Local Retailers Ahead of Curve with Optimized Sites

by Jason Mollica on April 19, 2011

A story in the April 18 edition of The New York Times reported that a small percentage of retailers’ sales are coming from mobile devices. The reason? Many of them still haven’t optimized their sites for the on-the-go consumer.

After reading the story, we decided to check out some retailers in and around Western New York to see if they are optimized for the mobile shopper. We were happy with the results.

Bon-Ton, a local clothing retailer, has a mobile site that has categories for men, women, juniors and jewelry.  The same goes for national chains like JC Penney and Sears. Their sites are very easy to use.

CMC client Tops Friendly Markets recently redesigned their website. If you log on to it from your smartphone, there is a link to their optimized site. On it, you can find recipes, weekly specials, and a store locator.  An added bonus is the grocery list option. If you forgot the list on your home computer, don’t worry. You can make sure you will not forget a thing by seeing the list on your phone.

Other retailers located in Western New York that have mobile sites and apps are Target and Best Buy.  Both allow you to browse products by section. Best Buy takes it one step further by having apps for specific departments and for its “Rewards Zone.”

When it comes to the shopping experience in this day and age, it is all about ease. But the ease is not all about getting in and out of a store quickly. How versatile a retailer’s website is can be the difference between you or your competition getting the sale.

The talk several years ago was to make sure your site was optimized for iPhones or the BlackBerry. Now, according to The Times report, only 2 percent of sales are from a smartphone. That number is well below the expectations of e-commerce analysts.

The Acquity Group states that by mid-2010, just 12 percent of the top 500 U.S. online retailers had mobile sites and only 7 percent had apps.

But, despite some not-so-positive figures from analysts, the present and future will, in fact, be optimized. In our region, we are already seeing the future.