UK Retailers Failing to Accommodate Mobile Shoppers

Benchmark report of UK’s top ten retailers reveals mobile challenges for retailers

London, UK – 13 March 2012 – Episerver today revealed the results of an industry benchmark study examining the effectiveness of the mobile-optimized 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 Play.com 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 optimization 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-optimized 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 organization in the way that best suits them.”  

The Episerver study also found that only 20% of UK companies have a mobile-optimized 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 from here  

*Methodology

The top ten retailers from the IMRG Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List (August 2011) were studied. Each was scored each using a range of criteria to provide an in-depth assessment of the mobile user experience that they offer consumers. The total points available to each retailer were 490, and this was then converted into a score out of 100%.

The criteria used was as follows:

-   Does the company have a mobile-enabled website?
-   Does this appear automatically on a mobile device?
-   Does the company have an iPhone app?
-   Does the company have an iPad app?
-   Does the company have an Android app?

For each of the above:

-   Is the site/app easy to use?
-   Does the width of the screen fit the device?
-   Does the page navigate up and down instead of left and right?
-   Is essential information easy to find (e.g. customer service numbers)?
-   Are a map and/or directions easy to find?
-   Does it support zooming?
-   Are text boxes and the amount of typing on the page kept to a minimum?
-   Does it match the look and feel of the main site?
-   Are the calls to action (buttons or links) large/clear enough to see on the screen?
-   Does the mobile site give the option to switch to the normal (desktop) version of the site

The ‘top ten’ retailers were: Amazon UK; Argos; Next; Tesco; Amazon.com; Play.com; Marks & Spencer; Apple; John Lewis; and Thomson.

 

About Episerver:

Episerver, the leading supplier of solutions that enable true Web engagement and drive business results for end customers. 3,500 customers worldwide use Episerver's technology platform that combines content, community, commerce, and communications with a configurable metrics dashboard. Episerver CMS is the foundation for more than 20,000 websites and is used by more than 130,000 web editors daily.

MobilePack

Mobile Pack for Episerver CMS is a mobile web app, that will let you easily add a mobile web app to any web site running on Episerver CMS 6 R2 (or later). It's based on JQuery Mobile and can reuse content from the entire site.

The Episerver platform is delivered through an extensive network of over 500 partner companies in 30 countries. Episerver combines the stability and support of a commercial product with Episerver World, a thriving developer community of more than 14,000 developers.

Episerver is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with an AAA-ranking by Dun & Bradstreet since 2000. The company was founded in 1994 and has offices in the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom. Episerver is controlled by the IK2007 Fund. IK Investment Partners is a European private equity firm with Nordic roots, managing €5.7 billion in fund commitments. For more information on Episerver please visit, http://www.Episerver.com

For media information, please contact:
Ellie Dobson

EML Wildfire Technology PR

Episerver@emlwildfire.com

020 8408 8000