Mobile sales likely will surpass web sales this year, the e-retailer predicts.
Bill Siwicki , Editor, Mobile
Flash-sale e-retailer HauteLook has redesigned its iPhone app, aiming for faster performance and a look more like that of the HauteLook e-commerce site. Mobile commerce sales jumped 20% the first week after the redesigned app was introduced compared to the prior week, which HauteLook says is a sign customers are responding favorably to the new design.
“We redesigned two-thirds of the app, going from a user interface totally different from our desktop site to a design more in line with our desktop site,” says Mark Geller, head of product for mobile at HauteLook. “In fact, the iPhone app is what the next version of our desktop site will look like.”
The new app features images 25% larger on average than the previous version. HauteLook says customer feedback and mobile and Internet trends led it to increase the size of images.
The e-retailer also streamlined the catalog page. Previously, the app presented three options: list, which showed products in a vertical column; grid, which showed products three by three; and slider, which showed one product at a time, allowing users to swipe through merchandise. Based on customer feedback, the new app fills two columns with products as a default view. A button on the bottom of the page allows customers to switch the view to list.
“Rather than give you the choices to think about, we’ve given you the one view that is the best and allow you to get to one other view,” Geller says.
In addition, HauteLook changed the app to match the colors, fonts and other design aspects of the desktop site.
“We believe there is an inherent benefit in similarity—the experience being consistent, not necessarily identical,” Geller says. “A good chunk of our members, 20%, go back and forth between one of our apps and the desktop site. It’s very helpful for members who are putting something in their cart on the iPhone and completing the purchase later on the desktop to have a consistent experience.”
HauteLook knows this from an experience it had with its m-commerce site. Its m-commerce site used to look and function completely different from its desktop site. Three months ago, HauteLook dropped the m-commerce site and instead optimized elements of its desktop site for viewing on a smartphone. For example, the e-retailer replaced mouse-over hovering for a Quick Look at products with a simple touch that leads directly to the product page, and made some menus bigger for easier viewing on smaller screens. Since the change, member log-ins to the private sale site on mobile phones have increased 20 times, HauteLook says.
Geller adds that the company redesigned the app’s application programming interface, or API, so pages can be rendered requiring less data and less data processing. As a result, page load times have been cut by 80%, the e-retailer reports.
HauteLook operates a mobile-optimized web site and iPhone, iPad and Android mobile apps. Today, 42% of total sales are mobile. Geller predicts mobile sales will eclipse web sales later this year. More than 50% of daily member log-ins stem from mobile devices; that figure rises to nearly 60% on weekends.
“2011 mobile sales were 18%, at the end of 2012 they were 26%, and today they account for 42%,” Geller says. “I would be surprised if mobile sales did not overtake web sales in 2013. Mobile is accelerating. A lot of that is the general trend of people doing more things on tablets and smartphones.”
85% of HauteLook’s mobile traffic comes from an Apple iOS device, 10% from an Android device, and 5% from other mobile devices. The iPhone accounts for 25% of total web traffic and 50% of mobile traffic. More than 90% of mobile sales are iOS. This is the case with most retailers in mobile commerce: Apple dominates Android. Geller believes that the HauteLook demographic of females in their mid-30s leans toward mobile and possibly Apple, that many Android users are not mobile web users, and that a lot still remains unclear about mobile shopping preferences.
“Many Android users get the phone inexpensively, just to get a touchscreen phone, and they don’t turn the data plan on,” Geller says. “But there’s a lot unexplained. I don’t know how you get from Android with 60% or so market share and iPhone with 90% of mobile sales. It’s a mystery for us, and we’re trying to understand it better.”