Tesco launched a mobile version of its Direct site this week, which features the retailer's non-food range.
The launch comes in response to growing levels of traffic from mobile phones to Tesco Direct. Mobile visits have increased by 300% in the last year.
The homepage is simple and easy to use. The twelve product categories are shown in a vertical list, the search box is in a prominent position, as are links to the store locator and shopping basket.
There is also a Christmas category further down the page which is highlighted in red text. This sounds useful if it is a gift finder, but clicking on the link just brings up a 'page not supported yet' message.
The store locator tool allows users to either search by town and postcode or use the phone's GPS to generate a list of the nearest stores:
The store locator contains the usual details on opening times and directions, and the site presents the available facilities and product ranges very clearly:
The navigation is simple enough; once you have selected a product category and sub-category, the list of products is shown. After this though, the lack of decent filtered navigation options makes searching and browsing more difficult.
For example, having navigated to the washing machines category, there are 113 items to look through:
There is a narrow by category option, but it does nothing of use when you click on it, I can't even separate the washing machines from the tumble dryers:
This makes browsing for products and narrowing search results more difficult than it needs to be - 113 items is too many to look through for mobile shoppers. Adding more options, such as filtering by price range and product features would make this much more usable.
The product pages contain a decent amount of information, but this does make for very long pages for some items.
Also, while there is a tab to click for delivery options, the information presented is too vague and doesn't tell customers how much it will cost.
Like the Tesco grocery app, this mobile site makes users register if they haven't already signed up for Tesco, a lengthy process on a mobile phone:
Once past the registration / login stage, the checkout process has been adopted for mobile phones, and form filling is easy enough. The one issue I would pick up is that, because there is a lot of text on the page explaining things like why Tesco wants my mobile number, delivery info etc the pages are longer than they need to be.
By presenting this information via links at the foot of the page, or being more concise with descriptions, the pages would be shorter and therefore easier to load.
Thanks to the size of the retailer's customer base, the Tesco Direct site will undoubtedly do well, as the release makes it far easier to shop from Tesco by mobile.
However, there are a few areas where usability could be improved, especially in product search and navigation, while the checkout could be more streamlined.