‘Tis the season to rate mobile competence. Digital think tank L2 says that Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s and NET-A-Porter are the most “mobile-competent” among what it calls “prestige” brands. In L2’s new study, Prestige 100 Mobile IQ, the most recognizable brands were measured across 250 parameters, including their mobile sites, apps, marketing approaches and innovation. In order, the top ten brands were:
L’Occitane en Provence and Tiffany & Co. (tie)
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
L2 cites Sephora especially for its mobile experience and persistence, noting that its sustained and iterative investment in the platform is paying off. Sephora “exists in a class by its own,” L2 adds, praising Sephra’s well-organized product videos and easy brand sorting and filtering, the shopping list creator and tracking of the customer’s order history. Consistency across app and mobile site is strong as well. And the app has tools that are both cool and genuinely useful, like testing nail polish colors on a customizable virtual hand.
Consistency across Web and mobile experiences is going to be a key challenge for brands, L2 seems to suggest. While 67% of the prestige brands it surveyed did have m-commerce already, the disparity between Web and mobile sites was great when it came to video, product search, order tracking and social media integration.
Nordstrom’s new mobile app is called out for its design and in-store experience. In fact, I would regard Nordstrom’s as one of the best app shopping environments I have seen. The app guides you through various paths for shopping, including a personalized experience that lets you choose a base style and then filter results by everything from price to color to brand. Everything about the app is big, visible, and an encouragement to browse. I loathe clothes shopping, and certainly don’t shop in Nordstrom’s. But this app actually got me interested.
And it is still an iOS world among the iconic brands. The survey finds that 70% of them are present in the Apple Apps Store, 22% in Android’s Marketplace, 16% in Symbian, 75 in blackberry and 2% on windows Phone. Any major brand that has developed an app, has done so in iOS.Among high-end brands, L2 sees 66% with a mobile-optimized site, 70% with some form of app, and 52% with both.
It is important to note that while L2 labels its top 13 brands in the top 100 either “genius” or “gifted” there are many, many brands that are declared downright “feeble” in this report. The criticisms are perhaps more instructive than the praise for the top sites. Origins is slapped for having good user reviews of products on its mobile site, but no way for the current user to submit a review of one’s own. Many brands have uneven mobile initiatives. L2 praises Marc Jacobs for its popularity on foursquare, for instance, but that isn’t followed through with a robust mobile app or site presence. A number of prestige brands were drawn to the iOS app frenzy but somehow overlooked a mobile Web initiative.
L2 finds that despite recent heat around mobile marketing, most major brands are underinvested in the platform. About two-thirds of prestige brands have mobile-optimized sites. But less than 20% have unique app content for the iPad, a device that maps well against upscale brands. About a third of brands that do have mobile sites still do not support m-commerce.
Overall, in fact, 44% of L2’s top 100 rates as “feeble,” and 23% were “challenged.” One verdict intrigued me. For the Gucci Group’s Balenciaga brand, L2 warns “Whatever you do, don’t pinch and zoom.” Of course I had to try it for myself and aimed the iPhone’s Safari at the brand’s URL. They weren’t kidding. One attempt to zoom in on this non-optimized site and it literally froze the iPhone and required a hard reboot. I never saw that happen before. Talk about a bad customer experience. These guys really don’t want you to use your phone to shop.