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Phablets do not solve all mobile shopping pain points: ecommerce execs

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – Executives from VF Corp. and Sears Holdings Corp. at the Mobile Shopping Summit 2015 said they are testing bigger add-to-cart buttons on mobile to address the growing use of phablets.

The larger screens of phablets may make it easier for users to view items of interest, but online retailers are discovering that pain points still exist, such as tapping the add-to-cart button. As a result, they are testing new buttons that are proportionally bigger to see if this helps drive mobile conversions.

“One pain point we are hearing is that even though phones are getting bigger, they are still having a hard time adding to cart,” said Tari Huddleston, director of ecommerce and digital strategy and VF Corp.

“Is the screen getting big enough that it is time to make some buttons proportionally bigger?,” she said. “We are testing this with a few brands.”

Ms. Huddleston, who is directly involved with the Wrangler and Lee brands, was one of several executives on the Mobile ROI Panel: Measuring Success Across Devices And Time.

Committing to mobile
VF Corp. is also working on transferring some brands from m dot sites to responsive design as it intensifies its focus on driving commerce on its own sites as well as on its retailers’ sites.

Michael Goldwater, director of business management and analytics for the mobile division at Sears Holdings Corp. said the retailer is also looking on how to better optimize experiences for phablet users.

However, with mobile’s influence also being felt in-store, the retailer is also focused on figuring out what impact mobile is having on customers’ needs and what they are asking for.

“Over 70 percent of our sales are to our members, so we have a lot of visibility into what is happening, and mobile is having a big impact on in-store and influencing desktop,” Mr. Goldwater said. “This is helping us commit resources to mobile.

For example, Sears is currently rebuilding its layaway platform to provide an end-to-end experience on mobile.

“We have had layaway management for a long time, but as we are looking at the feedback sources and knowing that we have great performance for layaway on desktop, we are then extending that to mobile as more of that behavior is shifting to mobile,” Mr. Goldwater said.

Content and commerce converge
Sears is also working on integrating Apple Pay for mcommerce purposes while focusing on CurrentC for the mobile proximity payments piece of the puzzle.

“Mobile payments keeps evolving and adding more players,” Mr. Goldwater said. “It has to shake out to two or three key players.”

Chris Capehart, chief marketing at Oven Bits, said the company is focused on building native app experiences or its retail clients that are both a brand experience and a shopping experience.

For Giggle, a baby products retailer with a handful of stores, Oven Bits helped build a mobile registry experience that enables users to scan products in the store and add to their registry. Once they get home, users can continue to add products.

Since introducing the app, the retailer has seen double-digit growth in the number of products being added to the registry.

The company is also testing Apple’s new 3D Touch functionality with one of its apps.

Looking ahead, Mr. Capehart believes the convergence of content and commerce will be a big trend over the next year or two. Executives are still exploring the best ways to enable mobile users to do what they want to do on Pinterest or other third-party sites while driving brand engagement and conversions.

Retailers are also still trying to figure out how control to give users on these social media sites.

Oven Bits has two clients that each boasts more than three million followers on Instagram. While one gives users significant freedom in how they use and post content, another is more controlling.

“What we have seen is that when you give people the ownership of the brand, you increase loyalty,” Mr. Capehart said. “We are seeing increases in the average order value.

“When you give them the platform, they will be loyal to you and they will purchase from you,” he said.

Driving gross revenue
The ability to incorporate Apple Pay to make it significantly easier to purchase on mobile will also be an important focus in the near future.

Mr. Capehart reports that some brands are even seeing an increase in gross revenue when they add a mobile app.

“You are shifting them to a new channel and that channel is creating higher-value customers,” Mr.  Capehart said.

“Not all brands, but for some  younger brands, mobile traffic was increasing 50 to 60 percent and now mobile revenue is increasing 30 to 40 percent as well,” he said.

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