Summary:

Fab.com said iPad users represent 15 percent of its customer but make up 25 percent of revenue. And 40 percent of iPad users make their first purchase within 3 months. IPad app users are expected to bring in twice as much revenue as non iPad users.

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While consumers and developers welcome Friday’s launch of the new iPad, design sales site Fab.com has a special interest in Apple’s tablet, which is powering more and more of its total sales. CEO Jason Goldberg shared with me some statistics on the potency of its iPad app users, who represent 15 percent of its customer base but make up 25 percent of all revenue.

The company has been trying to get its head around the impact of mobile shopping since it launched its first mobile apps in October 2011. It’s found that now 40 percent of daily visits come from its mobile apps on iPhone, iPad, and Androiddevices, up from 30 percent two months ago. But it’s the iPad that is standing out as the true money maker. Using software-as-a-service Custora to analyze historical user and order data, Fab created a model that found that 40 percent of iPad app users make a purchase within three months, and 70 percent will make their first transaction within seven months of joining.

Among non-iPad users, about 15 percent make their first purchase within four to five months, said Goldberg. He said while many retailers are happy if they can convert 10 percent of all visitors, 10 percent of Fab’s iPad app users buy their first product within their first week. That shows a clear willingness for iPad browsers to become buyers. Over a projected two-year time frame, Fab’s iPad app users are expected to bring in $700 each in revenue, twice that of non-iPad users, based on Custora’s predictive models.

Why the iPad is a shopping magnet

Goldberg believes iPad users are buying at a higher rate on Fab because of the more intimate and streamlined nature of buying on the iPad app, which presents one product at a time, compared to the desktop version which provides views of multiple items. And the ability to get up close to products and almost touch them using swipes and gestures makes it conducive to buying. The fact that iPad users are likely more design-conscious and probably have more disposable income also contributes, he said.

“It feels like you’re touching the product on the iPad,” he said. “It’s the closest thing to going into the store.”

This is not even counting iPad users who visit the store through the web. Fab tries to steer those users to its app. But there are indications from other retailers that the tablet web shoppers are also more likely to buy as well.

Goldberg said the iPad app is due for an update in the next couple months to make it even more tailored for tablet users. He said he doesn’t have the resources yet to make a dedicated tablet-optimized website but it’s something he’d like to tackle as well.

The numbers from Fab represent just one online retailer, but I think it’s indicative of a larger trend of shopping being transformed by tablets. The devices are really well suited for buying, especially for products that invite closer scrutiny and interaction. With iPad penetration expected to increase with the launch of the new iPad, it means even more opportunities for retailers.

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