CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
The E-tailing Group reveals the results of its 4th Annual Mobile Mystery Shopping Report.
Six retailers among 50 large, well-known merchants offer consumers on smartphones exceptional mobile commerce web site shopping experiences, according to the 4th Annual Mobile Mystery Shopping Report from The E-tailing Group Inc. The six retailers were the only ones to score above 80, which The E-tailing Group defines as the minimum score for a rating of exceptional. The retailers are: Toys “R” Us Inc. (83.50), American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (82.50), Crate & Barrel (82.25), Nordstrom Inc. (80.25), Sephora USA Inc. (80.25) and Foot Locker Inc. (80.25).
The six merchants all generate a lot of sales from consumers using smartphones and tablets, as documented in the 2014 Internet Retailer Mobile 500, which ranks retailers based on their mobile sales. Toys “R” Us is No. 63 in the Mobile 500, American Eagle Outfitters No. 166, Crate & Barrel No. 32, Nordstrom No. 56, Sephora No. 132, and Foot Locker No. 30.
The average score for all 50 merchants studied in the Mobile Mystery Shopping Report is 69.73. Other retailers studied include Amazon.com Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Gap Inc., HSN Inc., Macy’s Inc., OmahaSteaks.com Inc., Target Corp., Tiffany & Co., and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Consumers are increasingly shopping with their smartphones, and smart retailers have risen to the occasion, delivering well-conceived m-commerce sites for those shoppers, says Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group.
“Streamlining the shopping experience via a ‘less is more’ mindset to include only the essential browse and buy components ensures that shoppers can quickly find products of interest and expediently check out,” Freedman says. “Taking a task-oriented approach to refining mobile sites will ensure that shopper satisfaction is high and conversion rates continue to escalate. Integrating cross-channel elements makes certain that the customer connects to all of your channels at their convenience where the mobile experience supports the demanding shopper. Vigilant monitoring and timely evolution of mobile sites is mandatory in the ever-changing world of mobile shopping.”
The E-tailing Group evaluated the 50 mobile sites by performing six tasks on each site: Connect to a store; visit key pages, including home, category, product, search results and shopping cart; search for a product; research a product; buy a product; and seek customer service.
Based on the evaluations of the retailers’ m-commerce sites, the Mobile Mystery Shopping Report makes the following recommendations to merchants with mobile commerce sites:
- Maintain branding consistency across all channels and ensure that customers can connect with the brand via a toll-free phone number, e-mail address or contact form.
- Employ a combination of merchandising and promotional tactics on the home page and throughout the site as enticements to drive visitors deeper rather than hiding the tactics on interior pages that might never be viewed by the shopper.
- Keep usability top of mind; use only legible text, implement keyword search at the top of all site pages, provide users with relevant refinement and sort options, and enable shoppers to check out quickly with pre-populated profile information within an interface that requires minimal clicks to complete.
- Provide a store locator that includes comprehensive information, including geolocation, driving directions and maps, store hours, and click-to-call phone numbers that will ensure customers arrive at the destination ready to purchase.
- Embrace inventory look-up and the ability to pick up products in stores to efficiently connect customers to stores.
- Enhance product pages with comprehensive product information, relevant recommendations, product photos that can be enlarged and viewed from other angles or different colors, and meaningful ratings and reviews.
- Explore the right level of supporting content for categories to embellish the mobile experience, tapping into video for optimal engagement.
- Monitor the m-commerce shopping experience to stay ahead of competitors in the same category and the industry’s best.
- Make customer service readily available, providing all the information necessary to make a purchase (shipping fees, return policy, etc.).