The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

The Rapidly Increasing Importance Of Getting Mobile Right In 2020

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One of my favorite projects we do each year here at RSR is when we evaluate retailers’ online shopping channels. We take an in-depth look at 80 different retailers’ desktop and mobile sites, compare them to 1,000 US consumers’ sentiment, and then rank each across a challenging set of criteria. We’ve been doing it for 5 years now, and scores this time around were better than ever before – although still not where we (or shoppers) would like them to be. The average in 2020 was up to 57/100, as opposed to the 48/100 we saw in last year’s study.

But this year we also shifted a heavy focus onto the mobile channel. We still looked at the desktop site, but mainly just to make sure the differences between it and the mobile offering were not completely out of line. Why? Simple – more of us are shopping on our mobile devices. Whether or not the sale is completed there (more on that in a moment), the mobile device is involved in nearly every purchase we make.

And right off the bat, consumers told us they ARE more likely to finish the sale right on their mobile device, with 32% now reporting that they are completing their full shopping journeys on their mobile devices – a previously unheard-of statistic. What is just as telling from that data, however, is what does cause an experience begun on a mobile device to move onto a desktop site – or to be abandoned completely. In fact, when combining the number of shoppers who are forced from their mobile device onto a desktop due to security concerns (14%) or by a slow or inconvenient mobile shopping session (another 14%), as well as those who will completely abandon a session due to that same slow or inconvenient experience (18%), we find our largest group of shoppers: 46% of shoppers are starting on a mobile device and then either being pushed onto the desktop site – or far worse - out of the shopping experience entirely.

Time To Take This Seriously

As a result of these findings, we cannot overstate how important it is that retailers do everything in their power to increase their scores in this evaluation in the year to come. For the past three years, after evaluating hundreds of the top retail sites and handing out lackluster grade after lackluster grade, we have been pleading with brands to improve the performance and experience of their digital channels. The massive shift to online shopping due to the COVID-19 crisis shone a bright spotlight on why these brands should have heeded our advice. Many are currently struggling to catch up and, as stated previously, no one wants to be one of the brands that will become extinct.

In these genuinely uncertain times, predictions aren’t particularly valuable. However, despite all the uncertainty, one thing that can absolutely be guaranteed: whatever goods people feel they need, those needs are more and more likely to be fulfilled online. And those retailers who can do a better job meeting those needs — without dropping the ball — stand a much better chance of still being here in 2021, in 2022, and beyond.

We invite everyone to read the full report – and see how your brand fared - here.

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Articles & Opinions October 27, 2020
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