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UK retailers are failing to accommodate mobile shoppers

UK retailers are failing to accommodate mobile shoppers

EPiServer today revealed the results of an industry benchmark study examining the effectiveness of the mobile-optimised websites and apps of Britain’s top ten retailers. Overall, retailers scored less than half marks on average (47%), proving there is still plenty of work that needs to be done on mobile in order to deliver the best possible service to an increasingly mobile generation of consumers.

Marked against a range of criteria* including the different mobile apps on offer as well as usability and accessibility, Argos achieved the highest score with 82% overall, followed by Amazon UK and Tesco. Mobile is becoming increasingly important for retailers given that 76% of UK consumers are reported to have visited a website on their mobile device within the last 12 months.

Only four of the retailers managed to score above the average 47% score, these being Argos, Amazon (UK & USA), Tesco and Next., three retailers in the benchmark did not have a mobile enabled website at all. Interestingly though, the news is better when it comes to mobile applications, as 70% of the top ten retailers did have an app for both iPhone and iPad. Android lagged behind, with only 40% offering an app for the Google operating system.

Mobile website performance

When looking at the retailers’ mobile websites, 90% of sites were found to fit well on the smaller screen. However, only 60% enabled up and down navigation rather then left to right. The majority (70%) of mobile websites kept the amount of text and content to a minimum, making it easier for users to find information. Interestingly though, only 50% of mobile websites gave visitors the option to switch to the normal/standard website.

Retailers proved they were paying attention to consumer needs when it came to the basics. Out of the retailers in the benchmark, almost all (70%) had easy to find directions to stores (Amazon and excluded as they do not have high street outlets), which is critical considering that 51% of consumers said they use mobile websites to look up directions. The mobile sites also did well at including essential information, such as customer service contact details (70%), but only 50% made them easy to find.

Mobile application performance

Both iPhone and Android apps scored an impressive 100% in terms of usability. When looking at the accessibility of essential company information and directions, the iPhone apps scored 58% and 63% respectively, whilst Android apps fell short at 50% and only 12.5%.

Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe & Sales Operations at EPiServer, commented, “It is quite alarming to see that even some of the UK’s biggest retailers are failing to reflect the needs of their customers. Mobile website optimisation and support for multichannel interaction ought to be standard practice, particularly among such well-known brands.”

Wasing continued, “In the app versus mobile site debate, generally our study showed that mobile apps were far easier to use than mobile websites, but that apps often had less useful information contained within them. Mobile-optimised sites are easier for consumers to access, but if brands are to maximise opportunities to engage with their customers they ought to cover all bases and give them a choice. With the range of online tools and solutions available today, there really is no excuse for companies failing to offer their customers every option of engaging and interacting with an organisation in the way that best suits them.”

The EPiServer study also found that only 20% of UK companies have a mobile-optimised website in place and almost half (49%) of UK consumers reported experiencing frustration with mobile sites. More encouragingly however, the EPiServer study also reveals marketers are beginning to plan for a mobile future with 76% saying they currently have a mobile strategy in place, and over a quarter (26%) expecting to launch a mobile-optimised site in the next year.

The EPiServer report, ‘Developing a mobile strategy: how to deliver mobile sites that truly engage’, can be downloaded here.

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