More than half of online adults in the United States use smartphones to research and purchase products and services, making mobile retail websites an integral part of the shopping journey. In our recently published report, The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: US Mobile Retail Sites, Q4 2022we examined the mobile websites of 10 retailers (Best Buy, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sephora, Target, The Home Depot and Walmart) to determine how well the retailers are meeting customer expectations.
Our research examined mobile retail site functionality and user experience capabilities, as well as the results of our observation of users interacting with and completing assigned tasks on these retail sites.
Here are some takeaways:
- Lowe’s is the global leader in digital experience. Lowe’s mobile site experience effectively guides users through the purchase journey, earning it first place overall, as well as for functionality and user experience. Lowe’s was the only retailer to earn perfect marks in all feature categories, and its user experience stood out with powerful search tools, high-quality augmented reality, and an intelligent virtual assistant. Best Buy came in second for functionality, with strong fulfillment information, while Home Depot and Walmart received high marks for user experience.
- Extensive Product Detail Pages (PDPs) inform purchasing decisions. One of the main barriers to online shopping is the inability to see and physically touch the product before buying it. The retailers we reviewed did a good job of educating customers about their products by including detailed product information, customer ratings and reviews, and dynamic product images on the PDP. Standout retailers have also included features such as comparison tools, complementary product recommendations, and estimated delivery dates/shipping costs.
- Retailers have the search basics, but the advanced features are lacking. Most of the mobile retailer sites we reviewed ticked the boxes for basic search functionality, but very few offer more than the bare minimum. Retailers that excelled in this area included more advanced features, such as the ability to search by barcode, image, or voice. To further enhance the search experience, top-rated retailers offer advanced filtering features such as the ability to customize results based on fulfillment options, product availability, and current sales and promotions.
- User-friendly language helps users easily consume content. Most of the sites we reviewed avoided jargon and used plain language in their content, but several exceeded expectations. Major retailers use plain language throughout the site, including product details, help, and privacy and security content. They explain how they collect and use customer data in simple terms and give examples where necessary.
- Don’t overlook the importance of help on mobile sites. Many of the retailers we reviewed offered some form of customer service on their mobile sites, but most didn’t make it readily available. Retailers that excelled here highlighted chat on their site with chat icons or “sticky” pop-ups (i.e. the feature doesn’t disappear while browsing the site). Also, major retailers have not limited support to just the help section. They provide customers with contextual help, such as definitions of terms that customers may not be familiar with and password requirements during the account registration process.
For more information on the findings of this year’s Forrester Digital Experience Review™ on U.S. mobile retail sites, view the full report here, or contact us if you’d like to learn more about how Forrester can help you assess and improve your digital experience.