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Earlier this week Gucci rolled out its new mobile optimised site following several months of testing in the US market.
Since the initial US beta launch in December mobile conversion rates have increased by more than 70% and mobile revenue grew fourfold year-over-year.
The mobile site already accounts for 27% of total traffic to Gucci.com and 13% of total online revenue.
So clearly mobile commerce is important for Gucci, but has it has it provided a user experience to match?
The homepage certainly looks great – who doesn’t like bright pictures of loafers and models sporting striking blue handbags? But it’s not the most user-friendly in terms of navigation.
On the desktop site you are shown links to all the product categories at the top of the screen, however on the mobile site they’re hidden in a dropdown menu.
I’m used to browsing mobile sites and I didn’t notice this until I’d scrolled to the bottom of the screen looking for the different product options, so it’s likely that others will miss the icon as well.
Similarly, the calls-to-action on each of the promotions on the homepage are presented as tiny text links, which makes them easy to miss and difficult to press.
But on the plus side, it does look very slick and there is a prominent search function if you come to the site with a particular product in mind.
I will admit that I have never shopped online for £700 shoes before, but even so I am sure that customers would expect a better service then that offered by Gucci.
Firstly, though there are eight good looking images for each product, if you try to zoom in it blows the image up to a size that is far too large for the mobile screen so you have to scroll about to try and relocate the shoe.
Then if you try to get back to the previous screen using the back button on your handset it sends you all the way back to the category page.
Other obvious issues include the fact that the text is tiny, product information is extremely limited, and there are no product reviews.
But the biggest problem in my opinion is the lack of any delivery or stock information.
No information is shown upfront, but if you select which size you want from the dropdown menu an alert appears telling you that the product is available for pre-order and is ‘expected to ship between 01/03/2013 and 15/04/2013.’
It’s possible that luxury retailers aren’t necessarily slave to the same rules as other ecommerce retailers, but poor shipping times are a common cause of basket abandonment and Gucci’s is the most ridiculous delivery window I’ve ever come across.
But on the plus side, Gucci does have a well-designed CTA.
When you get to the shopping basket the first thing you see is a large CTA directing you to the checkout, which is a good way of simplifying the navigation and getting customers straight to the payment process.
Further down the page the order summary includes an attractive image of the product, delivery details, and shipping costs of £12.50. This is obviously very steep, but then you probably wouldn’t want such expensive items shipped by standard Royal Mail.
The checkout process is actually very quick and offers a guest checkout or a login for returning customers. Forced registration is a common cause of basket abandonment, so it’s a shrewd move by Gucci to allow guest checkout.
The checkout process uses several other features that improve the user experience, such as a status bar and large text fields.
However there is no postcode lookup tool and the radio buttons for selecting your title are really small and fiddly.
It’s also helpful to offer mobile users a selection of payment methods as some people don't like to enter credit card details on the phone. While Gucci doesn’t accept common alternative payments such as PayPal, it does let you pay them via a wire transfer which is setup once you receive the confirmation email.
While it’s encouraging to see that Gucci has launched a mobile optimised site, there is much to be done to bring the user experience up to scratch.
In fact, the site appears to have been designed from the viewpoint of ‘how can we cram our desktop site into a mobile screen’ rather than taking into account the mobile user experience.
From the homepage through to the product pages, the site looks great but is fiddly to navigate.
In general the CTAs have just been transplanted from the desktop site to the mobile version, resulting in a load of tiny text links that are difficult to click. There are also problems with product pages, copywriting and the delivery options.
On the plus side, the checkout process is quick and easy to complete, using several user shortcuts and big CTAs.
Overall Gucci’s mobile site is a classic case of a luxury brand chasing style over usability online. We’ve previously looked why luxury brands need to try and refocus on the user experience, as well as highlighting 17 examples of high end retailers offering a poor web experience.
If you made a trip to the Gucci Store on Old Bond Street you would expect it to be one of the most comfortable and enjoyable shopping experiences of your life – so why doesn’t the same apply online?