Driving Offline Commerce: UX Insights for ‘Store Mode’ Mobile Experiences
We work on a lot of mobile commerce sites at Spark. In 2015 alone, we designed 4 different mobile checkouts. We have a lot of heart-to-heart conversations with our clients during these projects and it’s not uncommon to hear that an e-commerce team is discouraged with low mobile conversion rates despite their best efforts to optimize the experience. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but those low mobile conversions are not necessarily a bad thing. The reality is 93% of shopping still happens at a brick-and-mortar location.
Does this mean mobile commerce sites should go away or that they don’t have value? Absolutely not. A customer’s purchase process is a lengthy one and they move between devices many times during a typical product search and browse process. Retailers still need to provide a best-in-class experience in the mobile realm, but the focus of mobile commerce needs to move away from the mobile conversion number. Multichannel retailers need to accept that the real value of mobile commerce sites is to drive offline purchases.
Enter ‘Store Mode’
2015 was a break-through year for mobile payment methods that allow customers to purchase goods in a store using a mobile device. We also saw several large multichannel retailers create in-store mode or store mode experiences on their mobile sites that provide customers with the ability to browse the store inventory at a specific brick-and-mortar location. This is the future of mobile commerce for retailers and we anticipate that customers will begin to expect this functionality from all mobile sites.
Solving Store Mode Roadblocks
In December 2015, the Spark UX team conducted usability testing on both the Home Depot and Lowes mobile websites, both of which provide the customer with the ability to search store inventory for a preferred location. We wanted to know if customers understood how to use store-mode functionality and how their web behaviors changed when using a mobile site to search in-store inventory versus making an online purchase.
We uncovered many actionable insights, ranging from geolocation to in-store way finding, that could influence a retailer’s design decisions relating to page layout, interaction design, and user workflows. While Home Depot and Lowes offer their customers a very valuable service by allowing them to shop store inventories from their phone, customers experienced several roadblocks when attempting to leverage the mobile sites for store browsing. Contact us to find out what worked and what didn’t work.
- user testing