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Online retailers working on their websites to make shopping easier on mobile devices

E-commerce players are now rethinking the mobile interface to make the platform more attractive and boost its share in overall transactions.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 03, 2014, 02.22 AM IST
HYDERABAD: Online retailers are tweaking their websites to make shopping more endearing on handheld mobile devices. Although Internet on mobile phones is aiding e-commerce in areas with low broadband penetration, the experience of shopping remains unsatisfactory, largely because of the poorer visual effect compared with laptops and PCs.

E-commerce players are now rethinking the mobile interface to make the platform more attractive and boost its share in overall transactions from 20-50% now. Analytics indicate the length of user engagement and product categories viewed, but fail to explain the reason behind an abandoned shopping cart.

"During our user experience session we have seen that hardly any customer shops for apparel online with a measuring tape handy," said Ripul Kumar, director of Hyderabad-based Kern, a user experience consulting company. Online retailers working on their websites to make shopping easier on mobile devices "One has to find innovative ways of determining the right fit for a given brand." Kern, which lists eBay and Myntra among its e-commerce clients, is a member of the International UX Partners with a focus on India, Singapore and Hong Kong geographies.

Size-charts and payment gateways are generally the checkpoints responsible for majority of the abandoned carts, said Kavya Arora, CEO of fashion brand Femella. Apart from retailing through major e-commerce players, it is redesigning its home site for easy optimisation across devices.

"We hope to clock-in around 25% of our transactions over mobile," Arora said. The right queries get the right results, more so in case of m-commerce. "While clothes and accessories rely on visual comparison, gadgets are searched based on textual comparison, which needs to be optimised for the interface. For those looking or electronic goods, the extensive details on the website is difficult to fit into a small screen," said Kern’s Kumar.

To address this issue, online fashion retailer Jabong uses a flip feature to navigate the search results. Much like Amazon’s service 'Flow' launched in the US, Jabong will introduce a feature wherein a user can click a picture of for what they are looking for and use it as search query on Jabong.

The retailer will give the most relevant results. E-commerce major Flipkart was unavailable for comment on their strategy. Pure play e-commerce platforms are also looking at building a dedicated team to streamline user experience across devices.

"At Myntra, we conduct consumer research and usability studies to gather behavioural insights. We see a much higher conversion rate on our mobile app than the website," said Prasad Kompalli, the company’s chief revenue officer.

Apart from an in-house team, the company works on specific projects with external partners as well. For Snapdeal, about 50% of transactions earlier this year came through the m-commerce channel.

Given the predominance of users from Tier-II and III cities experiencing internet for the first time over mobile, 'cash on delivery' (CoD) option becomes an imperative for the platform.

"In India, our team’s major emphasis was on providing payment gateways similar to the online transactions on PC. Also the speed, hierarchy of search and making the buttons bigger on the interface helps create a better experience," said Santosh Rao, head of m-commerce at eBay India.

The payment gateways pose a major problem for users with forced registration and small captcha codes making the 'checkout' process clumsy.

Owing to wider dependence on 2G connectivity, the tweaks for the shopping app include multiple payment options and ease of loading, as well as fewer products on display.

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