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Fashion retailer Next today announced some very positive results for the half year to July 2013, with 2.2% sales growth to £1.7bn.
As you might expect, online played a big part, with Next Directory sales growing by 8.3% to £597.6m, while profits were 13.4% higher at £156.1m.
I've been looking at the Next website to pick out some of the reasons for its success online, and some areas where it could still improve.
I was recently involved in an online discussion (ecomchat) which started when the question was asked "how important is delivery, shipping & returns for retailers?".
I responded with a home truth based on all the 100's of hours of user research that we have conducted/are continually conducting for multichannel retailers.
When a user/consumer has a choice of retailer from which to buy the product they are looking for, after price then it is almost always delivery options, delivery costs and then the returns proposition that are the three most important factors which influence buyer behaviour.
Let's face it, forms are a real pain to fill in, so it's important to get them right, and minimise any friction when visitors are signing up for emails, or completing contact and checkout forms.
Designing forms with the user in mind, and testing to find our where the pain points are for users can make a massive difference to the user experience.
Here are 12 quick tips on web form optimisation...
We’ve seen a number of research projects and studies which show that mobile traffic and search volumes are likely to overtake desktop in the next 12 months, however the same can’t be said for sales and conversions through mobile devices.
Instead consumers are increasingly using smartphones for research and price checking, before ultimately making a purchase on desktop or tablet.
We investigated the reasons behind this disparity as part of our new Mobile Commerce Compendium, with the data showing that two-thirds (64%) of smartphone owners who don’t use mobile commerce simply prefer shopping online using a desktop or tablet.
The second most-common reason proved to be difficulties with the small screen size (41%), while 39% said they are concerned about security on their phone.
A new report investigating consumer opinions of mobile commerce has found that there is still a perception that the mobile web offers a poor user experience.
More than a third (37%) of respondents in the EPiServer survey agreed that many mobile websites are difficult to navigate, an increase from 32% in 2011.
The survey also found that consumers are increasingly unforgiving of mobile sites and apps that aren’t up to scratch.
Almost half of respondents (47%) claim that if an app is hard to use they will stop using or delete it compared to 41% in the previous survey.
People apparently have slightly more patience with mobile sites, although 38% still said that they would stop using a mobile site that is difficult to use.
Easter is coming and spring is in the air so consumers will be soon be shopping for home improvement and gardening equipment, though some might wait until the temperature gets above zero degrees outside.
There are several major brands vying to take advantage of the seasonal increase in spending, and Qubit has analysed six of them to see which provides the best online user experience.
The new home and gardens benchmark analyses the buying experience provided by Homebase, B&Q, Argos, John Lewis, Ikea and Wilkinson.
Using more than 80 industry best practice criteria, weighted on their importance in this sector, each website is assessed and scored giving a final percentage to identify which brand offers the best online experience.
Personalisation in retail is often seen as the latest development in online marketing but the practice itself is as old as the concept of retail.
From the time of the earliest shopkeepers, good retailers would recognise their customer and tailor their pitch according to what they knew about them.
Smartphone apps are an important way for brands to engage with consumers, however a new study has found that many brands are falling short on the user experience.
The Xtreme Labs Retail Apps Report found that just under a third of top 100 US retailers don’t have smartphone apps, while those that do suffer from issues such as a lack of features.
The average rating achieved by iOS apps in the App Store is 2.9 stars out of five, while on Google Play it is just 2.2 out of five.
On iOS the most common complaints were a lack of features (26%), frequent crashing (23%), and poor design (22%).
Android users suffered similar problems, with crashing being the main complaint (33%), followed by the app not working as intended (26%) and a lack of features (25%).
Some companies spend a fortune coming up with enticing names for new products - and sometimes it goes disastrously wrong.
A memorable example is the Chevy Nova, which in Spanish roughly translates to the Chevy doesn't-go.
Even if the name doesn't mean something inappropriate, our research shows that gimmicky product names might not be as clever as their creators imagine.
As experts in digital marketing, I am sure you were all aware that Thursday 8 November was World Usability Day -a world wide event celebrating the importance of in usability in the digital world.
This year’s theme was financial services and few would argue that usability was anything other than vital in this market.
My colleagues at System Concepts contributed a video of interviews with potential customers and some key players in the mobile financial market in which the two mobile financial services providers interviewed were Vodafone and O2.
This set me thinking: Do we trust mobile companies to give us banking, more than we trust banks to give us mobile services?
Like Johnny Depp was once quoted as saying, I’m fascinated by human behaviour, by what’s underneath the surface, by the words inside people.
By spending considerable time with people using different websites in both their natural and controlled research environments, I’m able to cater for this satisfaction.
As a follow up to my nine women x nine hours = nine usability insights article, I am sharing some of the most prevalent behavioural traits of men when shopping online.
There will always be some differences and many of these have been observed with female consumers, but this list is very much up-to-date and representative of the male population.
If men are part of your target audience, which of the behaviours traits are you triggering or avoiding to persuade them to buy from you?