October 3, 2013, 2:30 PM

Mobile commerce blasts off

(Page 4 of 4)

The top mobile commerce priority at QVC is tying its TV programming more closely with its mobile-optimized site and apps, says Todd Sprinkle, vice president of mobile and e-commerce operations. In June, QVC released the latest version of its iPad app with such new features as better links to social networks such as Facebook, more video content and a new shopping cart that lets shoppers click on an item and "drag" the product into the shopping basket for quicker checkout.

Other new features include pinch-to-zoom buttons, which let tablet owners use buttons to increase or decrease the size of images and content to better fit their screen. "The new tablet app was built to be highly flexible and allows each customer to discover QVC content built around her unique preferences," Sprinkle says.

HSN's mobile sales, meanwhile, will grow 79.6% in 2013 to $300 million, the Mobile 500 finds. As part of an overall redesign of HSN.com in January 2013, the retailer revamped its mobile sites and apps. New mobile updates include faster navigation and an updated "Buy This Now" feature that enables mobile customers to more quickly make purchases. New social functions on most mobile product pages include photo walls, instant polls, interactive questions and answers, and other features. Retooled mobile product pages also feature less text and bigger images, along with navigational elements designed to get customers more quickly to featured merchandise and clearance items.

Shoppers on smartphones and tablets are having a big effect on HSN, with mobile now accounting for about 10% of revenue and 20% of web sales. "Being increasingly mobile gets closer to our goal of being a retailer without boundaries and merging content and commerce," says HSN operational vice president for digital commerce and emerging platforms Ed Deutscher. "Our mobile customer is our youngest, most affluent and most diverse, and we are spending a lot of time trying to make e-commerce, content and mobile very seamless and universal for her."

Shop Direct has an even more ambitious goal of making mobile commerce account for at least 50% of all web sales in as soon as three years, Wall says. And he recognizes that achieving that goal will require constant innovation to keep up with changing shopper behaviors. "Now more than ever customers are moving faster than retailers and we plan to be the best at keeping up," Wall says.

Keeping up is not easy at a time when mobile technology is changing so fast, prompting unexpected shifts in consumer behavior and preferences. But those Mobile 500 retailers that are investing in staying abreast of the mobile revolution are reaping big returns.

mark@verticalwebmedia.com

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

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