July 26, 2012, 1:06 PM

Brands make big improvements to their small-screen sites

A new analysis of 50 m-commerce sites finds most have improved mobile shopping.

Lead Photo

American Eagle Outfitters ranked No. 1 as the best mobile site

Retailers have improved their mobile commerce sites in the past year, making them easier to shop and employing more effective promotional tactics, a new study from The E-tailing Group finds.

The consultancy’s 3rd Annual Mobile Mystery Shopping Study finds that all 50 mobile sites it analyzed—ranging from Wal-Mart to HSN to J. Crew —improved mobile shopping this year compared to last. Apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters earned the highest score, replacing Best Buy, which finished first in last year’s ranking.

The E-tailing Group looked at 168 metrics across the mobile sites. Sites were scored on a 100-point scale based on metrics on five key pages, merchandising tactics and customer service availability.

 

This year the number of sites with a score of 80 or higher doubled to 10. And the overall average Mobile Customer Experience Index score rose from 64.56 to 71.53­—an 11% increase.

Specifically, the study looked at:

  • Usability—that the mobile site is easy to access, offers keyword search and an easy-to-use shopping cart and check out.
  • That the retailer offers consistent branding across all shopping channels.
  • That promotions and merchandising are present throughout the mobile site.

A few of the specific site elements The E-tailing Group looked at for each of these checkpoints include:

  • That the site contains branded messaging, visual merchandising, promotional offers and rich content to translate the e-commerce experience to the small screen.
  • Has no dead links or obstacles that would keep shoppers from completing their transactions.
  • Helps customers find goods fast by providing relevant refinement options for keyword searches.
  • Makes membership-based e-commerce features, like account information and shopping lists, easily accessible on the mobile device.
  • Enables shoppers to e-mail product details to friends, share product information or engage with the merchant on social networking sites.
  • Provides a way for shoppers to contact the retailer by offering e-mail or customer service phone numbers.

 Additionally, 50% of the merchants with stores now allow shoppers to locate products at local stores with 64% enabling geolocation and 34% offering store pick-up.

“Clearly mobile merchants are gaining a better understanding about some of the unique needs of the on-the-go shopper,” The E-tailing Group says.

The top five mobile sites and their scores for this year are:

  • American Eagle Outfitters, 87.00
  • Sephora, 84.50
  • Crate and Barrel, 84.00
  • Nordstrom, 83.75
  • REI, 83.00

The five merchandise categories that ranked highest for mobile shopping, the number of merchants in the category, the category score this year compared to 2011 and the percent change are as follows:

  • Health & Beauty;  4; 76.81; 69.19; 11.01%
  • Mass Merchants; 5; 74.38; 69.41; 7.16%
  • Accessories/Shoes; 5; 73.81; 67.04; 10.10%
  • Apparel; 8; 73.66; 63.25; 16.46%
  • Sporting Goods; 4; 72.69; 60.21; 20.73%
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