Amazon Testing Tablet-Friendly Website

Discussion
Sep 07, 2011
George Anderson

Amazon.com is currently testing a redesign of its website that has been developed to improve the shopping experience for consumers using Apple’s iPad or Amazon’s own long-awaited tablet device.

Both TechCrunch, which initially broke the story, and The Wall Street Journal are said to have seen the site. The Journal described it as less cluttered with fewer buttons and a bigger search box. TechCrunch reported that, when it goes live, the site will be the default for both PC and tablet users.

David Selinger, CEO at RichRelevance, told the Journal that "making the content dynamic and personalized to each individual consumer becomes overwhelmingly important" as more and more people move to devices with smaller screens.

Amazon, according to both reports, is looking to more prominently feature digital products on the new site. Categories of products such as game and music downloads, Kindle e-books, and apps for the company’s Appstore would be featured more heavily than with the current site.

While TechCrunch reported that Amazon would launch the redesigned site this fall, company spokesperson Sally Fouts told the Journal, "We are continuing to roll out the new design to additional customers, but I can’t speculate on when the new design will be live for everyone."

Discussion Questions: What do you make of Amazon.com’s development of a tablet friendly site? Should other online retailers be doing the same? Do you see this as a step by Amazon to help give itself a leg up on Apple when it introduces its own tablet device(s)?

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13 Comments on "Amazon Testing Tablet-Friendly Website"


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Fabien Tiburce
Guest
Fabien Tiburce
9 years 8 months ago

Of course it is! compliantia.com is tablet-optimized and this makes a world of difference for tablet users. Designing for tablets requires the following (non exhaustive list):
1) Larger/taller rows in tabulated lists
2) Larger buttons
3) Buttons instead of links
4) NO mouse-over behaviors. Replace with on-click events.
5) No cascading menus and other widgets that are hard to action with tablets.
6) No Flash. Use HTML5 instead.

There is much more and the usability and effectiveness of the site is directly correlated to the attention paid to details (and user testing). Usability pays. Tablets are not going away. All major web properties, e-commerce sites and online apps should be tablet-optimized.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Retailers need to customize their websites and develop applications for small-screen devices. This is where the marketplace is going. Consumers have little patience for a website that cannot be easily viewed on a smartphone. Search becomes more important on a smaller screen, so consumers can quickly locate what they are looking for. It’s all part of being customer friendly.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

The tablet — or some future iteration of the tablet combined with the mobile phone — may spell the end of PCs for most people.

Who knows? They may one day kill laptops.

At any rate, it makes perfect sense for Amazon (and everyone else for that matter) to begin designing for a commercial world in which tablets are a permanent piece of the landscape.

Armen Najarian
Guest
Armen Najarian
9 years 8 months ago

Smart move on Amazon, to be followed by many other online merchants soon. However I don’t see a tablet-optimized site so much as a preemptive strike against just Apple, rather against other ecommerce destinations, both traditional and digital.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Given the pervasive use of tablet devices, given the continuing growth of the use of tablet devices, and given the imminent introduction of their own tablet device, of course it makes sense for Amazon should be redesigning their website to optimize it for use on these devices. Even though other companies may not be introducing their own tablet devices, it makes sense for all companies to optimize their websites for tablet devices or lose market share to those companies that do make the switch. Consumers will gravitate to sites that are easier to use.

Phil Rubin
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Amazon is going to continue to make e-commerce and brick-and-mortar commerce for others a challenge. Now with the new tablet-friendly site and their soon-to-be-released Kindle, they are going to make things difficult for others. The others now extend beyond retailers and also include device manufacturers including Apple as well as everyone else in the tablet business.

If you’re a retailer competing with Amazon, you need to start obsessing about your customers the way Bezos and company do, create an exceptional customer experience across channels, and make sure the value is there and that it’s brand distinctive. Once you do that there’s a lot of work to do!

