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Some speakers « sell out » at conferences each year! Lauren Freedman is one of them.
Lauren Freedman has always worked on the shopper’s browse and buy behavior, but from the customer’s point of view. Adding to that a strong background in merchandising, which is rare, and is very useful when it comes to think through the user experience on a website or a mobile site.
Lauren Freedman is recognized in retail circles as one of the first and best sources of e-commerce knowledge.
Every year for 20 years, its annual « Mystery Shopping Survey » (4 months of work) is a source of inspiration for American retailers – she has had numerous Fortune 500 clients over the years.
The « Mystery Shopping Survey » studied more than a dozen retail vertical industries, and serves as a benchmark that e-commerce sites can use to check where they stand compared to the best practices, and their competitors and the industry as a whole.
In a study taken from « Mystery Shopping » and dedicated to mobile sites, many subjects are detailled, with the ingredients for each of them (Lauren recommendations): ability to check for product at a retail store, ability to purchase a product fast, customer service as a destination to aid shoppers, …) with real examples from retailers (Sephora, the Home Depot, Williams Sonoma, …).
Jeff Douglas, general manager of e-commerce Nebraska Furniture Mart, for example, explains to Mike Cassidy in BloomReach how Lauren help : « simply adding a guest checkout feature, for instance, increased conversions ».
In conference, Lauren Freedman “doesn’t sugar coat things,” say Jeff Douglas. She says what is right, what is yet to improve. Because she knows her stuff.
I met Lauren Freedman in Chicago early June, at Internet Retailer, for its Conference « What do mobile users want? A recipe for success » :
:: How do you conduct this study on mobile users ?
Lauren Freedman: We select 50 retailer sites to review and look at their key pages as well as 6 scenarios to assess their performance Metrics. We evaluated the onsite user experience on 175+ metrics, looking at 6 top tasks consumers are likely to perform along with the overall usability of their experience:
- Browse The Home Page
- Check For Product At Retail Store
- Find A Product/Search
- Research A Product/Category and Product Page
- Buy A Product
- Seek Customer Service
::What is the secret of a successful mobile customer experience?
It starts with designing for the device always factoring in the on the go mobile shopper and thinking through how the user experience will render. It’s also about making choices about what functionality must be present and what can be left behind.
:: If you had to list your 3 TOP functionalities most useful to have in a retail app, what would it be
At this point, I’m not sure it’s about TOP functionality as just like on the desktop there are many must haves that should be present. A few that are important in my mind are the ability to connect to the store and find product in a local store, functional search that gets shoppers to the product fast and stored profile information to enable efficient and possibly one-click checkout. Additionally, images that are strong enough to allow for decision-making on a mobile device.
::Retail is the main focus of beacons today, according to ABI. Which retailers’ use of Beacons in-Store is particularly effective?
We don’t track this but I can share a stat from the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, “Three in ten shoppers are aware of beacons, and a quarter of smartphone users are receptive to in-store mobile messaging”.
What is your role at Astound Commerce?
I am the SVP, Digital Strategy and Chief Merchant. My role is to build a global strategy practice and to work with retailers to deliver successful shopping experiences across any channel. I am passionate about leveraging our 20 year mystery shopping methodology to build a global index to understand regional shopper behavior in order to ensure that retailers prioritize how best to sell to today’s ever-changing shopper .
:: What are your sources of inspiration in retail ?
It depends on the day. Sometimes my source is my 14-year old daughter and other times my inspiration comes from walking into a new retail store. For me the merchandising is the driver.
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To reach Lauren Freedman : email@example.com