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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. 

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Homepage

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. 

Store locator

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: 

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The store locator contains the usual details on opening times and directions, and the site presents the available facilities and product ranges very clearly:

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Navigation

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: 

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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: 

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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. 

Product pages

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. 

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Checkout process

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: 

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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. 

Conclusion

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. 

Graham Charlton

Published 9 November, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Natalie Burrows, Director, Tesco Direct Product Development & Customer Expereience at TescoEnterprise

Thanks for the review and we completely agree with your comments - it's fantastic to launch a mobile optimised version of our Direct website in time for Xmas trade but you're right - our navigation and checkout have room for improvement!  You'll be glad to hear they're areas of our site we're working hard to improve and our customers will enjoy incremental improvements over the coming months to make shopping with us easier and easier.

Natalie Burrows
Senior Web Development Manager - non-food
Tesco.com

almost 6 years ago

Douglas McDonald

Douglas McDonald, Director of Mobile and Connected Consumer at TMW

I think it's a great example of a clear, task driven, mobile site. I actually think that explaining why some personal data is needed is better than a short page. My only criticism of mobile reviews, generally, is that everyone does them on an iPhone (or fast smartphone). The longer pages here, for example, cater for feature phone users who will find it much easier to scroll than click. A "real" review would use both a feature phone and a smartphone. All in all a good job by Tesco. Douglas

almost 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Douglas, 

You have a point in that I do most reviews on an iPhone, but I do try sites out with more basic 'feature' phones as well, it's just that screenshots are easier to take on the iPhone. 

Also, I would wager that the majority of visits come from iPhones and other smartphones. 

My concern with the longer pages is that they would take more time to load on variable mobile internet connections. 

almost 6 years ago

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Mehmet Korukmez, SEO Manager/Consultant at Mediacom

I wonder how many people would buy a Laptop,Furniture or Phones through 3.5 inches screen ?

But I am sure it will be helpful for locating a store or quick grocery shopping while you are travelling on a train or bus.

almost 6 years ago

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Jaione

I just want to share that even if the concept is good, Tesco Direct's service is the worst I have ever experience.
Unless you live next to one of their very few centers in London where you can collect and/ or return their items, and you have all the free time and willingness in the world to travel there a few times before you get what you need sorted out, I strongly recommend to buy nothing with them.
I already had a bad experience with them but thought it was a one off. But no, now I am having to reschedule a collection with them for the 5th time because their courier is blatantly not doing their job right and wasting a lot of time with this matter. Definitely my very last experience with them.

over 5 years ago

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