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.
Mobile apps and responsive websites are looking - and working - better than ever, as designers come to terms with the parameters involved. Smaller screens, it seems, do not necessarily make for poorer experiences.
If anything, the restrictions of mobile devices are focusing the minds of designers, which is always a good thing. It seems to me that the very best designs really stand out, and do a great job of understanding user behaviour on smaller devices.
I have collected a bunch of examples which go some way towards proving that mobile websites and apps can really look the part, while communicating functionality clearly. In most cases the screenshots link to portfolios, so do click on them.
I haven’t tested all of these apps, not least because a few of them are design concepts, but I think they all show that mobile design can be very, very pretty indeed. If the user experience mirrors design (and it doesn’t always!) then presumably these would all work well.
Six out of 10 businesses have a strategy for integrating mobile into their broader marketing campaigns, according to a new report into cross-channel marketing.
While this obviously means that 40% of businesses still haven’t come up with a coherent mobile strategy, it is an improvement on last year when just over half (51%) of businesses were yet to integrate mobile into their overall marketing campaigns.
This indicates that businesses are slowly moving in line with this significant consumer trend, though it’s worth noting that the number of respondents who said mobile was “very much” integrated remained fairly static at 15%.
The data comes from the new Econsultancy/Responsys Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013 which contains a comprehensive analysis of the use of online and offline marketing channels, integration of display advertising and use of mobile for marketing.
Bill Grimsey, who we interviewed on this blog, presented his Alternative Future for the High Street review to ministers and business leaders at parliament yesterday.
I've been taking a closer look at the review, and its recommendations on the 'Networked High Street' in particular.
While the web is clearly a factor in the travails of high street retailers, there are other issues, such as rates and the general state of the economy.
So how can technology help?
Digital marketing offers greater opportunities for businesses over the next year than more traditional channels, according to a new report.
When asked to identify which three marketing channels offer the greatest opportunities, half of brands (50%) mentioned social media followed by email (43%) and websites (35%).
In fact the top 10 most cited channels are all online, with the most popular offline channel being direct mail at 8%.
The findings come from the new Econsultancy and Responsys Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013, which contains a comprehensive analysis of the use of online and offline marketing channels, integration of display advertising and use of mobile for marketing.
Odeon relaunched its site this week, in partnership with Amaze and Krankikom.
Cinema sites are not renowned for great user experience, so how will this one shape up?
I've listed five positives from the site, and five areas for improvement...
Mobile is often cited as the glue that holds together the multichannel experience as the technology is able to bridge the gap between in-store and online channels.
And it tends to be the retailers that were quick to embrace mobile technologies – such as local search or a mobile optimised site - that have continued to thrive and stay in tune with consumer behaviours.
For example, the new Econsultancy Multichannel Retail Survey shows that 44% of smartphone owners have used their mobile to find details about a retailer (e.g. nearest outlet or opening times), up from 32% in 2012.
But as we’ve previously seen, many businesses are failing to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the increase in mobile search.
Coach has an ultimately frustrating website.
Don’t get me wrong, the desktop site, designed this year, isn’t presenting too many barriers to customers. It also has some nice touches that should shine in a tweaked redesign. And it has some amazing product images (of amazing products).
But, at the moment, it’s a little buggy and has a homepage lacking in features above the fold.
With a little work, the desktop ecommerce site could make content and products easier to surface, and provide a much more immersive experience.
In this post, I’m looking at the US website. If you’re not in the US, you can hit ‘global sites’ in the footer and take a look at the American view.
For those outside of the US, Coach is big, with revenue of $3.23bn in 2009. It’s big enough that when I Google simply ‘coach’ (and bear in mind I’m in the UK), I get a Google company ‘card’ on the RHS of the SERPS (see below), which I can click to take me to results more relevant to the luxury leather goods store.
So, now that I’m in the store, what does it look like?
Here's a selection of recent search stats, taken from a range of sources, including our UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2013, the Internet Statistics Compendium, and others.
Topics covered include mobile search, social signals and rankings, PPC and mobile CTRs...
Word up to all the Tom Waits fans that recognise this post's headline.
I've tried to round-up some vines that haven't been featured here before, and I'll try to inspire some of you to look again at the tool. Although lots of brands started using Vine back in winter when it launched, many have forgotten about it.
It's so easy to use, and immediately marks out any Twitter account as willing to share some fun with fans. As Airbnb, and many others, show, it's also a good medium to use for competitions, as vines are easily sharable and defined by brevity and, hopefully, wit.