Here at gap intelligence we  monitor the pulse of retail.  If you remember, I wrote a blog in June 2011 highlighting how tablets were positioned in multiple sections within a store, forcing consumers to walk the entire length and breadth of the store to explore different tablets.  Times have changed with many retailers finally organizing their tablets in dedicated areas.  If you recently paid a visit to any electronics, departmental, or office supply store, then you would have surely noticed the change.  Shopping for a tablet no longer feels like a scavenger hunt, as tablets are now located in their own dedicated space right next to notebooks and desktops (logical placement!).

The new dedicated section for tablets helps both consumers and retailers.  I have often mentioned in previous blogs and reports that in the chaotic world of tablets, where a consumer is challenged to find differences between tablet A and tablet B, “touch, test, and feel” play a very important role.  In many consumers mind, a tablet is either the iPad or a device running on Android.  And in the iPad dominated world, “touch, test, and feel” becomes even more important for Android vendors.  Only when holding a device in hand, can a consumer tell whether he/she likes the wedge-shaped design of the Sony tablet or the rubberized back of the Toshiba Thrive.

A better organized retail space also helps improve the shopping experience.  A consumer is more likely to visit a chain where he/she will find a good tablet selection at a single location without much wandering around.  Better in-store management improves the shopping experience, which helps convert potential buyers into actual buyers and eventually create repeat buyers.

As the category continues to develop, vendors are also investing in dedicated end-cap displays.  End-caps are expensive and definitely a sign of promotional investment from tablet vendors and space commitment from retailers.  Companies like Apple, Motorola, Samsung, Amazon, B&N, and even Taiwanese player Asus have positioned their tablets in dedicated end-cap displays.  These end-caps definitely attract customers towards them first before they move on to check all other tablets.

Tablets are experiencing strong growth in the market and are expected to surge to between 70 and 75 million units this year.  With that, it is fair to say that by creating dedicated in-store tablet sections, retailers got their act together just in time.