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More retailers see catalog gold in iPad apps


Online shoppers aren't just looking for tablets to buy, they are using them to do their shopping, too. The New York Times suggests that the majority of tablet owners use the device to shop, and that they prefer the shopping experience of the tablet over that of a smartphone or desktop.

Only about 8 percent of online shoppers are tablet owners, according to Forrester Research. As a result, retailers have overlooked this group of customers and focused their efforts on beefing up their websites or releasing smartphone apps instead.

The success of the iPad 2 has changed all that, and retailer Anthropologie is one of many stores taking notice of tablet users this year. The company released an iPad app right before the start of this year's busy holiday shopping season and expects it to bring in 20 percent of the store's sales within a year. This would be a significant jump from the 6 percent of sales that currently comes from iPad users browsing Anthropologie's website on the device.

Other retailers like Walmart, Saks Firth Avenue and Tea Collection (a children's clothing store) are also embracing the iPad. These retailers are using the tablet device to extend their website and offer an immersive experience. The Tea Collection, for example, is using its iPad app to let customers create outfits, share the outfits on social networks and even watch videos about how the outfits are made. It's the start of a whole new way of shopping for tech savvy customers.

[See our past coverage of catalog apps from Google, Catalog Spree & The Find.]

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