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.

Who’s Driving Your Plane? Thoughts On Customer-Driven Products

I recently participated in a LinkedIn group discussion on strategies for branding/repurposing content that centered on a key concept that many association managers and volunteer leaders seem to miss: You must let customers, not producers, define the association’s product offerings.

The original poster related that his organization’s attempt at content aggregation and reselling was not as successful as they had hoped. In his view, the product failed because the senior management curated the content into bundles that they thought would best benefit the end users. He felt that it would be preferable to let the customer pick and choose the content in his or her bundle.

This is absolutely correct for most products, in my view. And especially so for content bundles that can be easily aggregated according to customer preference.

We are living in a world where technology has enabled customers to tailor their purchases to closely fit their individual needs to the letter. Sites like Amazon.com have acclimated us to a way of buying that incorporates unlimited “mix and match,” to its great success. Associations will need to follow this model to maximize their revenue, especially in terms of non-dues revenue-generating products.

Like it or not, associations directly compete for information share and customer dollars with giant product clearinghouses like Amazon.com. The only way to do this successfully is to listen carefully to the needs and wants of the customers and let them drive the purchasing decisions for your organization’s unique products. In this case, being a facilitator, not a curator, will reap benefits.

If you’re interested in the thread that started this, you can check it out at LinkedIn’s Association Media and Publishing discussion page.