American Marketer


Chanel awarded top mobile site for availability, reliability: study

August 6, 2012


Chanel’s mobile-optimized Web site in France has received the top honors in a study by Keynote Systems that lauds the fashion label for its simple, sleek site that showed its design elegance while remaining completely available to customers.

Chanel was followed by Amazon’s German site and Aldi’s German site in Keynote’s “Mobile Retail International Summer Games.” Load time and reliability were the key differentiators in this study.

“Mobile commerce is expected to grow to more than 24 percent of online revenue by 2017 and yet there are only a handful of global retailers providing a fast and reliable mobile experience,” said Tim Murphy, senior manager of mobile quality at Keynote Systems, San Mateo, CA.

“Most users want a Web site to download within five seconds and a full two-thirds expect a sub-four second download,” he said. “Going beyond revenue, it is important to realize that smartphone users are also using their devices to look for store location, read review and research products.

“Brands should follow Chanel’s lead and figure out a way to have a sleek site that follows design best practices, and then take steps to make sure it is up and available around the clock.”

Chanel for the gold
Chanel’s site in France was available 100 percent of the time, according to the study. It also received a 4.94-second load time to give it an overall score of 994 out of 1,000, according to the study.

Chanel's mobile site in France

“Chanel has created a very nice-looking mobile site that quickly directs users to the content most relevant to someone on the go,” Mr. Murphy said. “It has resisted the temptation to add a lot of large rich images that desktop users like, but that ruin the experience in mobile because of the time needed to download over a wireless network.

“Also, it has maintained 100-percent availability in that not only has it created a mobile-friendly design, but its operations teams are probably paying attention to their server infrastructure to keep things running smoothly around the clock,” he said.

Amazon’s Germany site was available 99.7 percent of the time. This reliability, in addition to its 5.09-second load time, gave it a score of 976.

Amazon's mobile site in Germany

Retailer Aldi’s Germany site also had a 99.7 percent availability, but its 5.48-second load time bumped it to third place.

“There are other luxury marketers doing some pretty cool Web design, but Chanel made the list as an icon of the French experience and a site that stands out not only among luxury brands but all global retailers out there,” Mr. Murphy said.

Reliability matters
Site reliability is actually the No. 1 most-frustrating mobile Web experience with consumers.

In Keynote’s report, two-thirds of smartphone users said that Web pages were too slow to load, while the other one-half cited that sites were not optimized for smartphones.

Also, 48 percent of desktop Web users want download speeds faster than two seconds, while 60 percent of tablet respondents expect to wait less than three seconds to get to a Web site.

However, smartphone user expectancies are high. Approximately 64 percent want a site to load within four seconds while 82 percent of respondents want a mobile site to load within five seconds.

A desire for faster download speeds makes sense, since about 25 percent of smartphone users spend one to two hours browsing the Web from their mobile devices.

Affluent individuals are more likely to be able to buy the latest smartphone or tablet, which is why it makes sense for luxury marketers to optimize for mobile, no matter where they are in the world.

Indeed, 16 percent of mobile users will not return or wait for a site to load if it takes too long. Furthermore, 6 percent will go to a competitor’s site, Keynote said.

“Brands do not always appreciate that content needs for a mobile site are inherently different than for the desktop,” Mr. Murphy said. “Users have different needs and a lot of rich content can really slow things down and slow downloads are the No. 1 point of frustration on the mobile Web.

“Further, some companies develop sites that do not anticipate the need for ongoing maintenance,” he said. “Mobile users are driving traffic at all times of the day, so it is important that retailers have a strategy for 24 / 7 performance monitoring.

“Since many bricks-and-mortar shoppers have smartphones in hand, not figuring a mobile experience can impact a brand and hurt sales in other channels.”

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York