retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

It is going to be an Eye-Opening week.

Today, Amazon is expected to debut its new Kindle Fire, a tablet computer that will give users access to various forms of content, and that is likely to be positioned as a rival to the iPad. The Kindle Fire reportedly will begin shipping in early November.

Next Tuesday, Apple will hold a press conference at which new CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil, among other things, the next iPhone. Or iPhones. As usual, Apple isn’t offering many hints.

There also are reports that Barnes & Noble may launch the Nook Color 2 next month.

Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal has a story this morning that says “retailers have found an interesting characteristic of consumers who browse their websites using tablets: They're much more likely to pull the trigger on purchases than other online shoppers.

“That discovery is making retailers focus on tablets ahead of the all-important holiday season, as the tough economic backdrop puts a premium on what the industry calls ‘conversion’ - making sure the shoppers who show up actually buy something.”

Forrester Research says that tablet users often spend as much as 10 percent more than people using traditional computers. In addition, the conversion rate for people using tablets is between four and five percent, compared to three percent for traditional computer users.

There are a lot of moving parts here. Lots of activity, and a lot of potential customers in play.

It is going to be interesting.
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