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Recession Fighting Retail Strategy: Make the Most of Your Mobile Offering.

The author

Steve Baker

Chief Analyst

I've recently become equipped with one of them there Apple phones and I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out my favourite establishments online using my mobile. I’m quite shocked by how big retailers and banks have really failed to grasp mobile user experiences. Being able to do the simplest things seems to be a major issue on a fair few leading high street names, not to mention NatWest Bank – hang your head in shame! I was once in a meeting a couple of years ago where a client told me that mobile wouldn’t take off due to the fact that people on pay as you go deals couldn’t afford to browse the web! Well some research recently carried out by mobile marketing and advertising solutions company Velti has pointed out the following:

I've recently become equipped with one of them there Apple phones and I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out my favourite establishments online using my mobile. I’m quite shocked by how big retailers and banks have really failed to grasp mobile user experiences. Being able to do the simplest things seems to be a major issue on a fair few leading high street names, not to mention NatWest Bank – hang your head in shame! I was once in a meeting a couple of years ago where a client told me that mobile wouldn’t take off due to the fact that people on pay as you go deals couldn’t afford to browse the web! Well some research recently carried out by mobile marketing and advertising solutions company Velti has pointed out the following:

  • 47% believe that high street retailers are not doing a good enough job where mobile is concerned
  • Pay as you go customers were spending a third longer than their contract/iPhone counterparts on mobile websites, at 13 days a year compared to eight
  • 82% of consumers, who used their mobile while watching TV, researched further details around a product or service on their mobile devices after having seen an advertisement on TV.

So quite quickly we are seeing a picture here that mobile is massive, and that retailers are failing to capitalise on the demands of a captive market. Picture this. You are on the sofa on an evening, and the Mrs says to you, “I’d really like that book” or you see a TV ad for a sale at a retailer you have always wanted to buy something from, but never have. With mobile in hand, you set about making that purchase and … what… AAARRGGHHH – you can’t get on the site / it doesn’t render properly on your mobile / selecting drop downs becomes impossible / selecting links doesn’t work …. and the list goes on. All things that a company should have sorted out on their main website but forgot to remedy on mobile. Shoddy. Retailers and banks should be embracing mobile; it’s such a massive growth market and there is so much potential for these big businesses. This survey paints a pretty grim picture for the UK high street and it's important that this is addressed ASAP. Apparently 90% of mobile subscribers have the ability to access the web on their phone so this isn’t exactly a small market we are talking about. As for the pay as you go argument, well this doesn’t wash. PAYG users are spending nearly two weeks a year browsing on the web, which is an astonishing amount of time considering that PAYG phones tend to be less sophisticated in terms of technology than contract phones. These stats are probably slightly skewed as smartphone users can call on apps for banking and shopping from retailers, but nevertheless, a little bit more work from a retailer’s point of view would really help to convert PAYG users from browsers into customers. There is no excuse for poor usability – it’s my number one bug bear with websites when they don’t do what they should do. I class myself as a pretty savvy web user, so I do wonder what users who are not well versed in the ways of the internet feel when they hit these usability snags. Before I sign off, I must give a quick appreciation of Amazon’s mobile efforts. The process was seamless and simple and felt as slick as the web operation. Well done! Thanks to Velti and Internet Retailing for their stats and studies used in this post! Please leave your comments below or on Twitter - @sbaker81 (Photo: Bitter Wallet)