Christmas was a boon for online retailing, but as the data is sifted through it appears that retailers are still falling short of delivering a satisfactory mobile experience. Recent high profile failures and lack of responding to the consumer move to mobile browsing are a particular concern.
So finds the post-Yuletide analysis from online performance monitoring company, SciVisum in its “Christmas 2014 eCommerce Mobile Experience Report”. In it Deri Jones, SciVisum CEO, says: “Although some figures are encouraging, there is still a long way to go and mobile performance is of particular concern.”
According to its figures 70% of retailers websites tested by SciVisum were not ‘mobile friendly’, while 20% of retail sites served up desktop pages to mobile devices and to cap it all, on Black Friday 4 out of 10 retailers did little or nothing to speed up page delivery – despite unprecedented demand.
M&S, John Lewis and Amazon, however, can breathe easy as they came out on top, offering by far the best performance, says Jones.
The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index shows that online sales in 2014 exceeded £100bn in the UK alone, the first time it has passed such a landmark figure. Last year also saw mobile browsing overtaking the desktop for the first time. Even though IBM analytic reports and IMRG Capgemini benchmark figures are clearly demonstrating that mobile devices have taken the lead for retail browsing, companies are struggling to keep pace. Recently Google has also recognised the mobile phenomena by ranking websites as ‘mobile friendly.’
Jones explains: “Only three out of ten retailers’ websites loaded on a mobile device in less than 2 seconds. It means an astonishing seven of the top ten leading online retailers had pages that are not ‘mobile friendly’ by taking an unacceptably long time to load. We eliminated all the variables of the mobile network signal in our test by using fixed connections. You can imagine that over a 3G connection even the better loading times would increase and become unacceptable.”
Slow loading pages maybe the biggest issue for consumers and the problem was compounded for two out of the top ten online retailers, as they offered full-sized desktop sites to small mobile screens. On the plus side, 70% of retailers are now offering specific mobile offerings – although not always successfully. However, the best performance results were all delivered from dedicated m.sites or via dynamic serving.
There were also some more encouraging signs, as retailers had looked at preparing for the special offer days. Most companies, 60%, reduced their page sizes by nearly 20% for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. However, that meant 40% did little to help their customers or worse crammed more on to their web pages. SciVisum’s monitoring detected a clear dip in general web page availability on Black Friday as the huge online demand crashed or slowed many companies websites.
Therefore, although efforts were made, the huge user demand still created challenges for retailers to deliver a good customer experience at a critical time for their annual sales revenue.
Overall the report concludes that delivering a good mobile experience is still in its infancy for many retailers and these eTailers have some way to go before mobile consumers receive the user experience that they would expect.
To help retailers overcome the complications of ensuring a positive mobile experience, SciVisum have recently launched a new mobile web monitoring service. The service continuously emulates iPhone, iPad and Android users by making complete journeys across websites, providing uniquely realistic visibility of a site’s mobile experience.
To read more download the report here