House of Fraser [IRDX RHOF] has today unveiled its mobile-first website. The department store group announced back in June that it was to move to responsive design, in recognition of the growing importance of mobile devices in the online retail cycle. IMRG figures recently showed that m-commerce is now the primary driver of ecommerce growth, accounting for 27% of online sales, totalling £91bn, in 2013. At House of Fraser, smartphones and tablets are used in more than half of all site visits.
Now the new-look website, designed first for viewing from mobile and touch devices, and second from desktop and laptop, has been launched. Key changes include new header and navigation menus that enable customers to shop by department or by brand, faster page loading, super zoom on product pages that means customers can get up close, and an emphasis on conversion-boosting interactive features. New layouts see three images in a row rather than four, while the shopping bag feature has been improved.
Andy Harding, executive director for multichannel at House of Fraser, said: “Consumer shopping habits are constantly evolving and given we now see more than 50% of our online traffic coming from mobile devices, we have changed our design strategy to ensure we provide the best possible experience for our online customers.
“We are always looking at ways to maximize customer shopping experiences and we’re confident our new look and feel website will be well received and will help continue to drive growth this year.”
House of Fraser first launched its website in 2006. It was first redesigned in 2011. Today’s new site marks a shift in strategy recognising the growing importance of mobile devices.
Sarah Baillie, head of multichannel business development at House of Fraser, will speak at IRX 2014. Her retail case study, Driving profit through refocusing your stores strategy around the multichannel customer will be in the Internet Retailing In-Store Conference at 11.10am on Wednesday March 26. For more information about the Expo, visit internetretailingexpo.com.
OUR MOBILE EDITOR WRITES: The move by House of Fraser to make a site that is essentially aimed at the new breed of ‘tappy shoppers’ marks the first of many retailers who will be revamping and redesigning their websites with an eye to the growing number of ‘mobile’ shoppers that are hitting their sites, says Paul Skeldon, mobile editor, Internet Retailing.
But let’s not get carried away with the idea that this is a shift to a ‘mobile first’ world. Sales of PCs may be falling away, replaced in the family home by tablets, but this marks more of a changing shopping device and OS, rather than in fundamental shopping habits. Sure, the HoF move reflects growing mobile traffic, but the really it is mobile access to websites that it plays to. This is not a move to fully embrace an ‘on the move’ shopping revolution.
That aside, this is a brave move and other retailers should sit up and take note. The need to redesign e-commerce websites for the touch era – and make sure that they work on PC as well – is the new imperative and throws up countless design challenges. Cluttered, flash-heavy, cookie-reliant websites are soon to become a thing of the past. Clean, simple, easily navigable and touch orientated sites are on the way in and HoF finds itself, for this week at least, at the vanguard.