Leading retail execs discuss power of mobile

Since its launch last summer, Essential Retail has spoken exclusively to a number of senior execs from the UK's leading retail businesses.

One thing that has been particular consistent during conversations with these senior figures is the belief that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are shaping a new era for retail. We've gathered together some of their best quotes regarding mobile's influence on the retail industry.

Jonathan Wall, eCommerce director at Shop Direct, said: "[Mobile] is the silver bullet and it's the first time we've been able to truly speak to our customers 24-7.

"It might be them just 'snacking' when they are first thinking about buying a product and are starting their order journey, to finding out where their nearest Collect+ store is via Google Maps. It's not just about placing an order online on mobile – it's about the whole piece of the customer journey.

"Whether it's 100% or 99%, it will be a large proportion of our customers who will use their mobile at some point pre or post purchase, so we are setting all our services up so they will be mobile ready.

"When customers just browse on their mobile and then go to desktop, the conversion uplift is so significant. We know customers who browse on a mobile and order on a desktop are by far our most engaged customers."


Jeremy Fennell, eCommerce director at Dixons Retail, said: "We were quite late going mobile, but going responsive ensures we get a very consistent web experience across mobile, laptop and tablet. As we’ve gone responsive the tablet boom has gone crazy. We get about 20% of our traffic from tablet [talking in August 2013].

"It’s important that the eCommerce experience is consistent between laptop/PC and mobile, but it becomes even more important on tablet. The reason for this is that it's very similar to desktop and laptop in that people are purchasing when they are on tablet. Mobile phones have lower conversions because people are just browsing."


Simon Burke, chairman at Bathstore, said: "Retailers are talking about being mobile friendly, but many just mean they've adapted their screens for use on a mobile device.

"What they are not doing is actually taking advantage of the elements that are different about mobile – the actual location-based services are one of the most obvious of those. Mobile vouchering, too – that's another thing that retailers are generally failing to take advantage of.

"We're looking at how to make mobile work best. Adapting a site for mobile living."


Richard Weaver, eCommerce director at Majestic Wine, said: "My view on this is that customers expect a seamless experience online – if they are using a desktop, tablet or mobile device.

"Not having a device optimised for smaller screen is to my mind a mistake. If I’m ever accessing a site on my phone that isn’t optimised and I have to zoom in, it’s unnecessarily awkward.

"We don’t have separate view for tablets and desktops, and the way we approached this was to treat the tablet as the primary device. We made sure that everything we did worked perfectly on a tablet because if this is the case, it will work on a desktop."


Aaron Chatterley, CEO of Feelunique.com, said: "Retail is heading mobile. Over half of our traffic is coming from some type of mobile device, whether it's a smartphone or a tablet.

 I look at my kids now, four-year-old twins, and I can't see them using PCs in the future – I just see them using tablets. We see it in the stats – I just can't see them using the traditional keyboard and mouse for much longer."


Andrew White, commercial director at Jones Bootmaker, said: "We're finding a lot of people are browsing on their mobiles first in town and then going into make the purchase in-store.

"It's a good conversion tool from that point of view."




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