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Tesco, ShopDirect and Sainsbury’s lead slow mobile charge

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News that Tesco’s profits are up off the back of a winning mobile strategy fills me with cheer – and vindicates years of pushing the mobile retailing agenda. ShopDirect’s proclamation that it too has joined the ‘50% Club’ of retailers that are seeing half or more of their sales coming through mobile is also very welcome.

Sainsbury’s too is upping the mobile ante, joining a growing list of retailers that are using mobile to expedite checkout and payment and generally easing the pain of the in-store experience.

Mobile, it seems, is finally starting to reap rewards for retailers as they look to make the shopping in store – and online – process less onerous .

But there is a fly in the ointment: retailers in the UK have the slowest mobile websites of any sector, threatening to hamper these developments spreading to other retailers.

According to the Google research, retail sites have, on average, the slowest mobile sites of the 11 industries measured – chugging in at10.29 seconds.

This can be disastrous for already hard-pressed retailers fighting to keep the attentions of ever-more fickle shoppers. 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes three seconds or more to load and, if you keep mobile users waiting just one to five seconds, the probability of them bouncing spikes by 90%. Add just another second, and that figures rises to 106%.

This is a major headache for retailers. Customers are increasingly brand-agnostic and go where they are going to get the slickest and best service. Increasingly, this means Amazon. The only way retailers can directly compete is to either use Amazon themselves – more of which another time – or make sure that they are delivering, as you a know, a highly personalised and super slick mobile web and app experience to shoppers. Making them wait 10 seconds is not going to cut it.

So, what can you do? Designing for mobile is crucial here and a mobile-first approach is always going to help you out (even on the desktop it makes it quicker). Smaller file size images, less text, downloads of the important stuff first to fill the page then all the data behind it: all are ways to streamline the process.

But understanding who is downloading the page or the app is more crucial. Knowing who it is, where they are and what network they are on can help you tailor the content delivered to the device so that you aren’t wasting valuable seconds pushing down the pipe things that aren’t going to be of interest.

This is where, once again, your customer data and your single view of the customer comes in. While many retailers look at personalisation as merely being about a first name on an email and not showing men women’s shoes, really it is all about using data to understand what each customer is doing, where they are doing it and how – then serving up the appropriate content.

And this can help you not only reach the right people with the right content, but it can also help you cut that all-important wait time for downloads to occur.

So what are you waiting for?

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