While many retailers are toying with whether m-web or an app is the way to go with m-retail, many are overlooking some of the more complex issues surrounding delivering a consistent user experience through the chain of third parties that sit between the consumer and the retailer, m- and e-commerce optimisation company Gomez warned retailers at M-Retailing’s JumpStart event in London last week.
To deliver any mobile retail service, Imad Mouline, CTO at Gomez told delegates, between you and the customer lie a chain of third parties – including ISPs, network operators, local ISPs, browsers and device OSs – all of which must be managed to deliver the level of service needed by the retailer to guarantee that the end user gets the right content, quickly and seamlessly without drop outs.
“Everything behind your firewall may well be working perfectly, but this chain of third parties that sit between that firewall and your customers is where you live or die,” he said. “For instance, the service could be working perfectly well on one network, but not on another and any retailer looking to exploit e- or m-commerce must understand this process and work to make sure that all third parties that it deals with are delivering what you want.”
And the stakes are high. According to research by Gomez, 60% of consumers have had problems accessing m-web sites in the past year and 52% of people won’t return to a site they have had problems with. More worrying, 40% of these say that when one m-web site fails for them, they go straight to that company’s main competitor. The stakes are high.
The key, believes Mouline, is to load test all third party services. “You have to make sure that the site works and looks good on all devices, but more importantly you have to ask yourself before you start ‘how fast should my site be?’, so check what your competitors are like and use that as a benchmark.
“You also have to be ready to handle success,” Mouline said. “The site may look good, work well on all devices and all third parties are meeting their KPIs, but what do you do if demand suddenly escalates: are you ready?”
And you have to be very quick to react if things do go awry, he warned. “You have to keep monitoring how its working as you have to know there is a problem before your customers start telling you – and the rest of the world – via Twitter.”