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I’ve written two posts already about Marks & Spencer's new website. It’s not a love-in, in fact both posts have generated some good debate.
Should it be so editorially led? Could the navigation be slicker? Should there be a guest checkout? Despite these issues, I’m a fan of the new look and aside from the intricacies, the new site is about finally aligning the brand's image with top quality high street fashion.
But it’s about more than just a new website, M&S is investing across the multichannel customer journey, in the knowledge that a multichannel customer can be worth four times as much as one that only shops either on- or offline.
Here are 11 ways Marks & Spencer is enriching its multichannel business, aside from its new desktop and mobile sites and revamped apps.
Deciding what approach to take on mobile is a debate-worthy topic, as proved by the comment thread in this post on responsive design.
Marks and Spencer has a new site that is tablet-optimized, adapting to the iPad and its competitiors via device recognition rather than screen size. The brand has also updated its apps and mobile sites.
I thought I’d take a look at the mobile site in order to highlight a few nice features. It looks as good as the new desktop, tablet-optimized site, and I found it worked well, aside from a few niggles.
Of course, displaying large and high quality product ranges to their full potential on mobile is a challenge.
See what you think.
M&S and Tesco have the best mobile websites among the UK’s top 10 retailers, according to a new report.
The Foresee benchmark compares customer satisfaction scores achieved by the top online retailers in a survey carried out in November 2013.
One of the most interesting findings is that customer satisfaction on mobile lags well behind that for desktop sites, with the top 10 mobile sites averaging a score of 73 on the 100-point scale compared with 77 on desktop.
According to Foresee poor customer satisfaction has a drastic effect on sales, with every one-point increase in satisfaction translating into a 10.6% growth in a retailer’s online revenues.
Marks & Spencer has reported a 22.7% increase in online sales in the three months to the end of December, though it wasn’t enough to prevent an overall decline in sales.
Like-for-like sales fell by 2.1%, though there was a small improvement over the last eight weeks of the year during which M&S launched a sale, with general merchandise sales up 0.5%.
M&S’s disappointing results come after Next achieved impressive sales figures over the festive season, with the latter reporting that in-store and online sales increased by 12% in the period November 1 to December 24.
John Lewis also had a record breaking end to 2013, reporting that online sales for the five weeks to 28 December were 22.6% up on last year with johnlewis.com accounting for 31.8% of the total John Lewis business during this period.
Having previously examined the reasons behind John Lewis’ continued success in ecommerce, I thought I’d compare Next and M&S’s approaches to online retail.
Last week saw the unveiling of the now traditional John Lewis Christmas ad, which this year comes with an added helping of cheese and schmaltz.
Despite the fact it stars a cartoon bear and a hare, it would appear the ad is set to break previous John Lewis ad records, at least in social media terms.
In the 24 hours after it was launched the ad was mentioned in 49,152 tweets, of which only 16% were negative. This is more than double the 21,027 mentions that last year’s ad picked up in the same time frame.
Amazon has topped yet another usability survey after delivering a consistently excellent customer experience across its desktop and mobile platforms.
House of Fraser came a close second followed by Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Interflora.
The report from eDigitalResearch consists of user surveys that analysed the customer experience provided by 19 retail brands across three digital channels – desktop, mobile web and apps.
It covered six different sections of each site, including the homepage, search, navigation, product pages, shopping basket and checkout.
Registration and accounts on ecommerce sites have plenty of pros and cons. On the one hand, they can be handy for retention and easy repeat purchases, but they can be a barrier.
They can present a particular problem on mobile especially if shoppers have forgotten login details from previous purchases.
To illustrate this point, here's an example from the M&S mobile site, one which must be causing a number of abandoned purchases.
Around this time last year I wrote a post looking at which of the top 10 UK retailers use Pinterest.
Back then Pinterest was the new kid on the block with bags of potential for building brand identity and driving sales.
To find out whether those brands have persisted with Pinterest or decided the grass is greener over on Google+, I’ve revisited the same retailers to see whether they still use the network and how their strategies have altered.
In digital marketing terms QR codes seem to have been around for ages, yet it’s still much easier to find examples of brands using the technology badly than it is to highlight instances that deliver a decent user experience.
A few months ago I flagged up a Toyota print ad as a good example of how to use QR codes to deliver a fun and engaging mobile experience and I’ve since been on the look out for similar campaigns.
As with all new technologies it is quite easy to dismiss QR codes as a passing fad, particularly as user uptake has been quite slow.
However a survey published today by Nielsen shows that 18% of UK consumers regularly use a QR or barcode scanner, so there may be life in the old dog yet.
Marks & Spencer certainly seems to think so, as it has placed a large QR code in the centre of its Mother’s Day window display in Brixton (you can scan the same code above), and potentially in its other stores around the country.
Marks & Spencer offers the best multichannel customer experience across three digital channels, according to a report published by eDigitalResearch.
The eChannel Benchmark evaluated 14 retail brands that have mobile optimised sites and apps as well as a desktop site to find out which offered the most consistent customer experience.
M&S came top with an average score of 86% across the three channels, followed by Amazon (85%), Topshop (84%) and House of Fraser (84%).
The report analyses several different criteria, including the homepage, on-site search, navigation, product pages, shopping basket and checkout.
Here we look in more detail at the search, product page and checkout sections...
M&S is testing an array of digital goodies in its new Cheshire Oaks store in a move which demonstrates the range of tactics multichannel retailers can use to enhance the shopping experience.
The new store will use high definition TV screens to showcase products, staff equipped with iPads, virtual counters, lots of QR codes and free wi-fi.
It's a smart move from M&S, and indicates that the retailer is well aware of the need for the high street to adapt to the challenges posed by the web.
M&S has become the first UK retailer to launch an app for Samsung’s connected TV range.
The app will showcase products ranges but has no transactional capability, though a spokesman for Samsung said that an e-commerce function may be added in future.