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Monday, October 10, 2011

Retail and an Intro to Mobile Strategy

Mobile Performance management starts with how the pages are built, which often presents a dilemma for retailers. With more and more products approaching commodity status and available at multiple online outlets, site experience becomes a key differentiator.  Retailers want to create a rich experience for visitors with interactivity, dramatic product presentation, perhaps Flash, personalization or other features to set themselves off from the competition.  But a heavy load of features and functionality can drag site performance down, often because of third-party content, and, instead of making visitors sticky, can drive them to leaner, faster competitive sites.

The successful retailers this year will have built mobile into their strategy right from the start—not just as an afterthought to the “main” site, but side-by-side with it.  Shoppers carrying smart phones are using them to check prices, locate products, find deals, look at reviews and, more and more, to make purchases. 

Many retailers were surprised at the amount of mobile traffic they got during the 2009 holiday season.  And there will be millions more smart phones in the hands of shoppers this year.

With regards to mobile website availability, the inherent slowness of cellular networks and devices, mobile sites need to be even leaner and meaner than wired Web sites.  It takes some hard decision-making and analysis of what is essential for users when they are browsing on the go and what it takes to satisfy them, including their need for speed.  Search results can be confined to return four or five results, for example, instead of the 40 or 50 that might be delivered on the wired Web.  And perhaps tracking pixels are needed only on the landing page and cart page, instead of every page on the site.

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