August 17, 2011, 12:06 PM

Mobile sites must answer customers’ immediate needs

A Mobile Commerce Forum speaker will offer live critiques of mobile sites and apps.

Lead Photo

Molly Garris

While retailers race to create the coolest new shopping features for smartphones, a prime consideration for mobile commerce is how easy it is for consumers to find a merchant’s mobile site, says Molly Garris, director of digital strategy at marketing agency Arc Worldwide.

She will speak during a session entitled “Can your site or app be better? Live m-commerce site critiques” at Internet Retailer’s Mobile Commerce Forum 2011 Oct. 10-12 in Houston. During the session, she will analyze sites and apps that attendees volunteer.

When it comes to mobile sites, Garris says her first test is how long it takes her to locate a site. “Rule one is just be found,” she says. “Don’t tell me the URL of your mobile site. I want to be able to search and find it.”

She’ll also use a search engine to check whether the m-commerce retailer is taking advantage of mobile paid search, an opportunity that she says many brands miss. Once at the mobile site, she’ll look to see if the design provides a quick answer to consumers’ most immediate questions, such as a store locator that takes advantage of many phone models’ built-in GPS to feature nearby stores.

Garris describes her experience as a shopper at She uses her desktop computer to logs in, then browses and builds her shopping list while noting her preferred store location. Later, on her way to the store, she’ll log in on her mobile phone and pull up her saved shopping list, which will indicate whether the items on her shopping list are available at her preferred location and, if so, which aisles to find them in. “Target does a good job with search and personalization and this is going to help shoppers get what they need,” she says.

She also advises that e-retailers know which type of phones their customers use the most, as web pages render differently across platforms—what looks great on an iPhone may be hard to read on a BlackBerry. Top mobile retailers will recognize what type of phone the consumer is using and deliver an optimized experience for that screen, she says.

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Garris to speak at the Mobile Commerce Forum because of her experience guiding large and complex mobile marketing campaigns for Arc Worldwide clients, which include Purina, Procter & Gamble, Walgreens, Comcast and United Airlines. She has been tying mobile into marketing strategies for more than seven years.

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