Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Usability Mobile Web

Mobile matters in retail

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Usability Mobile Web

Last week I was in the Pitt Street Nespresso store buying pods for my coffee machine.

One of Wiliam’s Experience Designers, Queron, never fails to remind me of not only the commercially daft decision to buy a pod-based coffee machine, though the consumerism and wastage that is associated with it.

On one hand, I agree with him and I am sort of repelled every time I empty the holding tank of metallic, empty pods. Yes I accept that it is not the best coffee in Sydney. Yes I agree that I am paying a premium for my coffee.

The convenience and consistency of my morning coffee is why I do it however and I don’t apologise. Especially not to Queron.

I digress however.

Whilst in the store, I saw a completely automated DeLonhgi coffee machine. I thought about buying it for the Wiliam office so that our web designers and web developers – those not precious – could have a coffee whenever they felt like it.

The machine retailed for $999 in the Nespresso store. Judging by the street-frontage of the Nespresso store on Pitt Street and a clearly very expensive fit-out, I considered that they probably weren’t offering the best price in town.

I stepped back and tried to access The Good Guys website on my mobile phone, an iPhone 4.

Before accessing any products on their website , I had to tell them my location and find my preferred store. Whilst I was able to get the closest four stores to the postcode 2000, I couldn’t seem to get past that point. 

The map showing the four stores had no obvious ‘Continue’ button. Everything I did seemed to reset the screen.

Presumably there was some way to move past, though on my tiny screen, I just couldn’t work it out.

About one minute spent on that pointless task; now I know never to visit The Good Guys on my mobile again.

I moved onto Harvey Norman and its website.

Again, a website not optimised for mobile, though at least I didn’t have the break down the barrier of defining which store I’d likely buy the coffee machine from.

The Kitchen Appliances category and then the Coffee Machines category; there is the same machine as in the Nespresso store, prominently featured for $799.

Phew, I’d saved $200.

Had the product not been featured, I’m not sure if I would have found it, though it was and so we’ll leave it at that.

To suggest the experience was disappointing would be an understatement. Nespresso lost a sale though so too did The Good Guys to whom I am fairly loyal. And all that pinching and zooming in and our just to see and use traditionl web pages on my tiny mobile screen.


If you are a retailer, sit down and consider this stat:

At this week’s Online Retailer Conference in Sydney, US Commerce Managing Director, Tyler Hoffman, said that research studies had shown that 79% of smart-phone owners use them to research and compare prices, and many actually use them to make purchases. Who on earth doesn't have a smart-phone? 

On the mobile version of Cudo we do very brisk traffic and sales. Even on the mobile version of the Wiliam website which is now 5 years old, we get compliments from people who were easily able to find our address details while heading towards us in a cab.

Mobile has roared in the past few years and retailers can still be possibly excused for not having concrete mobile solutions in place just yet. If you’re not playing the game in 2012 however and you’re a serious retailer, you’re mad.