We all do it. If we have a few spare minutes, we reach for our phone. We’re not looking for anything in particular, just something to keep us entertained or inspired. It’s usually a visual thing, drawing us to mobile sites and apps like Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest. But sadly, do you know what sites this urge to kill time never brings us to? A retailer’s mobile site.
It’s not that people don’t want to look at the products retailers carry. In fact, if you spend some time on Pinterest, you’ll find that images of fashion and design from retail sites are pinned all over boards with clever names like “things I want in my closet.” Pinterest is organized in a way that lets users visually discover things that are interesting to them. They can meander in any direction they choose on a self-guided tour of things that visually speak to them. Compare that experience to the typical mobile e-commerce site.
These sites, to put it mildly, were not built with the “killing time” use case in mind. Neither site search nor the typical category navigation tree were created to allow for visual product discovery. But, with the amount of time people kill on their smartphones, this is clearly a missed opportunity for retailers. What if a retailer’s mobile site took the “killing time” use case into account and created an experience that gave them what they want…an effortless way to discover products they’re interested in. Liken it to a shopper coming into a brick-and-mortar store to browse. In fact, physical stores are designed for exactly this. They’re meant to make it easy for a shopper to navigate to what they like. It’s the original “engagement” for customers…you know…the kind where humans talked directly to other humans.
Mobile sites that allow users to browse their virtual shelves visually see significantly higher engagement. For example, shoppers who engage with BloomReach Mobile’s “More Like This” functionality on the Deb Shops mobile site – (where they can tap an icon to view similar products, effectively running a search, but without any thumb typing) – spend 40% more time on the site. And, keep in mind, that time on site is spent having an enjoyable experience, not frustratingly attempting to find a needle in a haystack.
The “killing time” use case is real. It’s time for retailers to embrace it and build their mobile sites with a beautiful, data-driven experience that delights customers.