Holiday Shopping: Mobile Style

November 29th, 2012 by

Shopping season, aka the holiday season, is once again upon us and we are all enjoying the barrage of promotional emails flooding our mailboxes. Like many travelers during the Thanksgiving week, I only carried my phone and tablet—no laptop. As such, I was forced to consume the content retailers were sending my way mobile style.

Set aside the retailers who still don’t have a mobile friendly site like BevMo & St John, but I was surprised to see the mobile web experience of some major retailers was less than optimal, to say the least. My experience varied from non-working links (BestBuy), page malfunction (Zappos) to being forced to scroll through long product lists (eBags). In all fairness, some sites like Banana Republic offered an acceptable experience, but in general, modern mobile design was basically missing from all of the sites I visited.

It’s obvious many retailers still consider native apps as the cornerstone of their mobile strategy—hence, the constant prompts and redirects to the app store. However, if retailers are still relying on promotional channels such as email and ads to push their products, native applications are not the best way to deliver content to users, and ultimately make a sale.

Furthermore, assuming the average consumer shops at a dozen or so stores and online retailers during the course of the year, they need to install as many dedicated apps on their device. These apps are in addition to their everyday apps like Facebook, news readers, and all the beloved and addictive games. It is just not realistic to expect an average consumer to install dozens of apps for occasional shopping. Retailers and Web publishers need to realize, [mobile] Web is important and is here to stay.

Fact: Mobile shopping is exploding and “28.5% of US consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site this Thanksgiving holiday.

By just looking at the stats from Fiksu, it is clear that appetite for native apps is going away. Despite the fact that iOS device numbers are growing at a fast rate, we see flat (and sometimes falling) average daily downloads. I may remind you, these numbers do include high volume social networking and gaming apps. Aside from dismal download numbers, usage stats are even worse, not to mention how many apps get uninstalled on a regular basis.

The Web is a great solution for a large portion of retailers and Web publishers alike; it has been and always will be. Web is the window to the world—whether you are viewing it from your PC, tablet, phone or even your TV. The world is beautiful and so should be yours.


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