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American Eagle Outfitters, Coach take lead as mcommerce sites improve: report

Mcommerce Web sites have hit their stride, with leaders such as American Eagle Outfitters, Coach and QVC leading the way in taking a holistic approach while effectively layering in tactics for driving conversions, according to a new report from the e-tailing group.

The e-tailing group’s 2015 Mobile Mystery Shopper Index reveals several important gains made by mcommerce sites in the past year, including in search, the shopping cart, merchandising and in-store experiences. Average scores were higher across the study – 72.09 in 2015 vs. 71.60 in 2014 – but only four retailers scored 80 points or higher.

“The biggest gain in retailers’ mobile experiences is the quality of search results, which improved from 2.21 to 3.59 out of 5,” said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group. “Included in this number is everything from filters, landing page sorts, badging, quality of the results.

“The most surprising finding was the number of errors still being received,” she said. “Forty six percent of 50 mobile sites had errors of some sort.”

Site search
The five top-performing retailers in mcommerce, according to the e-tailing group, are American Eagle Outfitters, with a score of 82.25; Coach, also at 82.25; QVC, with a score of 81.94; The Men’s Wearhouse at 81, and The North Face, with 79.5.

The report found that significant improvements have been made in the past year in search results, with gains in type ahead functionality and navigational access, including consistency of filtering and sort results across channels.

The retailers leading the way in mobile search results include Best Buy, eBags, JCPenney, Lane Bryant, Office Depot, Sears and Walmart.

Retailers also made improvements in the shopping cart, helping mobile shoppers save time and averting abandonment. Gains were made in click to checkout, pre-populated profile information and delineated stepped checkout.

The leaders in mobile shopping cart include Crutchfield, JCPenney, LL Bean, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, The Men’s Warehouse, The North Face, Walmart and Target.

Mobile merchandising
Retailers are also addressing the need to get the best products and messages in front of mobile shoppers through a variety of merchandising efforts. For example, Best Buy highlights exclusives while Sephora uses merchandising as part of its link structure.

Additionally, shopping cart recommendations were offered by 36 percent of retailers, up from 24 percent.

At the same time, the appearance of slide shows dropped from 60 percent to 50 percent. The e-tailing groups suggests this could be because this content does not render effectively on mobile or customers are not engaging with the content.

There was also a steep decline in the use of visual merchandising, or graphics of merchandised groups, from 90 percent to 60 percent. This could be because both retailers and shoppers want to get to the product quicker.

Calling out limited-time only products or flash sales garners is another merchandising tactic used on mobile, with The Home Depot’s “today only” promotion exemplifies such selling.

Offering shoppers the option to control the image size is seen is not widely available, found in just 36 percent of sites.

In-store integrations
Integration with the in-store experience saw a big gain in the past year, with in-store product locators found on 84 percent of retailers’ sites, up from 69 percent last year.

Same-day pickup scenarios are offered by 54 percent of retailers and 17 percent offer one-hour availability, making this an important point of differentiation.

“Retailers should create a multi-dimensional merchandising strategy that includes a combination of merchandising and promotional tactics on the home page and throughout the site as enticements to drive visitors deeper, rather than hiding them on interior pages that might never be viewed by the shopper,” Ms. Freedman said.

“Also, embrace inventory lookup and the ability to reserve and pick up products to efficiently connect customers to your stores,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York