Contentious? Not really. If you look at the evidence… We’re inundated with factoids about the mobile commerce explosion and it being the lynchpin to omnichannel strategy – it’s outstripping (outstripped) traditional ecommerce in terms of growth. Yesterday IMRG released figures suggesting over 50% of visits to retail websites are now from mobile. The trend’s mirrored in leading retailers performances like John Lewis & Shop Direct where again over half of traffic is from mobile (via Internet Retailing). These guys are leading from the fore with innovation incubators (Jlab, nice name yeah?) and in-house testing labs, so it’s not suprising they’re seeing stats like these. They’re adapting/modifying to changing consumer expectation. The consumer wants to use mobile for 24/7 access to brands. Retailers just need to facilitate and optimise the experience across all channels to meet the new market expectation. Other big guns like Mothercare and B&Q know it…actually, everyone knows it – that’s the point. Why isn’t absolutely everyone all over it, not just the tier ones? We’ve been hammering this idea home to retailers for years. Seven years ago I was telling people mobile was a critical step and still today there’s some VERY high profile brands with little or no mobile optimisation or presence. They should have taken this baby step and iterated to make it an awesome experience by now. What’s stopping them!? On a related note – read an interesting article in Forbes a while back about the pitfalls of not trying. Seems as though fail fast culture is finally permeating into mainstream thinking though with the rise of the inhouse lab. Being a bit less subjective and looking at the biggest guys in the US – a report by internet retailing at the tail end of 2013 showed 72 of the top 100 e-retailers profiled had; “fully functional m-commerce sites optimized for smartphones, while 28 either have a mobile site that doesn’t enable purchasing, a mobile-optimized home page on top of the desktop site, or no mobile site or optimization whatsoever…
“Of the 72 merchants with m-commerce sites, only 12 offered an ‘exceptional user interface’ for consumers using guest checkout.”
Bear in mind – this is just looking at the top 100 e-tailers in the US…Good work Victoria’s Secret in being one of those who’re leading from the fore – looks like Ishan Patel made a smart move from Aurora or, er, whatever the new name/setup is there. Back to my grumble. There’s a mid tier of retailers -between the startups who get it and are digitally/mobile native – and the big guns who have the cash to employ change makers/bring in guys to kick ass and implement digital/omnichannel transformation programmes. Or they simply attach a lean startup/agile lab to the core business like; Tesco, Nordstrum, M&S and others. As an aside gotta love the Nordstrum Lab, this is basically what we do as JOYLAB. They’re employing the same live user testing, rapid prototyping & agile techniques – and taking a totally consumer centric approach to ensure they’re delivering. These mid tier retailers (to be fair it’s not only them, they’re just fresh in mind from recent conversations and therefore are bearing the brunt of my frustration) – have in place costly enterprise platforms. Hybris’ and the like, and yet, their mobile presence is borked. A bolt on. A bodged tickbox effort. They KNOW this too. That’s the most messed up thing of all. There’s no personalization, no brand specific experience, no research based, evidence led approach to development. Could be that the culture of fear and reprisal, and the constant pressure in the front line of the ecommerce world means that the guys with the responsibility don’t sit back and evaluate/make strategic decisions. But you have to. Your approach to mobile has long term ramifications across all digital trade and overall brand experience. In other words, across the entire of the business. Fear of reprisal and an inability to make informed strategic decisions is a culture change issue though– pressure’s coming from on high to perform (and they don’t get it, that’s why you’re there)- I’m sure it feels like constant fire fighting for most in ecommerce.
Cultural change/digital transformation – that’s a whole other blog however (and an issue stifling growth in so many retailers).
…While we’re on the subject though; Omni/Multichannel Directors – same faces I see from the ecomms channels over the years, but different titles and increased responsibility/added complexity. Guys, sit back, observe, measure, appraise. Approach the problem strategically – carefully evaluate your people, processes and technologies. Don’t rush in, or you’ll be out on your ear. Bottom line – a well crafted bespoke mobile experience generates custom and drives advocacy (there’s plenty of cases in point) while providing a stable platform for growth. It also means you can actually begin to think about omnichannel. Incidentally, did you know Google (and JOYLAB of course) recommends Responsive Design as best practise approach to mobile? A token effort will be to the brand’s detriment, ultimately lose you sales and build in long term inefficiencies. If you KNOW you need to improve conversion optimisation or want to remedy past mistakes, or you’re one of the sensible guys who’re biding their time making the right decisions. Speak to an expert. We can help.