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Crocs earns back mobile investment in two months

During the “Increasing Mobile Conversion through an Emphasis on Usability and Design” session, executives from Crocs, Wyndham Hotel and Skava discussed the importance of catering a site’s design and user experience specifically to mobile users. The panel was moderated by Bob Moul, CEO of Artisan Mobile, Philadelphia.

“I think we all know conversion on smartphones is really low, but anything you can do to elevate that is going to go a long way,” said Keith Baltus, global ecommerce mobile product manager at Crocs, Niwot, CO.

“I was pretty conservative, I forecasted five percent incremental revenue lift per locale per device,” he said. “That’s pretty conservative, but we pretty much blew that out of the water.

“We were able to pay back our investment in mobile in two months.”

Mobile site
Until recently, Crocs simply rendered its desktop site for mobile, but the company has now invested in a mobile site and conversion rates have since skyrocketed, upwards of 100 percent in some of its Asian markets.

According to Mr. Baltus, smartphone conversions increased 50 percent and tablet conversions increased 10 percent. He pointed to design and usability as key factors in the improvement.

Crocs sees seven percent of its revenue from smartphones, and 13 percent from tablets.

While Crocs has a mobile-specific site, it still uses the same content for all mediums, but that is mainly due to a lack of resources.

“We optimize based on where the customer is coming from, but we are using the same set of content,” said Haley Nemann, senior user experience architect at Crocs. “But we’re in early phases as well.

“Our goal is to refine and reiterate,” she said. “I’m a perfectionist but that’s not possible in mobile, you just got to get it out there.

“Your mobile site has to be fast, and if it’s not people are going to bounce. That’s probably the most critical thing.”

Ms. Nemann listed a number of different ways that Crocs better understands what consumers want out of a mobile site.

Through, for example, Crocs realized that its path to shopping cart was counterintuitive for removing an item from the cart. The company took this feedback to improve the cart and make sure it was simple to remove a product.

Hotel bookings
Keith Swiderski, director of mobile and emerging channels strategy and development at Wyndham Hotel Group, Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, saw a similar importance of user experience and design for mobile conversions.

Wyndham Hotel Group launched its mobile site in 2012 and saw conversion rates triple. Mr. Swiderski attributed the increase to design and user experience changes.

According to Mr. Swiderski, smartphone accounts for 30 percent of Wyndham’s business, and tablet accounts for about 10-15 percent. He claims that mobile is the only channel that is growing, so it deserves attention and investment.

When building a mobile site, Wyndham talked to customers to figure out what they were looking for on mobile.

“We built the experience around a specific use case, people looking for a room for the same day,” Mr. Swiderski said. “It was what consumers told us they wanted on mobile.

“Now people are doing a lot more on it then just that use case so we’ve had to move towards the center,” he said.

One of the biggest lessons Mr. Swiderski has learned is that mobile sites require a fine balance of aesthetics and functionality.

“In hindsight we focused more on aesthetics and now we need to focus on functionality,” he said. “Ugly sites make money. So it’s definitely a tradeoff between the two.

“It’s about what customers are looking for. And if the change you make improves the path to conversion, it’s worth it.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York