Posts Tagged ‘UX mobiles e-commerce’

Mobile Phone Sites Fail to Connect

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Despite selling the technology frequently used for social networking, Britain’s biggest mobile phone e-retailers are failing to plug into the phenomenon, according to a report from benchmarking specialist Syntagm (http://www.syntagm.co.uk). The study of 12 leading mobile sites found that the majority offer very limited interactive features, and don’t encourage user-generated content or attempt to foster a sense of community – in stark contrast to e-commerce leaders like Amazon.

Recent research from Ofcom revealed that 30% of British adults now have a social networking profile, with many accessing this virtual world via their mobile phone. And consumers have come to expect the same level of interactivity when shopping online: user reviews, self-service and control over purchasing are commonplace everywhere from ASOS to eBay.

When it comes to buying a mobile, however, customers might as well skip the online experience and stroll into a ‘bricks and mortar’ store if they’re looking for an interactive shopping experience. Whilst some of the sites provided interactive search facilities or 3D phone viewers, only two (Three and T-Mobile) allowed potential customers to chat online to a sales advisor.

None of the sites made personalised recommendations based on previous visits, and most did not even attempt to show users the products they most recently viewed – a serious flaw given the amount of ‘site hopping’ people tend to do when shopping online.

Several sites subscribed to ‘read only’ third-party product reviews, but it wasn’t possible for users to make comments about their own experience of a particular product, or leave questions to be answered by other punters.

William Hudson, Syntagm’s CEO, comments: “Successful e-commerce sites echo the sense of community that has made social networking sites so popular, by enabling users to communicate and share information. In our survey, only outsider Expansys came close, whereas its bigger competitors seem to have got their wires crossed when it comes to social networking opportunities.  There’s a lot more they could be doing.”

Syntagm’s benchmarking report compared user experience between Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Expansys, mobiles.co.uk, O2, Orange, phones4u, Tesco, T-Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone.

The study concluded that the sites are failing consumers on some of the most basic services needed to buy a phone. And the biggest names were often the worst culprits: relative unknown Expansys was the only site to score above 50% on overall experience for online shoppers, putting its mainstream competitors to shame.

Hudson adds: “At a time of intense competition between the main mobile traders, they need to offer their online shoppers a more engaging experience. Our report clearly shows where their strengths and weaknesses lie – we hope the companies concerned will make use of the information it provides.”

Ends

Notes for editors

About Syntagm:
Syntagm is a small consultancy based in Oxford. Established in 1985, it specialises in design for usability (user-centred design and user experience) and people development. It has worked more than 100 blue chip organisations across Europe and North America.

About the benchmarking report:
Benchmarking took place in late May and early June 2009, comparing the 12 mobile phone sites across 13 categories: content, visual design, navigation, engagement, accessibility, trust, persuasion, shopping basket, search, selection, checkout, account management, and online support.

Additional sites can be benchmarked on request. Syntagm and its staff have no financial interests in any of the organisations benchmarked.

 For further details or to purchase the summary report visit www.uxbench.com

Mobile Phone E-Commerce Report Delivers Blow to Big Brands

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Only outsider Expansys scores above 50% on overall experience for online shoppers

Britain’s biggest mobile phone brands are lagging behind relative outsider Expansys when it comes to the design and usability of their e-commerce sites, according to a new report from benchmarking specialists Syntagm (http://www.syntagm.co.uk). Findings show that the majority of mobile sites suffer from poor navigation, lack of information and limited online support – failing consumers on some of the most basic services needed to buy a phone.

The benchmarking report compares user experience between 12 of the leading vendors (Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Expansys, mobiles.co.uk, O2, Orange, phones4u, Tesco, T-Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone), revealing some big surprises in the ratings – and an unprecedented overview of the market as a whole.

Specialist handheld reseller Expansys topped the results tables in eight of the 13 groups (including some tied scores) but its overall score was still only 62%. O2 was ranked in second place overall with a score of 50% and Argos scraped into third position with 47% for overall user experience.

Tesco may be marching further into the mobile market, but online it slows to a crawl: it received the lowest scores for trust and shopping basket design, and suffered from problematic navigation and an indiscriminate search facility. This combination of weak results earned Tesco the bottom position overall, with a user experience score of just 36%.

Many of the mobile providers were found guilty of prioritising style over substance: half of the sites scored 80% or above for visual design but only O2 had a respectable content score (83%), with the majority performing poorly in providing effective product information (three quarters achieved 60% or lower).

Online support was the weakest area across all sites, scoring just 2% overall. Expansys, O2 and Virgin received some marks for offering online support forums, but the other nine benchmarked sites received zero scores for only dealing with problems or questions through telephone help desks (often at national-rate charges).

With current levels of spam, phishing attacks and credit card fraud, consumers have every right to be suspicious of e- commerce sites. Yet very few of the benchmarked sites provided adequate levels of reassurance. Clicking the ‘Internet shopping is safe’ logo on the Orange checkout page produced a certificate error.

A surprisingly poor performance came in the area of persuasion (trying to sell services), which only averaged 11% in its benchmarked group. And, where accessories or upgrades were offered they were often irrelevant to the phone selected. The most commonly offered additional service was handset insurance, despite this already being included in many home contents policies.

“Having spent seven years benchmarking and offering design advice on intranets we’re now turning our attention to e-commerce sites, starting with mobile phones. The overall results were unexpected and disappointing, but we hope that the companies in the survey will find the information useful,” said William Hudson, Syntagm’s CEO.

“At a time of intense competition between the main mobile traders they can’t afford to lose customers due to confusing content, shocking customer service and missed sale opportunities. Expansys may not be a mainstream mobile phone site, but the user experience it offers puts many of its bigger competitors to shame.”

Ends

Notes for editors
About Syntagm:
Syntagm is a small consultancy based in Oxford. Established in 1985, it specialises in design for usability (user-centred design and user experience) and people development. It has worked more than 100 blue chip organisations across Europe and North America.

About the benchmarking report:
The benchmarking took place in late May and early June 2009, comparing the user experience between 12 of the leading UK vendors: Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Expansys, mobiles.co.uk, O2, Orange, phones4u, Tesco, T-Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone.

Syntagm compared the sites across 13 categories: content, visual design, navigation, engagement, accessibility, trust, persuasion, shopping basket, search, selection, checkout, account management, and online support.

Each category received a numerical score and written observations. The numerical scores make it possible to see clearly where strengths and weaknesses lie for each of the mobile e-commerce organisations concerned, and improved scores can be used as targets for future development.

Additional sites can be benchmarked on request. Syntagm and its staff have no financial interests in any of the organisations benchmarked.

For further details or to purchase the report visit www.uxbench.com