A positive tablet shopping experience is now a critical part of brand perception and customer loyalty, with 75% of consumers saying a dissatisfying shopping experience using a tablet would affect their opinion of a brand, according to a white paper from mobile and multichannel experience firm, Usablenet. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The report, which surveyed both customers and retailers, revealed that more than three quarters of consumers say a dissatisfying shopping experience using a tablet would impact their opinion of a brand. Furthermore, 67% of shoppers stated that it would make them reluctant to recommend the retailer to family and friends.

The way in which consumers are using tablet devices is also shaping the shopping experience. Almost half (46%) of UK tablet owners use them most often at home while watching the television rather than using them when out and about - illuminating a crucial difference between tablets and smartphones and highlighting the importance of "second screening" as a trend. However, this aspect of tablet use may change as 4G networks and free Wi-Fi hotspots proliferate and encourage online browsing on the move.

The white paper also revealed why tablets should be high on retailers' priority lists for adapting to 'showrooming' trends; two thirds of consumers use their tablets to research products online and a similar proportion (63%) check prices and look up store information.

In fact, the report reveals that almost a third (31%) of shoppers want tablet optimised sites to offer an experience that is similar to the desktop but adapted to a tablet's screen and capabilities. It also emerges that shoppers draw a clear distinction between tablets and smartphones and want the experience on each to be tailored to that device, with one consumer complaining that they "hate having to pinch and zoom in all the time" when using their tablet.

"Retailers cannot afford to neglect tablets as shopping devices. Consumers are increasingly using tablets to research and purchase, and they have certain expectations that brands will need to meet if they are to encourage repeat visits and recommendations," concluded Carin van Vuuren, CMO for Usablenet. "Tablets - and particularly their generous screen size - hold great potential for retailers to connect with existing and potential customers. Brands should make sure they make the most of this."