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UK retailers Tesco and Morrisons came first and second respectively in The Search Agency UK's latest mobile experience scorecard.

Last week in the importance of responsive design for B2B companies I looked at the scorecard in relation to the suitability of using the FTSE 100 as a test group for mobile experience, due to its large percentage of B2B companies and major international corporations.

As it turned out, despite the plethora of retail chains in the FTSE 100, only two companies listed used responsive design and they were both B2B. Of the remaining 98 companies, 42 use dedicated mobile sites, while the other 56 do not provide a separate mobile experience from the desktop version of their site.

Each of the FTSE 100 companies were evaluated and ranked according to load speed, site format, download speed, social media presence and app presence.

The top scorers in the test were in fact retailers: Tesco, which came in first with a score of 4.38 out of five and Morrison Supermarkets, which came in second with 4.12 out of five.

The average score for all companies in the study is 1.99 out of five, which is slightly below the US average of 2.29.

In the above mentioned article I go into greater depth in regards to the importance of responsive design versus hosting a mobile dedicated site for both retailers and B2B companies. Here I’ll be taking a look at the top companies Tesco and Morrisons, which both operate a dedicated mobile site rather than a responsive desktop site, to see if I agree with the findings.


Morrisons has only just launched its ecommerce site. David Moth reviewed it in his article Morrisons launches its first ecommerce store in January, and summarised it thusly:

[Morrisons.com] is an average ecommerce site that suffers from a number of obvious UX flaws, most notably at the checkout.

So you’ll forgive me if I appear sceptical regarding the quality of its mobile site. Let’s take a look.

Here’s the homescreen:

At the top of the screen there is a good selection of options: a standard mobile menu button to open further navigation, a ‘contact us’ button which opens up an email contact form that also has various click-to-call helpline numbers and a ‘store locator’ that uses geolocation and again uses click-to-call buttons to speed contact with your chosen store.

The homescreen did take a while to load up though and unfortunately the carousel isn’t particularly great. It’s not particularly clear that the four tabs across the bottom indicate the area that’s being highlighted in the carousel. Also the ‘household’ image is non-existent.

Upon tapping through the carousel image to a chosen area, I’m presented with non-mobile optimised version of the site.

In fact if I turn my smartphone horizontally I can see that this is clearly the tablet version.

Something’s gone a little awry here. 

I would never recommend doing a full weekly shop via smartphone whether the site was responsive or not, as tablets are much better suited for this.

However, as the Morrisons site has been scored according to how it appears on an iPhone 4, that’s exactly what I’m using, plus it’s still crucial for the smartphone experience to be just as user friendly for the mobile shopper in order to increase conversion

When tapping menu, these are the options.

Then upon tapping ‘shop groceries’ I’m taken through to this version of the site.

This is ridiculous. It’s not even the desktop version. It’s some weird non-desktop/non-mobile version that hides an ad for its app all the way down in the bottom right corner.

So it turns out Morrisons has an app. Which is weird because according to The Search Agency UK, Morrisons scores a zero for not having an app presence.

To give the research its credit, it looks like the app appeared in December 2013, and the study was completed before this. 

The high overall mark for Morrisons still doesn’t ring true though. Load speed was poor, mobile site bizarrely optimised just for the homescreen, no social media presence and apparently no app availability. The study it seems is already out of date.

Morrisons new online life has had a few hiccups, most of which are outlined here in what user tests tell us about Morrisons grocery site, however I think it will be worth looking at the app in another study to see if it redresses the balance at all.


Apparently Tesco aces each category in the study. It has the fastest download speed and load speed, the clearest social media buttons and app presence, and hosts a mobile optimised site, which is apparently the best that any retailers on the FTSE 100 can achieve.

I can’t really argue with the speed of it. 

I was also presented with an app download button when I tapped through to ‘groceries’.

There are social media buttons visible just below the first screen, plus a store locator and a contact us button that immediately launches a click-to-call.

The study doesn’t really take into account functionality when it comes to actually navigating, searching or shopping on the site. However just by having a properly optimised mobile site that you can actually use instead of being redirected to an app download or desktop site means it immediately deserves to be praised above Morrisons.

I’ll take a look at the Tesco mobile site in terms of user experience, and compare it to the competition later in the week.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 3 March, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)



This is a woeful attempt by Morrison's to deliver a mobile experience, and a half baked one at that. A selection of poorly designed mobile pages that frequently remove the user from the optimsed (loosely put) view, and into a desktop view, and when do they choose to do this? when the consumer is looking to transact.

Surely given Morisson's lateness to the booming mCommerce race they would have applied a little more thought to the UI and UX, Asda and Tesco are streets ahead.

D- could do a lot better.

over 2 years ago

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