Tis the season for online shopping, and this year in particular seems to have marked itself as the season for online mobile shopping. As the mobile marketplace evolves, and more and more people are using smart phones, you are now in a position to browse items, compare prices, read ratings and reviews, look for deals and more – all from their phone. As digitally savvy shoppers refine their smart phone skills, are retailers’ mobile shopping tools meeting the mark? For the most part, not really. The mobile experience is good, but in many cases it misses the mark and leaves shoppers frustrated. I for one hate the mobile Amazon app on my iPhone, and I am annoyed that I can’t switch to the standard Amazon website easily from the top of the page when I hit it.
Leo Burnett recently did a down and dirty study of online shopping experiences on Black Friday 2010. This is what they found out from the mobile shoppers they surveyed.
1. Don’t make me wait: Load time counts. Mobile connections are still advancing, and we’re left with what can sometimes remind us of our dial-up Internet days. While much of the blame lies with a person’s connection and/or phone, there are optimizations that can be made to mobile websites and apps to speed up the user experience. For example, mobile sites should use compressed file sizes for content rendering and look to eliminate excess scripts and code. Test your mobile site and apps and look for ways to improve delays.
2. Don’t make me opt in: I just want to use your app! These users are on the hunt and don’t want to take time to register for your database. Allow them to shop first and then opt in. The more value you can give, the more likely they’ll want to hear from you.
3. Don’t bump me from a great experience to a poor experience: Keep it streamlined. Pushing your app shopper to a website that’s not yet optimized for mobile is going to cause an instant drop-off. If you cannot add all desired functionality into your app, ensure your website is optimized for mobile. Also, don’t limit your mobile website’s functionality. HTML 5 brings features like geo-location and offline usage to mobile websites. Take advantage of this to deliver smarter experiences that can be used just as seamlessly as an app.
4. Give me context: Be meaningful. Shopping on Black Friday can be ruthless. When one of our shoppers caught another shopper beating her to the store’s last discounted vacuum cleaner, she felt discouraged and defeated. While the same deal rested on the store’s website, she had no way of knowing this without tracking down a busy store representative. Don’t forget to tell shoppers about your mobile shopping tools. Add in-store signage and reminders on your circulars, emails and desktop websites.
5. Let it be fun: Great experiences go a long way. Shopping apps feel dull and boring. How do you capture the attention away from those Angry Birds? While the most successful mobile experiences are customized and utilitarian, smartphones, like iPhone and Android-powered phones, were built for experiencing music, games, hi-res photos and beautiful designs. Why not dial-up the entertainment factor of your experience? One of our shoppers wished he could hold up a sweater’s color next to a photo of his mom to help him visualize whether or not it matched her style. If Benjamin Moore can make buying paint fun, can’t we make shopping for clothes more fun?