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Asda has recently put the finishing touches to a mobile strategy that it predicts will help double its m-commerce revenues in the next six months.
More than 6% of the retailer’s orders are currently placed on a mobile device, so it has launched smartphone apps and a mobile optimised site to cater for this demand.
The iPhone app has already been downloaded by more than half a million people in six months and its new Android app has clocked up 75,000 downloads since last month.
With more than 10m customers registered online, the mobile site is also a major opportunity for driving sales.
We recently reviewed the mobile checkouts for the top 20 online retailers, so how does Asda’s stack up?
As with most major grocery stores, Asda has branched out into selling clothes and electronics. For the purposes of this review, I’ll focus on the groceries section of the mobile site.
When you initially land on the homepage it looks a bit too busy. A pop-up tries to get you to download Asda’s mobile app and you are asked to register before you even see any product options.
Asking users to register at the checkout is known to cause customers to abandon purchases, so hitting them with it as soon as they arrive on the homepage can be off-putting.
Furthermore, when you scroll down the page you are given options for ‘Amazing deals’ and ‘Great deals on’, but no product categories.
Mobile sites need to make purchases as simple as possible, so the fact that you have to navigate past two pages before you see any product categories risks causing impatient customers to go elsewhere.
On the plus side, the search function is prominently displayed and a banner ad links directly to barbecue food, which will make the purchase journey quicker for a lot of customers.
To start browsing products you need to click the ‘Shop’ icon at the top of the page. The search function remains at the top of the page and product categories are displayed in a list below. While the layout is easy to use, the dropdown menus contain a huge amount of sub-categories
Also, the top sub-category on each list is ‘We think you’ll love’, which offers product suggestions. Mobile customers tend to be impatient and are unlikely to want to browse product ideas so this tab seems like another unnecessary obstacle.
When you select a sub-category you are then linked to another list of products options. This can be filtered by brand, type or price/kg, which is a useful tool for narrowing the product range.
These are well laid out, with all product information hidden in dropdown lists to make the page compact and reduce load times.
It includes a huge amount of information, including the ingredients, nutritional values, storage and packaging information, country of origin and even a customer care phone number.
However the images should be larger, or at least allow you to click on them to view a bigger photo.
Adding items to the basket
The process of adding items to the basket is dreadful for non-registered customers. If you are on a product page and click ‘Add to basket’ you are linked to a page that asks you to sign in or register.
There is no link back to the product you were last viewing and if you click on the basket icon the product you tried to add in has disappeared.
Although the site doesn’t point this out, you first need to use the postcode tool to find out if you are eligible for online shopping. This should be made clearer.
If you are, you can then click ‘Continue Shopping’ and you are routed back to the product you were viewing and can then add it into your basket. This was a total inconvenience, and if I weren’t reviewing the site I would definitely have gone to shop elsewhere.
After I had added the chicken breasts to my basket and gone to the checkout, some small print notified me that the minimum order amount is £25...
This sort of information should really be shown up front on a mobile site to avoid annoying customers.
Asda uses forced registration for its mobile checkout, which is a common cause of basket abandonment. Thankfully the amount of information required is fairly limited. It only needs your name, address, mobile number and email address.
It also uses a postcode lookup tool to make entering the postal address more convenient. The next screen asks you to select a delivery slot – it’s a relatively simple process, although once you have clicked the time you want you then have to scroll back up to the top of the screen to confirm it.
This is a small point, but most users will expect to have to scroll to the bottom of the screen to confirm.
On the following screen you need to enter your card details. Asda makes this process easier by assuming the billing address is the same as the delivery address, and it also offers to save your card details.
While I didn’t continue with my purchase, a progress bar at the top of the page shows that there are three more pages before the transaction is complete.
Asda’s mobile site is riddled with design flaws that could lead to a large number of abandoned purchases. While the overall look of the site is OK, at every stage of the purchase journey you are presented with barriers that slow the purchase down and frustrate the user.
It takes far too long to find the products you are looking for and add them to your basket. If Asda needs to know your postcode upfront then this should be made obvious to the consumer. Similarly it shouldn’t wait until the checkout process to inform customers of the £25 minimum spend.
Asda’s marketing blurb says its mobile site was created in partnership with Wal-Mart Labs, so presumably the design is based on a huge amount of user data.
But the overall process is frustrating and slow, and there are no signposts to make it easier for consumers to navigate.