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Top UK retailers yet to fully embrace mobile technology: new study

Tuesday April 30th 2013

A new benchmark study has revealed that 60 of the UK's top high street retailers and public sector organisations are yet to fully embrace mobile technologies to improve the overall customer experience.

The research by internet and technology company Auros found that retailers outperformed public sector service organisations with 83% of retailers having a mobile friendly website compared to just 43% in the public sector. However, just 7% of retailers were found to offer a user experience that was optimised for tablets, with only H&M delivering a tablet-specific site.

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While mobile apps were shown to be more prevalent in retail with 80% of retailers having some form of app, these were found to be poorly promoted with only 21% of the retailers prompting the user to use their app on relevant devices.  50% of retailers that had invested in apps had delivered them solely for Apple, compared to 17% in the public sector.

Despite investing in mobile, very few retailers were found to have fully embraced the potential to enhance the customer experience that mobile can offer. Just three in 10 retailers used geo-location to deliver nearest store details in a single step, with 90% failing to manage it across all test platforms. Morrisons set the standard, showing store details on the homepage. 

Auros found that support for touch was generally poor, with 53% of retailers and 33% of public sector organisations providing touch screen friendly navigation. In addition, just 11% of the websites tested were responsive with only one retailer, Currys, offering a responsive site.

Dominic Mills, Auros managing  director, said: "We were surprised to discover that several major high street retailers and 40% of the UK’s largest public sector organisations that we researched provide no form of mobile web presence whatsoever.

"It is perhaps to be expected that the jury is out regarding the best approach to mobile, with limited use of responsive technology and relatively few apps on non-Apple platforms. But, because brands and public sector service providers have yet to fully embrace mobile we found that the user experience is less than optimal. 

"Companies that exploit geo-location for example are delivering a better user experience, and therefore better customer service which in turn will increase brand advocacy and generate more bottom line revenue."