It's time for retailers to master mobile

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martijn bertisen quote web

In the smartphone era consumers are now almost umbilically attached to their devices. UK consumers are living a large part of their lives online via mobile and 57% use their smartphone for shopping-related tasks.

Yet, despite sizeable investment in both content and technology, UK retailers have still not fully mastered mobile. Our recent benchmarking study, evaluating 316 European mobile websites across retail, travel and finance for speed and ‘friendliness’ (user experience), illustrates the challenges in delivering a seamless customer experience.

Customers will bail out of a slow-loading website after three seconds - and 75% of the reviewed mobile websites took more than 10 seconds to load. The good news is that of the 14 fastest loading sites, 10 were from retail and two were UK brands. Retail brands in general ranked below travel brands for friendliness factors such as on-site search, inventory data and image quality - but 11 UK retail brands ranked in the Top 20 most user-friendly retail sites in Europe.

We continue to help retailers improve their mobile offering by developing products like Google Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web Apps - the latter offer the experience of both a website and a mobile app. Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce site, boosted conversions by 70% after combining its web presence and native app into a Progressive Web Application.

Speed and a seamless experience should be a hygiene factor for mobile - and retailers are now looking at how to leverage developments in machine learning to deliver a mobile 2.0 experience taking in payments, image recognition, authentication and voice search, among other amazing innovations. These new solutions will have a significant impact on key conversion challenges such as cart abandonment rate and checkout process speed.

For example, consumers are frustrated by constantly having to remember their details and re-sign in to sites. Swift, easy authentication will offer some of the ‘delight’ delivered by the best online experiences. Technology is now available to allow users to sync passwords across devices, sign in with just one tap and let them sign back in automatically after a session expires. E-commerce marketplace AliExpress introduced the Smart Lock on Chrome that uses the recently developed Credential Management API on its app and websites, and saw an 85% drop in failures during sign-in, a 60% decrease in time spent signing in and an 11% increase in conversion rate.

Now is the time to revisit your mobile strategy and develop a continuous feedback cycle to optimise your offering.

Martijn Bertisen is UK sales director at Google

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