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 8 months ago
Didn’t we try this tablet thing 10 years ago? I’d like to convey my own experiences with tablets as I’ve seen most of my friends and family acquire these devices. My friend Marc Gordon, (yet another consultant) has an iPad and an iPad2 and his comments are “World’s most expensive serving tray” and most of the time his kids seem to use it for their own entertainment. Another friend who owns a Samsung tablet spent last Saturday night showing us skateboarding accidents on YouTube on his tablet. Another friend who has a Playbook told me that when it crashes there is no way to reset it but was hopeful that she could use it in her classroom. A real estate agent in my circle bought an iPad to use with some specific real estate software and told me that it hardly ever works and it has become an overpriced movie player for her son. Now these are experiences that are limited to me and I’m sure someone out there is using their tablet for productive… Read more »
Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Let’s be realistic here. It’s Amazon! Anything Amazon does boosts their sales and profits. I first saw this as Amazon’s way to stay competitive. After thinking about it, I believe they will soon find a way to be the sales leader or a very close second.

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
9 years 8 months ago

Amazon, not surprisingly, is leading the industry in adapting to horizontal changes in the way consumers and consumer products are evolving.

I’m not alone in predicting massive change to the consumer electronics industry in terms of products, product integration and consumption methods and patterns.

Sweeping changes in how, when, where and with what consumers use in the pursuit of consumption is the largest horizontal issue that e-tailers and retailers face. Amazon is smart to be adjusting to what they know now and not waiting for the obsolescence of traditional access points (Home PCs, laptops and the like) to negatively impact their business.

Tablet devices are going to be ubiquitous and may be less about the hardware and more about the operating systems in the future so I am not too sure that this is a “leg up” issue. Sites like Amazon are going to need to be able to user friendly despite the hardware.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
9 years 8 months ago

Tablets and smartphones are rapidly squeezing laptop computers out of the digitally empowered shopper’s daily arsenal. Amazon has clearly understood its customers and addressed their needs. It would be prudent for brands and retailers to heed this development as Amazon has clearly proved that they are all about ‘selling stuff’! In addition to understanding how your customer consumers media and then addressing it as Amazon has done, it is also imperative to design systems into your solution that optimizes playback of rich media on all these different devices to meet and ensure customer expectations and satisfaction.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
9 years 8 months ago
Apple has been absolutely knocking the ball out of the park since introducing the iPod, and the iPad of course is the latest iteration. But the game is really just getting underway, with the PC market already undergoing major dislocations. Mobile computing WILL be the future of computing, as far as individuals are concerned. Then comes the question of whether Amazon can potentially be THE major supplier of tablets in the future. I wouldn’t bet on it, but do note the oft wisdom of the old saying, “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” Whether Apple ends up with the worm and Amazon gets the cheese is not a trivial question. First of all, I have often noted that Amazon is the premier SELLING business in the world, while Walmart is the premier LOGISTICS business in the world. Of course, Apple has pretty well proven their competence as the premier TECHNOLOGY business in the world. But Apple has not let their technology competence stand in the way of being… Read more »
Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
9 years 8 months ago

Being tablet friendly is necessary.

Being customer friendly (personalized) AND device sensitive would be even better!

Most web optimization looks at the importance of functionality and events by total hits/clicks without any sense of who the customer is. Applying the customer lens to optimize is an important future step….

Mark Price
Guest
Mark Price
9 years 7 months ago

In these days with strong data confirming the increase of “m shopping,” optimizing a site for working on a tablet or on a smartphone is simply good business. An increasing portion of transactions occur while the customer is “on the move,” and the stronger the site is, the greater share of wallet that company will earn.

I am not sure that any company can “get a leg up” on the strong installed base of Apple iPad right now. Their 80-90% marketshare suggests that it will be some time until competitive entries become viable, strong players (including Amazon). Rather, I see the tablet optimization project for Amazon as a way to play on Apple’s platform in a much stronger way, as an increasing segment of their customer base gains comfort with the leading tablet and begins to shop.

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