In October The Search Agency evaluated Fortune’s top 100 brands to determine whether and to what degree they reflected Google’s mobile best practices recommendations. Most of the top brands, including Google itself, didn’t score particularly well, according to the search-marketing firm’s “Mobile Experience Scorecard.”
The Search Agency is now back with a comparable look at the 100 top “multichannel retailers” in the US (read: brick and mortar stores that offer e-commerce). Using the same criteria as in the previous test (see below), the firm examined mobile site load time, site format, store locator and presence/whereabouts of a search box.
After the tests were performed The Search Agency generated a composite score for each retailer. Below are the top 20 mobile-optimized multichannel retailers as scored by the firm.
The top 20 were almost all over 4 points on a five-point scale. The average score for the top 100 overall was 3.17 (out of 5) but average scores varied by category. Pharma was the highest scoring retail category (3.95), just slightly better than kid-oriented retailers (3.88). Jewelry retailers performed worst with a category average of 1.89.
Noteworthy firms in the bottom half of the list include Gap (51), Best Buy (57), Nike (77), Urban Outfitters (87), Crate and Barrel (92) and Apple (100). The Search Agency did not evaluate mobile apps although it did record links to mobile app downloads. Macy’s, for example, ranked 59th on the Mobile Scorecard list but has a very progressive mobile app that includes indoor mapping and navigation.
The chart below shows what percentage of retailers by category linked to downloads for their mobile apps. My guess is that there are many more apps out there than corresponding links. This is clearly a missed opportunity for many retailers.
Most consumers interact with retailers much more broadly through the mobile web than via apps. Apps are going to be downloaded and used by loyal customers. Prospects and casual customers are less likely to have apps. That’s why retailers need to build better mobile web experiences, which should also be gateways to app downloads.
Interestingly 91 percent of retailers on the list had dedicated mobile sites and only 1 percent were using responsive design. The other 8 percent relied on their PC sites.
Every day there’s seemingly more data confirming how central smartphones are to shopping research and how influential their use will be in holiday 2013 sales. It’s foolish, especially for retailers, not do everything they can to create “awesome” mobile experiences for their customers. Otherwise they’re not only leaving money on the table they’re potentially hurting their brands.