Over the past few weeks I’ve had several people ask me my opinion regarding which companies “do mobile well” so I thought I’d summarize my thoughts here. There are several companies that come to mind when I think of mobile commerce done well and there are many facets in delivering a customer experience. Amazon, Debenhams, and Harrods are a few brands I believe are doing a great job delivering mobile functionality to customers that enhances the overall brand experience.
Amazon not only has a great mobile solution for phone and tablet, but a variety of mobile solutions that include MyHabit and Amazon Windowshop. Amazon, whether on a mobile phone or tablet is where I turn most often when I’m in the market for something. First, it has an amazing selection and great customer service, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member. Their mobile solutions are customized to a target device (e.g., the iPad app is not just a bigger version of the iPhone app), they offer appropriate media on each device (video available on iPad, not necessarily on iPhone) and are optimized to deliver the best user experience. A great example of a top-notch mobile commerce implementation from Amazon is their Zappo’s brand. Zappo’s offers a great user experience on both the tablet and phone. It’s easy to navigate, easy to save items in which you have interest and easy to check out. In all that greatness, though, there is one considerable shortcoming: Shopping carts aren’t shared across devices. If you add two pairs of shoes to the cart on your iPad app they don’t show up on your iPhone app. Offering a seamless experience driven from a user-specific shared shopping cart would make this a truly awesome multi-channel implementation.
I’m continuously wowed by the mobile efforts by UK retailer Debenhams. They were early on the scene with a very nice mobile app for the iPhone and also support Android, Blackberry and mobile web. Each experience is designed for a specific device but has a common look and feel and is easy to navigate. In late 2011 Debenhams added a Beauty Club app for the iPhone that is focused on beauty and health products and is the first app released with a product category focus. They have a willingness to test and invest and this is why they continue to lead in this space. Overall, I think Debenhams is still doing things right and are the ones to watch in the mobile commerce space.
Another UK retailer, the iconic Harrods, has created a smart customer experience with mobile in their Knightsbridge store. Not only does the mobile app serves as a way for users to get the latest and greatest shopping news from Harrods, but more importantly, it serves as a map and guide for shoppers who are attempting to navigate the massive 7-story building. Unless you’re a regular Harrods shopper, it’s easy to get turned around in the cavernous store, but with the help of your phone’s GPS, you can not only see where you are, but can be led to where you need to go. Not every store is big enough to warrant indoor location services, but for large retailers and large indoor venues such as convention centers and stadiums, this could provide a needed customer experience and be a great driver for business.
Other companies that deserve an honorable mention in the mobile space are Domino’s Pizza, Delta Airlines, and Schwab. Each brand is using mobile to drive innovation and each strives to bring the best user experience to their customers regardless of location or device.
As mobile technology is coming out of the infancy stage we’ll continue to see amazing experiences delivered and we have a lot to look forward to.