Mobile drives cross-channel sales
The idea that today’s consumers want to engage across all channels is one that retailers understand all too well. But there’s a difficulty around trying to connect up different channels and experiences. You see this when users first browse on a smartphone, and then they start again with the same search on a desktop or laptop. Consumers want these experiences to be better connected.
So what should retailers do to cope with this challenge? Any answer needs to begin with the view that customers don’t think about channels, they just think of themselves as interacting with your brand. That even applies when they go into stores. Google data shows that ‘near me searches’ have grown by 34 times since 2011 and 80% of these searches are performed on mobile. This means that retailers need to support showing real-time inventory, and giving customers the ability to click and collect. The experience on a mobile device and the experience when customers get to the store need to be seamless.
To give an example of great practice, Home Depot, which has massive stores where it can be difficult to find items, has optimised its app to help its customers. Not only does the app show what items are available at specific stores, but if you build a shopping list on your phone and then you go in store, it has beacon technology to guide you to products on the list.
This highlights a key point: while conversion may not happen via mobile, retailers still need to optimise for mobile. Performance is a key part of the customer experience and consumers won’t wait for slow-loading pages. In fact, consumers have such high expectations of their interactions with brands to be fast and secure that, in the recent State of Online Retail Performance by Akamai/Soasta, data showed a page download slowdown of as little as 100 milliseconds decreased conversions on mobile by 7.1%.
A great example of connecting up the customer experience is Starbucks. The company has a well-designed digital presence, but this goes up a notch when customers sign up for its loyalty programme and download the Starbucks app. Customers can store their credit card details via the app, and now they can cut out different steps along the way of ordering and picking up coffee. You can order ahead on your phone and then, when you walk in, you just scan the barcode on your phone – it’s all paid for and you walk out with the coffee, you don’t ever wait in line.
A key way that successful retailers are optimising the experience across all consumer touchpoints is by properly optimising images. Images are often the largest asset downloaded by an app or website and, on average, retail site images make up 60% of the total page weight. A digital asset management process that can dynamically detect the type of device and browser a customer is utilising, and determine the proper size of image and type of image to serve, creates both an operational and performance improvement. Take a large hero image that for the desktop may be 2MB: if you serve this image to a mobile user they will be forced to spend the data to download it and take the additional time to load the page over a cellular network only to see it resized to a postage stamp size. Instead, by taking advantage of an image management solution to send the appropriately sized image for the device, you save the consumer time and data costs.
In summary, it’s no longer sufficient to be mobile friendly, you must be mobile-first across all your channels to meet your customers where and how they want to buy from you.
Akamai is the global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, making the internet fast, reliable and secure for its customers including the top-20 global ecommerce sites and one out of every three Global 500 companies. The company’s advanced web performance, mobile performance, cloud security and media delivery solutions are revolutionising how businesses optimise consumer, enterprise and entertainment experiences for any device, anywhere.www.akamai.com