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WEBINAR OVERVIEW: Learn how Schuh grew sales from mobile customers – and how you can do it too

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In a recent Internet Retailing webinar, Learn how Schuh grew sales from mobile customers – and how you can do it too, we heard from NCC Group’s Andy Davies, associate director, web performance, and Simon Hearne, senior performance expert. They were joined by Stuart McMillan, deputy head of ecommerce at Schuh in a session on improving retail performance over mobile. Here’s a bulletpoint overview of the webinar.

Overview of mobile web performance

Andy Davies started with an overview of mobile performance over the years, from the launch of the first iPhone on 29 June 2007

• The iPhone started out clunky and the web on mobile took a long time to bear fruit. But by 2015 mobile overtook web (IMRG) in visits to UK retailers.

• Getting to the point where people beginning to use web on the phone as much as on desktop. Schuh got to that point in early 2014.

Stuart McMillan “It was a straight line, a growing trend. We could see it in our own data – growing mobile presence. I think we were fast before it was cool. I come from a development background and could see what was possible. I think it was obvious there would be a cross over. Somewhere down the line mobile would be the dominant device. We were going to get a mobile-first experience.”

AD: Almost 50% of online purchases now made on a mobile device (IMRG Sept 2016). Some already seeing 65% from mobile. But others the mix is less.

SM: Younger demographic has a smartphone, but perhaps less disposable income. People doing different things on a mobile, from store locator to stock checking. Conversion quite complicated on mobile.

Simon Hearn: analytics tags can help to track conversion.

There’s an app for that?

AD: Figures show people prefer to use apps for other things than shopping: social networking etc. Mobile browser: biggest use is for online shopping/retail. People start and continue their mobile experience in the browser.

SM: We have tried to make the connection between online search and offline purchase. Click and collect is biggest growth for our fulfillment by far.

SH: Are people going to spend more time in the web or go the other way? I’d like to think the web, but then I don’t have apps.

AD: Some anecdotal evidence from retailers that they are considering deprioritising their app as they improve their mobile offering. Does that mean some will say they don’t need their app any more?

Should we have separate mobile and desktop sites or a single responsive one?

SH: If you take responsive as a methodology from the last five years, see it on a desktop and squish it into a mobile you’re not going to have a good experience on a cheap phone because of the weight of javascript.

AD: We’re seeing more and more adopt responsive.

Case study examples

O’Neill: responsive improved the user experience across the board. Lower value transactions up even on desktop.


SM: Why we went responsive: mobile-first approach using mature technology that made it technically possible. Usage data showed people across all devices want to do all things. If you pigeonhole shoppers on mobile and say they’re just researching, that’s the fastest way to make sure that happens. If you’re going to have same page, same features then just a one set of html. We went through an exercise in stripping out things that we didn’t need. For me, selling shoes shouldn’t be a complicated business, and it doesn’t need bells and whistles. We have a single site to maintain, no loss of consistency. We haven’t regretted the decision.

There is a tendency to try and put everything in there. The stripping out feels healthy.

SH: We tend to forget over time that having good html is really important.

AD: 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3s to load. (DoubleClick Sept 2016)

SM: For most sites, there are small handful of things that [retailers] could do that would take not much time to make improvements. If people were committed to improving the user experience when it came to performance, I would think they could have it done between now and Christmas. They need to commit to understanding the importance to user experience and to the bottom line. For us to get faster we’re finding it more difficult. I have so many ideas for ways to make it faster, but for most people there’s loads of things they could do – based on improving the bottom line.

SH: Even tiny incremental improvements, eg 2s to 1.9s, gives a 1% lift in conversion rates. (Mobify, 2016 Q2 Mobile Insights Report).

AD: Etsy chart bounce rates: found that bounce rates increased by 12% when it added 160kb of images to a page.

AD: Being fast is not about being fast for its own sake but about reducing friction for people visiting your site. It’s about showing them the experience more quickly, making their life easier so they’re not sitting there looking at a blank screen, and we see this through the customer’s visit to the site. One customer removed two form fields from a checkout, and decreased the exit rate by 1.5% – making it more likely they would stay and spend money.

The challenges: how do you balance features vs sales?

SM: We may be making the product load time slower to show 360 spinner image – does slow down the page but speed isn’t everything, the consumer coverts better. I’m not there to make pages faster, but to make money. Features can be better than speed though it’s unusual, and we do test it.

AD: One challenge is that we (and customers, developers etc) probably spend too much time in front of desktops rather than looking on mobile.

SM: Important to check on mobile – with wifi turned off– so you can see what user can see – go through user journey to purchase.

SH: Facebook has 2G Tuesdays to check that.

AD: we tend to have the latest kit, fast phones as developers, but our mobile visitors have all sorts of devices.

SM: Our data shows iOS is a younger demographic, used to be the other way around.

SH: On Google Analytics, top source of mobile traffic is an iPhone – because all grouped together.

The webinar was followed by a Q&A session. To see the webinar and the Q&A session in full, visit the NCC Group webinar page here.

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