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Marks & Spencer mobile commerce site nets 13,000 orders in 4 months

British retail giant Marks & Spencer launched its first mobile commerce Web site to extend its brand, and it has seen healthy adoption out of the gate.

M&S has worked with Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) and Usablenet for consultancy on the user experience, design and functionality for the mobile commerce site.  The purpose of the site is to create another direct communications channel with M&S consumers and to let them access all product lines on the go, as mobile is now being treated like the Web.

“The mobile-optimized site is a key part of our M&S Direct growth strategy,” said Sienne Veit, social and mobile commerce development manager at Marks & Spencer, London. “Our target is to achieve £500 million [close to $800 million USD] of sales in M&S Direct—online, catalogue, call centers and delivery services—by the end of this financial year.

“For this project MIG worked with M&S to define and map the user experience for the mobile site,” she said. “We then developed the design of the site to give M&S an optimum presence on a wide range of mobile handsets.

“The site design complements a wide range of products and functionality—staying close to the M&S brand look and feel while giving a great customer experience.”

The M&S mobile site is at

MIG is a global integrated mobile and digital communications business specializing in mobile advertising, mobile marketing, mobile billing, mobile messaging, mobile technology and services provision, multichannel digital solutions, mobile Internet publishing, experiential design and application development.

Mobile commerce boom
The mobile Internet is set to outstrip the traditional Web by 2013—therefore, it is key for retail brands such as Marks & Spencer to realize their true potential and to offer mobile as a core purchasing channel for customers.

The mobile commerce site has a simple design that presents users with a quick route to access their desired product.

The types of products purchased via mobile devices range from wide-screen TVs to sofas and clothes.

Marks & Spencer claims that to date the site has delivered results that outstripped its initial key performance indicators:

•         1.2 million unique visitors since launch

•         More than 10 million page views

•         More than 13,000 orders from the mobile site since launch     

•         £3,280 ($5,195 USD) for two sofas is the single largest value order

The most popular handsets used to access the site are primarily iPhones and secondarily Android devices.

Step by step
Consultancy for the development of the mobile site between M&S and MIG, in conjunction with Usablenet, commenced in early April this year and took a phased approach.

Phase one was “Discovery and definition,” moving through to “Concept look and feel,” “Design refinement and approval” to “Making sure the site worked on multiple handsets.”

Throughout all phases, user experience, design and usability were core to the discussions.

Features on the site include a store finder to locate the nearest M&S outlet, the ability to search by product and then to refine these searches to a specific item.

The site features a full product range for categories such as Women’s, Men’s, Kids Clothing, Home and Furniture and Technology.

Ms. Veit said that for M&S the mobile commerce site is all about getting products quickly and easily to consumers via mobile and letting them pay for products on their mobile device.

M&S’s aim is to integrate mobile as a channel to stand alongside the PC Web, to increase basket size and drive sales.

The retailer has also incorporated a customer feedback facility to enable customer reviews, and it has given consumers their choice of delivery method.

The M&S mobile commerce site can be accessed via any Web-enabled phone, and the device will know to redirect the user to the mobile commerce site. Or users can manually type in

To get the word out about the mobile site, M&S is using its online channels such as Facebook and Twitter, established M&S channels such as product catalogues and Your M&S magazine, its email and SMS databases and a mobile display ad campaign.

M&S customers are accustomed to shopping wherever they want, whenever they want.

“Even before we launched the mobile-optimized site, over 800,000 customers were already shopping with us on their mobile phones and we had over 600,000 customers opted-in to receive text-message updates and promotions from us,” Ms. Veit said.

“The average age of mobile phone customers on unlimited Web packages—no cost for surfing the Internet—is 33, which mirrors our core customer online and demand will only grow as smartphones become more commonplace,” she said. “And as traditional online retail matures, mobile is expected to become the growth area for Internet retailing.

“One in ten of all Internet pages viewed in the UK are viewed on a mobile device and the number of adults using the mobile Internet is expected to double in the next two years.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily