By Joanna Perry | Head of Marketing

UK retailers are losing revenue because their sites let down shoppers using smartphones 

UX testing on 15 retailers’ mobile sites reveals some of the top reasons that mobile conversion rates still lag those of tablets and desktops

Strategic multichannel consultancy Practicology and UX testing provider WhatUsersDo have released their second joint Mobile Usability Report to highlight emerging mobile UX best practice and the big issues that are preventing UK retailers from achieving their sales potential through their mobile sites.

The report is based on UX testing of 15 UK retailers’ mobile sites, by real users, using their own devices in their own homes. The findings show both how retailers have progressed the design and user experience of their mobile sites in the last 18 months, but that consumers’ expectations still run far ahead of what they have achieved.

The findings go some way to explain why retailers’ sales conversion rates on smartphones still lag behind that of tablets and desktops. The mobile sites tested were Amazon UK, AO.com, Argos, B&Q, Boohoo, Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Littlewoods, Paperchase, Pets At Home, River Island, Schuh, Sports Direct and Tesco Direct.

Among the conversion blockers the report identified we found:

  • B&Q’s homepage loaded with the menu permanently stuck open for several users
  • Users on the Boohoo, River Island and Littlewoods sites encountered problems with completing form fields at checkout
  • Paperchase’s site displayed promotional content that was not optimised for mobile screen sizes
  • Users came across pages on the following sites that were not optimised for mobile devices: AO.com, Pets At Home, Argos, Debenhams
  • Users would have liked the option to load more than 16 products at a time on Boohoo’s products listing pages
  • No border between the search and menu buttons on Sports Direct’s site left users accidentally closing the menu rather than hitting search
  • Users of several sites reported problems with being able to scroll past maps on the store locator results pages, as the maps themselves move when they are touched
  • Not all users on Debenhams’ mobile site were able to download the department store’s app when prompted by an overlay
  • Providing store stock availability information is an emerging feature on mobile product details pages. Providing a mobile experience that makes it easy to find contact and returns information – and supports store visits well - is important to consumers’ overall impression of a mobile site.

In addition, our users reported that they found 10 of the 15 websites we tested were slow to load, which often left them thinking that there were other faults on the sites.

Nupur Manchanda, Practicology’s COO, commented on the report: “The findings highlight that users’ expectations of how easy mobile sites should be to use have moved on since Practicology and WhatUsersDo published its first Mobile Usability Report in April 2014. In particular, users often blamed themselves or their devices for a poor experience 18 months ago, but now they very much believe that it is an issue for retailers to resolve.”

She continued: “The idea of this report is not to name-and-shame retailers for problems on their sites, but rather to identify conversion blockers that all retailers with mobile sites can learn from. There is a huge amount of insight in this report, and we hope that by investing in this research we can help those working hard to meet consumers’ mobile UX expectations will be able to improve their mobile conversion rates.”

Lee Duddell, Founder of WhatUsersDo added: “The report shows that most retailers still have some way to go to maximise mobile revenue. Because user experience is a key revenue and customer satisfaction driver it seems, as we start peak Christmas trading, the likes of Boots and Paperchase are going to be missing out on significant mobile revenue that the likes of Argos and Schuh will be enjoying. Hopefully this report can go some way to helping all retailers see how to improve mobile sales through an exemplary UX.”

The full report is available for download now

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