Tips for mobile retail sites

Alex Wares, managing director of web optimisation firm Mediarun, outlines five top tips for retailers developing mobile friendly websites.

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The mobile web grew by 148% worldwide last year according to the Quantcast Mobile Trends report and browsing via mobile devices exploded. For retailers, this represents an opportunity to connect with customers, not least because the new generation of handheld devices, led by the iPhone and the iPad, has dramatically improved the quality of web browsing.

However, many major UK retailers and brands are yet to embrace mobile ecommerce, the next step in online retailing, and premium brands, such as Burberry and Conran have still not even developed a basic mobile-friendly site.

On the other hand, web-savvy businesses such as John Lewis, Asos.com and TopShop, ever at the forefront of retailing, have developed mobile-friendly sites.

Regardless of which technology wins out, creating a good mobile experience is not just about reproducing your website on a small screen.

Content has to be reconsidered and reviewed to meet the demands of mobile users, who want to receive information quickly and efficiently. Mobile browsing has exploded, but in order to ensure the trend for buying via your mobile continues to rise, fashion retailers must make it easy for their customers purchase.

So what can retailers do? Developing a mobile-friendly site is about reducing frustration, creating a honed, tailored version of the more extensive, large screen website and taking advantage of the new browser quality available to ultimately converts customers.

Key things to keep in mind when developing a mobile site are:

  • Consider it as a separate entity from your large screen site. Tailoring your mobile retail offering for device-sized screens.
  • Provide as much of your main website content as possible, but ensure that the site information is presented in an easy to use/click navigation.
  • Ensure the mobile strategy is future-proof and leaves scope for development of mobile search.
  • Understand your mobile consumers and the browsers/handsets they will be viewing from (have you catered for all?).
  • Ensure you maintain a robust click to payment process.

The proliferation of smart phones and the rejuvenation of the tablet market by the iPad has presented retailers with a great new sales opportunity. With the right content and technology, customers can be converted on the small screen too.

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