Therefore, sometimes, the goal of focusing on the end mobile user is simply constrained by resources. If there isn’t enough resource to develop an adaptive and unique mobile experience, then teams may have to implement the responsive approach, even if this affects the page load speed for the end user. The decisions ultimately come down to a brand’s business structure and the resources at hand, making the delivery of a mobile-first set-up more challenging. But whatever decision you take as a retailer, it is a vital first-step to making the mobile experience work for the people who actually browse on mobile: your mobile customers.
Sharpening The Mobile Experience
Design is just one element of optimising the ‘mobile first’ experience. You also need to look at how your customers are actually using your mobile site to engage with your products. This can vary quite significantly depending on what you are offering as a business. For example, Kate Mitchell, from global retail group Steinhoff, oversees the management of ecommerce brands that specialise in selling furniture. Many of the customers of these brands use mobile for initial product research, before going into stores to try out the furniture – they then purchase products online, meaning that both the mobile checkout experience and the product information need to be optimised perfectly to fully engage this customer segment.
However, other sectors differ. As panel moderator, Tim Avery pointed out in the panel session, many luxury lifestyle stores invest heavily in perfecting high-quality imagery and expertly curated product descriptions with distinctive designs to inspire and excite their target customers. As products are lavish, the shopper tends to inspect the fine detail, and require sufficient information to consider how these stylish products would fit into their homes. Therefore, luxury brands have to think more about how glossy imagery, ornate stories and rich graphics render properly on mobile devices, particularly when people may be browsing on slow 3G connections. These brands also need to be conscious of how editorial and commentary text is displayed on site in order to preserve a simple user experience, as they tend to rely on text quite heavily to bring the product story to life – this is where simple navigation menus, faceted options and expandable copy boxes need to be factored into the mobile experience plan.
The panelists agreed that understanding user behaviour data is central to the mobile optimisation decision-making process and involves the complex mapping of how users are clicking on and interacting with mobile pages. This gives retailers full control over tailoring customer journeys that will engage their end users, through things like bespoke merchandising campaigns, push notification messages, live chat features and social media. Once you understand your customer segments and how shoppers are interacting with your mobile site, this gives you the tools to personalise the mobile experience to your customer wishes and interests, unleashing the potential for customer loyalty and improved conversions in the long run.
Look out for Part 2 of the series next week, focusing on key topics, from personalising the mobile journey to mobile social channels and app building.