In marketing parlance, a heatmap is a method where researchers track and follow customers based upon their physical movements, tracked by heat. Christina Austin in Business Insider has a useful look at how heatmaps were used to determine how customers fixate on the iPad mini and other tablets (Kindle Fire HD, Barnes & Noble Nook HD, Google Nexus 7).
The results of the heatmap tracking a variety of tablets tell us what we already know, but don’t tell us why. We already know that Apple’s iPad mini is the tablet getting the most touches these days, but the tracking study provides real data.
The study shows that the iPad mini is the most recognized tablet in the research, but the Nook and Kindle Fire received a larger look, and first look respectively. The end result is that other tablets are given a serious look, but it’s the iPad mini which was the choice of most customers (40 percent higher than other tablets).
Unfortunately, the heatmap research doesn’t tell us why the iPad mini is the top selection.
Apple builds products with an emotional appeal that embodies visual, physical, and experienced usage which are notably more attractive to a larger swath of customers than competitors. Apple’s products are so well liked that customers want the latest and are willing to endure standing in line to buy.
Apple’s retail stores, once decried as a future albatross, play on customer emotions– visual, physical, practical– by displaying all the products in an easy to view and try atmosphere.
Of course, Apple’s reputation and panache are blended into the mix of emotions, too, which only enhances the carefully crafted look and feel of each product; often to the customer’s delight. It’s that emotional bond and trust with the customer which sets Apple apart.
Who among Apple’s many and varied competitors creates a similar bond between product, customer, and company?