Sainsbury’s debuts mobile shopping site


Sainsbury’s debuts mobile shopping site

Jenny Williams

Retailer Sainsbury's has launched a mobile version of its website to extend its commerce platform to mobile device users.

The optimised mobile site is built using a mobile platform provided by Usablenet. The platform provides access to over 15,000 Sainsbury's products for purchase.

Other companies using Usablenet include Asos, the online fashion retailer, Fedex Mobile and Marks and Spencer.

The site can be accessed by any mobile device and operating system.

Tanya Lawler, Sainsbury's director of digital and cross channel, said: "We know that our customers are increasingly looking to engage with us digitally and this new mobile shopping site is a big step towards Sainsbury's becoming a true cross-channel retailer."

"Mobile commerce is a growth market opportunity for the retail industry and we are always looking at ways to better serve our customers and make their lives easier," added Lawler.

The site builds on Sainsbury's mobile app which it launched in August 2010. The app has had 250,000 downloads across iPhone, Android and Nokia operating systems.

Jason Taylor, vice-president of platform strategy at Usablenet, said the platform operates as a live proxy, which replicates and optimises Sainsbury's website for mobile devices.

"Pages have to be light for fast load times, but still giving consumers the core functionalities they've come to expect from a brand. Understanding the needs and behaviour of customers when accessing a mobile site will determine what functionalities have top priority within the small screen size," said Taylor.

He added: "The mobile platform can also take advantage of the capabilities of the phone that a desktop browser wouldn't have - for instance, leveraging the smartphone's internal GPS to find the nearest store."

According to the latest annual IT in Retail report by Martec International, UK retailers plan to spend almost a quarter of IT budgets on implementing and improving e-commerce and mobile commerce platforms.

The report shows the UK's top 100 retailers' IT investment in e-commerce and m-commerce has grown from 17% last year to 23% in 2011.

The latest figures by the British Retail Consortium show online retail search volumes grew 27% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, driven by a 216% year-on-year increase in mobile retail searches.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the number of UK consumers searching for overseas retailers grew by 76% in the quarter while London accounted for 36% of all retail search volumes in the UK.

Fashion retailer New Look launched a mobile commerce site in April 2011 using CSS3, Javascript and HTML5 technologies.

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