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IREU Top500 12 approaches that work in mobile and cross-channel retailing

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Across Europe, as retailers get to grips with the importance of mobile to consumers, there is still much that they still need to do to deliver the kind of mobile experience that shoppers crave. Retailers looking at developing cross-channel strategies need to think mobile first

1. Go mobile from the off

The UK leads the way in mobile adoption and summer 2016 saw more than 50% of retail sales coming through mobile, according to the IMRG. Other countries in Europe are not at that level yet but European shoppers are rapidly becoming mobile-centric too, so it won’t be long before they are also managing their shopping processes via their smartphones.

Retailers everywhere need to be ready. They also need to think mobile-first in terms of redesigning websites as well as considering how mobile disrupts traditional sales models. Shoppers often now loop back from the discovery and research stages of the purchase process to visit the store to check out the goods, to showroom the best price and then to buy on a desktop at a later date. It is therefore vital to rethink how shoppers might behave and allow them to do so, which means retailers mobilising everything they do.

2. Fast load times on mobile

While going mobile is essential, getting that mobile experience right is also crucial. Giving shoppers the ability to browse, research, share and buy on mobile is no good if takes ages to load and causes frustration. Clear and user-friendly design is essential, along with optimising content so that it loads rapidly and is easy to use.

The first of these can be done as part of a mobile-first rethink of the site: large (in size terms, not megabytes) images, clear buttons, easy navigation and clear thought as to what content is really needed on the site can all help make the site much easier to use on mobile.

Keeping it light, with low resolution pictures, not too much text, minimal links and simple framework design can all make apps load quickly, which is crucial for the majority of shoppers.

The best retailers in the Top500 all had very short mobile site loading times because they had applied these principles at the early stages of thinking about their mobile strategies.

3. The importance of well-designed apps

Having a well-designed and speedy mobile website is essential, but a growing number of retailers also need to offer shoppers a worthwhile in-app retail experience too. With apps now coming up in searches and being fired up automatically from retailers’ websites, the retailers need to look more closely at their apps as a valuable link in the cross-channel experience.

Having a well-designed app can deliver this in spades but what constitutes ‘well-designed’? In essence, any app can potentially have everything, including the kitchen sink, built into it, but what’s more important than scope is making it slick and intuitive to use, with functions that are obvious and accessible at the moment that the shopper needs them.

Apple’s Apple Store app is a great example of clear and simple design, with minimal menu options that seem to intuitively put what you need at your fingertips, when you need it. Zara too has a clean, well thought-out app that moves the user through various processes slickly and beautifully. But while these are two great examples of lovely design, what all well-designed apps need is to be transactional. Yet only 30% of those tested in the research offer this. Ask yourself this question: what is the point of getting someone to use your app then not letting them spend money?

This feature first appeared in the IREU Top500 Mobile & Cross-channel Performance Dimension Report. To read the full feature, including the remaining eight approaches, click here. To explore the report in more detail, click here.

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