The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bigger is Better, Say Mobile Shoppers

Given the choice, many people would rather view a full-sized e-commerce site on their smartphone or tablet than a mobile-optimized version scaled to the smaller screen.

Bill Siwicki, a managing editor at Internet Retailer, comments that he discovered this bit of counterintuitive intelligence by chance. He was browsing an e-commerce site on his phone when a pop-up offered to switch to the mobile site. His response: “Of course I want your mobile commerce web site on my iPhone. I don’t want to have to pinch and zoom and swipe like mad to try to make sense of the huge desktop site on my small smartphone screen. Are you crazy?”

That’s not the response most users give, however. Siwicki found that a new study conducted last October by Retail Systems Research shows more than half of consumers bypass mobile e-commerce sites to view the full site on their mobile device. The study didn’t specifically ask consumers why they do this, but an analyst with the research company told Siwicki that it’s probably because too many mobile sites have been overly simplified, leaving out too many features and content that visitors want to access.

Another reason may be that some consumers are more familiar with the full site and know just where to go with minimal zooming and swiping on a mobile device.

Either way, it indicates that many online retailers “who believe they have great mobile sites actually have more work to do to make shopping mobile-optimized sites on smartphones more appealing,” Siwicki writes.

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