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A recent study looking at which retailers offer the best multichannel customer experience found that consumers liked the fact that Amazon synchronises its shopping basket across its desktop site and mobile app.

So, if you add a DVD to your shopping basket online it immediately adds it to the app as well. This makes perfect sense, and fits with the way people research and switch between channels

It’s a feature that is quite easy to miss, but is a great example of offering the customer a consistent experience across different channels rather than viewing desktop and mobile in isolation.

To find out whether or not it is common practice, I looked at the iPhone apps for eight other retailers to see whether they offer the same function...

Debenhams

The Debenhams app doesn’t update when you add an item to the basket on the desktop site.

In fact on one occasion the desktop site kicked me out when I tried to add something to the basked as I was already logged in elsewhere.

If this occurred because I was logged into the app at the same time then it’s something that Debenhams needs to fix going forward.

Oasis

Another retailer that fails to properly link up its mobile app and desktop site. Oasis’ app doesn’t reflect any changes made to your shopping basket on the desktop site.

Tesco Direct

Much like Amazon, if you add an item to the basket on Tesco’s desktop site then it immediately updates the iPhone app as well.

At the recent launch of an interactive digital grocery store Tesco revealed that 16% of its sales currently involve smartphones at some stage of the purchase journey while 8% come exclusively from mobile, so clearly it is an important revenue stream.

Also, the ability to update and amend your shopping basket is one of the main selling points of Tesco’s mobile app, so it is extremely important that any changes are reflected on both platforms.

                         

New Look

New Look’s app is different from the others on this list as if you want to browse or buy products then it just links you to the mobile website.

But even so, the two are not fully integrated and adding products on one platform has no affect on the other.

House of Fraser

House of Fraser’s app also doesn’t reflect updates made on the desktop site and vice versa. 

                         

Topshop

There appears to be no link between the app and the desktop site.

Marks and Spencer

M&S is only the second retailer on this list that synchronises its iPhone app and desktop site.

In the eDigital Benchmark report M&S came out on top as it offered the most consistent customer experience across mobile and desktop.

Joining up the checkouts for mobile and desktop is one example of how it is approaching multichannel commerce.

                         

Next

Another clothing retailer that doesn’t synchronise the shopping bags across its desktop site and mobile app.

Conclusion...

This sample includes some of the UK’s top online retailers, so it’s surprising that they don’t synchronise the shopping basket across their digital platforms.

While it isn’t likely to lose them a huge amount of sales, it is interesting to note that mobile is still largely being treated as separate to the desktop site.

For retailers like Tesco, giving customers the ability to update and amend their shopping basket on the go is vital to their mobile strategy, so offering shoppers access to the the same shopping basket across different channels is integral to the user experience.

The tool probably isn’t as important for clothing stores, but as most of these retailers save items in your shopping basket until you either buy it or remove it, it is surprising that they don’t allow you to access the same shopping basket whether it be on mobile or desktop.

David Moth

Published 3 October, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1676 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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George Jones

Amazon are a great example of how to use technology to focus on customer experience. Their main site is easy to use and more importantly easy to spend money on an their mobile strategy seems to be consistent with the rest of their approach.

over 3 years ago

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