.” Suddenly, the potential customer feels inclusion into a perceived peer group of cool trendsetters. It is a type of brand indoctrination, and one that works (see my photo at the top left of this page for proof).

So what can associations learn from this? One, careful examination of mature markets can expose new opportunities created when traditional ways of doing business do not take advantage of new technology. Two, you will increase members’ or potential members’ likelihood of purchase follow-through if you are able to “bring them into the fold,” psychologically. And three: Ensuring that your brand image fits your target market segment like a pair of cute eyeglasses doesn’t hurt, either.

Here are an inc article and video about how Warby Parker got it right.