Following on from Marks and Spencer’s succesful mcommerce site, that bastion of the middle class, John Lewis, has become the second UK retailer to provide a fully mobile offering. The department store currently has around 100,000 mobile visitors on their site each week, so developing a decent version makes a lot of sense. As with M&S, they have taken the mobile web route, which will work on all handsets, rather than go with the more restrictive apps. This makes sense, given their broad (but middle class) customer base. As the mobile site can deliver all of the necessary functions: browse and buy, storing credit card details and ‘find my nearest’ there seems little point (and unecessary expense) by creating apps that will only work on a few handsets. It is interesting to note, though, that some commentators on Twitter have claimed that JL have led the way (I would argue that M&S have), and that an app is sure to follow. That makes no sense. If you can do it all with mobile (which they have) then why would anyone need an app?
Whilst brands from Ocado (5% of their interent transactions come through their app) and eBay (150k Bentley bought through the mobile app) have seen success with apps, there is no question that the mobile web is right for John Lewis. Interestingly M&S reported that customers were buy beds and sofas, with values of up to £3000 through their mobile website. Strange? Well no, it’s quite obvious when you consider that people are going to buy these items when they move house. Most broadband takes up to 10 days to go live, so using your mobile to buy stuff makes a lot of sense. Making your site suitable for mobile makes even more sense to brands in this sector.