The Boost in Mobile: Top Retailers Step Up Their Mobile Game

18 Feb

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Mobile is a top priority – or in any case should be- in most retailers’ developing digital strategies. A couple of weeks ago in my Strategic Internet Marketing class we examined an interesting and well-written article by digital media guru Brian Solis entitled “Forget about Social Media for a moment. What’s your mobile strategy?” While the article emphasized the growing mobile market and the rising trend in mobile web traffic independent from desktop web experiences, one thing it seemed to miss from a retailer’s perspective is the low conversion of mobile site visitors. So the question became, if the odds of closing a sale are so low, why should mobile customers matter to retailers?

A report by ForeSee entitled Mobile Satisfaction Index: Holiday Retail Edition shed some light on this very question. As I postulated in class, while mobile isn’t a strong closer in the purchasing experience, it serves as an introducer very early in the digital purchasing path. The results of the study revealed:

“More than half of respondents visited the company’s website as their first step in shopping experience (57%) and were highly satisfied with that interaction (80).”

Mobile sites serve as the first step in the buying experience for more than half of purchasers, making that first step a very important one, because what is the old adage? First impressions are everything! Making that first foray into the brand’s storefront an oh-so-important step not only in the shopping experience, but in the brand experience in general. Who hasn’t gone to a site they love on their mobile phone only to find an unoptimized experience? Isn’t there just a little bit of disappointment and skeptisim in that visit (right before the inevitable bounce)? “Ew, this store doesn’t have a mobile site? ::judgemental eyebrow:: ::closes web screen and goes back to playing Fruit Ninja::”

The second half of the above findings- 80% being high satisfied with that first mobile interaction- is an encouraging indication that large retailers are taking notice of this growing segment and improving the mobile experience for customers. Retailers are beginning to understand that solely concentrating on their traditional E-commerce site (Whoa, remember in late 90s when Internet webstores were cutting edge? Now they’re “traditional”? Hello 21st century!) no longer cuts it in the eyes of the consumer. When they visit a website on their mobile phone, they expect an optimized mobile experience.

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So do we set off the confetti canons and throw our desktop online shopping machines out the window? Not so fast. While the findings of this study are definitely an improvement year over year, even the top 25 retailers are still barely in the B-C range in customer satisfaction. Obviously there’s still room for improvement.

Smaller retailers still have plenty of catching up to do, but studies like this should cause them to take notice. They’re a good indication that by beefing up mobile experiences smaller retailers will meet the high expectations of today’s mobile-savvy shoppers… and avoiding those dreaded judgmental eyebrows.

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